Instyler Warning for Relaxed Hair

The emergence of the Instyler Rotating Curing Iron a few years ago was met with an onslaught of new customers drooling over the thought of easier hair management. I, too, was one of those who just had to have it. The commercial was easily convincing and initially appeared to be a great deal. Especially when the African-American model was showing how beautifully it straightened and smoothed her coarse long locks. That was me! Well, I mean that was my type of hair, just like hers but about three inches shorter! The scientific description of how it works was much better than the stationary curling irons, and better than a flat iron because it would eliminate needing to use a curler after the straightening. I couldn't wait to get mine in the mail!

The afternoon that I received not one but two Instylers I rushed home to try it out! Following the directions that said the hair must be clean, I washed and dried my hair and sat down in front of my mirror to see if this miracle iron would perform as it did on TV.

It took a little practice to figure out how to maneuver it on my hair, but I was Instyling away in no time. I figured high heat would be OK since I used my curling iron and/or flat iron on high heat to tame my coarse hair. My first piece was beautiful! It worked just like it did on TV. No burning or scorching! I was able to do my entire head of hair in half the time it took for a curling iron! I was absolutely sold! Absolutely thrilled!

But Then....

I had taken much more pride and care in my hair as I got older. I have a medium grade of Black hair (the sistas know what I mean by that), it's between nappy and straight but more so on the nappy side. To get the look I wanted I needed to use relaxers to straighten and smooth my hair. In my early years I took advantage of my strong tresses and abused them over time by using cheap shampoo, no conditioner, cheap hair grease, relaxing too frequently, and only washing it on average once a month. All of that and I still had hair that others envied.

But then I noticed that my hair was staying the same basic length I was curious as to why. I realized that all that time (years!) of taking my strong grade of hair for granted it was finally retaliating! It was growing but breaking off at a slow rate, that's why I hadn't been alarmed because it was not that noticeable. So I needed to pay better attention to my hair and started a regime to get it healthy again. That was:

  • Washing it weekly - faithfully
  • Using a better brand of shampoo AND conditioner (Pantene)
  • Applying dry end serum to the ends (Avon)
  • Using a better hair dress for daily moisturizing (Soft and Beautiful Aloe Vera Oil Moisturizing Lotion)
  • Cutting back on relaxing - (Twice a year only)
  • Trimming the ends after relaxing
  • Using a good curling iron or flat iron instead of stove burner hot combs
  • Using silk covered sponge rollers - (I made myself until Goody came out with theirs)

My Hair Before Instyler!

My Hair After Instyler!

Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort to have healthy hair, especially for Black women who enjoy the straight look. After a year of this my hair had rebounded beautifully! My hair had grown 2 inches and went to a total of 16 inches the 2nd year! And it was envied and admired by many!

Now Back To The Instyler

I had been using my Instyler per the directions for about two months when I noticed something alarming. My hair was breaking off at a terrible rate! I was sticking to my usual routine that had brought my hair back a few years earlier, so what the hell was going on? Well when I figured it out I felt like such an idiot. No way should I have followed the Instyler directions to use it on clean hair. I know darn well black hair needs protection from heat but I wasn't applying the hair dress until after I used the Instyler to straighten. I was heartbroken because I loved the way the Instyler worked! So with all of that breakage I needed to have my hair cut, not trimmed, cut about 4 inches to even in out. All of that hard work to get it back a few years earlier all for naught! I cried! Really! I went to my hair stylist thinking that her expertise would give my hair a better chance of rebounding...but I was wrong about that...because she recommended getting my hair relaxed more often. And I let her do that because she was the expert, right? Wrong! My hair was not doing well...I cried some more!

After my mini-breakdown I was able to consider how I could get my hair healthy again. I didn't want to give up my Instyler, so I made some adjustments. I laid off the Instyler for 3 months, stopped getting relaxer too frequently and very importantly - ONLY doing the new growth, went back to using my curling iron, and continued the Pantene shampoo and conditioning products. My hair was doing better again. I went back to using the Instyler - now I only use it once a week after washing and use the dry end serum and a little hair dress before straightening. I also turned the heat down to the lowest setting, which still produces good results. The breakage has all but stopped and my hair is on it's way back to health.

