Your trusty hair straightener has an expiry date.

My last pair of straighteners were practically family heirlooms. Originally my mum’s, after a good run they’d been passed down and served me well for around seven years, before the plates fell out exposing the wires and I figured it was probably time for a new one.

Had I not feared starting a small fire/being electrocuted, I’d probably be still using them today. Like many people, I’d always regarded straighteners as things you keep until they actually don’t work any more.

Big mistake, apparently.

“The condition of your hair may be affected. It can cause dry and split ends, colour loss and lack of shine.” says Robert Kovacs, ghd Education Manager.

(Watch: We test out the straightening brush everyone is talking about. Post continues after video.)

“Like all electrical tools, how long they last depends on how often you use them but we would suggest no longer than four years.”

Oh dear lord. Four years.

As well as keeping a rough idea of how long they’ve been by your side, there are a number of signs that your straightener needs replacing. They’re a lot more subtle than exposed wires. (Post continues after gallery.)


“The three key things to look out for are; has it developed an unstable temperature? Is it prone to overheating? Are the plates cracked or marked?” says ELEVEN Australia co-Creative Director and three-time Hairdresser of the Year, Joey Scandizzo.

Another signal is if your hair style is no longer holding as long as it used to.

“Often old flat irons without ceramic plates will not heat up evenly, meaning not only does it not having staying power but hair also takes longer to style. Combine this with only one heat setting and you could be doing a massive amount of damage to the hair,” he says.

This can be minimised by ensuring you always use a heat protectant and opting for a straightener that has adjustable temperature control.

“Look for a flat iron that has a sleep mode too. That way, the plates will never be heating up for hours on end,” advises Scandizzo. (Post continues after gallery.)

If all else failed, Famous Live reports that some straighteners have an imprinted expiration on the device near the settings. We couldn’t locate it on ours, but it would certainly be handy.

If you’re like me and don’t want to be forking out hundreds on a straightener every few years, there are some things you can do to extend your trusty tool’s life.

“Make sure you gently wrap the cord after use, switch it off before pulling it out of the wall, and to clean, use a damp (and I mean very damp) cloth to clean it,” says Kovacs.

Also treat it with care on the move.

“Be sure to take care of your flat irons too when travelling. While ceramic plates provide heat up quickly and prevent hair damage, they can also crack when thrown into a backpack,” warns Scandizzo.

Noted. Here’s to happy straightening for a few more years.


What are your tips for straightening your hair?