My Hair Now!

This really is me!
This really is me!

Heed This Warning!

Be careful using the Instyler or any other heated hair appliances! If you have had a similar experience take the advice from my story to save your hair! If you have had other troubles with the Instyler I would like to hear about them. If my story helps you please let me know! Best wishes for healthy hair!

Comments 55 comments

Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

Well, my hair is NOT relaxed, but the flat iron is my hair tool of choice......... or necessity, but I agree.......... keeping it healthy is hugely important.

Thank for the info!


GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 6 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thank you for your response. Yes, all hair types need to be healthy to withstand the heated tools we use!

MyHair 6 years ago

Thank you for providing such an interesting illustration. I am African American and I have been using the Instyler for two months. I love the straight look that the Instyler creates; however, I noticed that my hair feels plastic right after using it sometimes. You have reminded me that too much heat is damaging. I want the look but I realize that it may be detrimental in the long run. I am going to reduce my usage to every other month. Thanks again!

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 6 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Hello MyHair! Thanks for your comment! I'm am curious about the plastic feeling you mentioned, what type of hair dress are you using before straightening? I do have another Instyler discovery that I will be writing about soon.

vonda  6 years ago

I have extremely curly hair and I have noticed a lot of breakage due to all of the abuse it takes to get it straight and or relaxed and at least I know now thanks to you not to waste my money on the Instyler and to just buy more hair products that will condition my hair instead,use dryer and hot irons and straightener products less.

Andrea Raquel 6 years ago

Great blog to help someone considering the InStyler!

RavenHeart 6 years ago

I have been using the Instyler and I noticed it's very easy to get your hair caught in the rotation if you use wide strips of hair. The result in that is major breakage! Pay close attention to that. I have been using it for six months. I apply Aveeno leave in conditioner, Pantene heat protector, Nexxus Headdress, and I have noticed no damage. Use on the lowest setting. The only problem I had in the beginning was getting hair caught in the rotation. Thanks for posting this! Everyone's hair is different (we all put our hair through different things). I have medium length curls (no relaxer). The Instyler works good for keeping a little shape in the front. I don't use it to completely try and straighten it. I'd say that makes a big difference from the sistas with relaxed hair.

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 6 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thank you for your comment Ravenheart. I also had that tangle problem until I practiced enough to stop doing it! I agree that everyone's hair is different. This was the regimen that worked for me. Thanks again for your helpful comment.

Research Analyst profile image

Research Analyst 6 years ago

You have really beautiful hair, sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience with the Instyler, I have seen the commercials on TV and wondered about how well it would work on african american hair. I wear my hair natural so I stopped putting relaxer in it and so it is usually curly but when I want to wear it straight I have been using a flat iron.

I am thinking of not using the flat iron anymore because I am starting to notice breakage as well as loss of curl pattern when I do co-washes.

It seems that the heat is what is doing the damage, I guess I will have to try a wet set on big rollers instead.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Lauren 6 years ago

I have long semi thick hair with a little bit of a wave in it. I'm only 13 but I need a new hair styling tool that works well so i've been trying to get a lot of information on the instyler. There are a lot of mixed reviews about it, so I'm wondering if I should get a heat protectant spray. What do you think?

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 6 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thank you for your comment Lauren. I think heat protectant is a good idea for any heated stylers. I messed up following the Instyler directions meant for Caucasian hair, well I am assuming that doesn't specifically say. But we African Americans must be attentive to the fact that our hair needs constant moisture due to natural dryness, same as our skin. I have used olive oil based protectant spray as well as the CHI Silk Infusion when using the Instyler...but the AVON Dry End Serum is a must for me. I use it first on clean hair...the ends and the front edges. Best wishes for healthy styling!


Collin 6 years ago

I bought one for my wife about two months ago, we both thought it was great! About a month ago we noticed that her hair was constantly breaking and falling out from the root. We wondered what could be causing this effect, we speculated from stress to cancer even HIV but all turned out negative. Then finally we thought to look into what is it that she's using now that she wasn't b4 and the obvious was the instyler!

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 6 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Oh my Collin! Thank God it was just the Instyler. Thanks for commenting!

LSKing profile image

LSKing 6 years ago from East Coast United States

This is a great article. I'm sharing this one with my facebook Healthy Hair group. Thanks!

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 6 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thanks LSKing! Let me know what they think!

// 6 years ago

I've been using the instyler for a year now and i really like it. I use it every 2 weeks. But I've never used heat protectant. After reading your review i know now that was a bad thing to do. I'm 15. What should I do?

I have really frizzy coarse african hair. Please help!

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 6 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thanks for your comment! Do you use relaxer? If you do make sure to use heat protectant before Instyler. I am currently using AVON dry end serum around the hairline edges and ends, ORGANIC Root Stimulator olive oil spray on the scalp, and CHI silk infusion on the hair. Blend with hard bristle brush, then use Instyler to straighten. Patience and good products are the key to having healthy hair. Also, if you use relaxer ONLY retouch new growth. Repeated whole head relaxing weakens hair and causes breakage. Best wishes! GoGranny

// 6 years ago

I've had a relaxer in about 2 years ago. I am starting now to use a heat protectant. I have tresemme heat shield spray. Do you think it's good?

Thanks GoGranny!! :D

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 6 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Hi //! Thanks for your comment and question. I have used Tresemme products and think they are a good economical choice. Since everyone's hair and desired styles are different you have to be the judge on how well any product does on your hair. Best Wishes for healthy hair!

// 6 years ago

Thanks GoGranny your the best!

// 6 years ago

Thanks GoGranny! While using the instyler I have lost so much hair! Everyday after brushing my hair in the washroom the floor would be covered in hair. It's disgusting. I wanna thank you so much! Your comments really helped me! :)


Nikki 6 years ago

uh . . . GoGranny? i found your advice sooo helpful!!! i just got the instyler and my hair is african american and also relaxed. Once i start using it i will follow your advice to relax only every 6 months, use good products and heat resistance, and use the instyler in the lowest setting. But how often should i straighten and wash my hair to prevent damage? Once a week or once every two weeks? Also do you have any other hair breakage prevention tips?

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 5 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thank you for your comment Nikki. I found that I must wash my hair weekly. I noticed that letting it go any longer than that results in product build up that weakens my hair for breakage. I use the instyler to straighten after I wash and dry weekly. I then roll on hard curlers to 'set' it overnight, and then I use soft covered curlers nightly for my daily style. Because all hair can be different depending on one's diet, smoking, working and living environments, etc. The key is to know your own hair and pay attention to how it behaves. Your hair may do well with a more or less washing schedule. Use a good shampoo that addresses your hair needs. Also remember to only touch up new growth when relaxing your hair.



Emmeaki profile image

Emmeaki 5 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

Glad to see that your hair is growing back healthy! This is why I make no attempt to straighten my hair because it is just too coarse and dry and any method causes damage. (I prefer my curly hair anyway, so no big loss.)

Sun-Girl profile image

Sun-Girl 5 years ago from Nigeria

Oh my dear Go Granny what a fine and good looking hair you had before it was totally messed up. Well, thanks for sharing this in hub pages because i will never think of using flat iron again for now.

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 5 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thanks for your comments ladies!

Hairbiz profile image

Hairbiz 5 years ago

Sorry about the hair GoGranny. Happy to know it's thriving again. All hair has to have a balance with oil and moisturizers.

We make less oils and heat appliances can rob them from us if used improperly or poorly constructed. Ceramic irons product a more even heating surface unlike the typical flat irons. But this Instyler has a nonceramic base and has nylon bristle instead of boar (natural) bristles that can tear the hair.

No styling implement should be used all of the time and not after the 2nd day of shampooing. Interesting subject.

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 5 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thanks for your comment Hairbiz. I have read that ceramic is better. Now if they could make the Instyler with a ceramic roller and natural bristles it would be better!! I still can't part with it now, though!

Bredavies profile image

Bredavies 5 years ago

My hair still feels ok but it did feel like plastic for a second one time. I even been trying to grow my hair out for a long time and I will be more careful after reading this. How is your hair looking now a days? And have you written a hub with the after effects now that you have been trying to get it back to health?

Thank you.

daughter 5 years ago

my daughter has very kinky hair and has never has a perm do you think the instyler will work on her?

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 5 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Thanks for commenting Bredavies. My hair is doing very well. I will work on a follow-up hub, good idea! And daughter, you didn't say how old your daughter is. I really don't like to see girls younger than 12 or 13 getting relaxers because the upkeep can be so time consuming and mandatory to prevent damage. As for the Instyler on really kinky hair it's hard to say. I use it on three of my granddaughters with nice results, but they all have relaxers. If your daughter's hair does well with curling and flat irons it may do well with the Instyler on the medium or high setting. Hope all goes well!


lovemeback 5 years ago

Gogranny.... i love you girl

coarse_and_confused :( 5 years ago

goGranny i need your help. i am a 14 year old girl and i have worn cornrow braids all my life but now i want to get a relaxer for the first time. my hair is medium length and very dry coarse and super thick. i have an instyler and it deosnt really work well on my hair

what can i do with my hair?

(please reply ASAP)

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 5 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Hi! Well if you have worn braids for 14 years it won't be a good idea to get a relaxer too soon. Your scalp needs to rest a while. I would suggest weekly washing with good products, keep scalp from drying out, and wear a style that doesn't put a lot of stress on your hair. You will want to make sure your hair is in a healthy state before relaxing. Give it at least 6 months. When you are ready use care with selecting a brand of relaxer. I have used several different brands. Just make sure it has no lye and offers protecting components like pre treat, conditioners, etc. Once you get a relaxer you must understand that it takes more work to keep it healthy. Some girls are lazy or clueless, and the result is damaged hair! You must love your hair and care for it diligently!! The best follow up advice for relaxing is to only get touch ups for new growth.

Best wishes!! Granny

Alisha 5 years ago

Ever thought maybe ure hair is fucked you bc if u not taking good care of it all those years not the instyler don't blame the product u shouldn't have beeen using all that gel and washing ure hair once a month wtf are u crazy that's gross at least every two weeks ure hair broke bc of u

Mel 4 years ago

Hi I'm a Guyanese indian I have eally curly hair n I strighten my hair once or twise per mnt I use relaxer 6 to 7 times for d last 2 yrs.My hair is however normal as I use egg whites once per week to strenghten my hair (use only egg whites n leave in for 10 mins wash hair thoroughly to take off egg sent). Hope this help some one

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 4 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Interesting Mel. The protein in the egg white is good for your hair. African American hair is subject to dryness. We must be extremely diligent to prevent breakage. Maybe someone will try what you suggest. Thank you for your comment.

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 4 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Alisha, I am not blaming the Instyler. I shared my story to help others not to make the same mistake I did when I initially used it. I didn't take care of my hair well as I said in the article. Your comment language is unnecessarily derogatory to make your point.

Ree 4 years ago

Those commercials are so tempting, so thank you for reminding me about the importance of the extra care needed for my hair. I'm in the process of growing mine out and figured the instyler would be a great way to relax my hair less. Great blog, thanks for the advice!

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 4 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Oh you are welcomed!! Best Wishes!!

Vanessa 4 years ago

I just received my Instyler, however the last time relaxed my hair was December 2012 from then i just left it out naturally thick. Do you think I should start using the instyler? And is it okay to start relaxing again? My hair type is African

american and soft and extremely thick.

Tressed out 4 years ago

GoGranny, thank you so much for sharing you story. I myself am Hispanic but have very coarse frizzy curly hair. I began to also relax my hair when I was in my twenties also twice a year. I went from a thick head of hair to receding hairline. I blow dry my hair and use a flat iron sometimes only on the sides & bangs. In a year, the top/crown of my hair is beginning to show my scalp, I'm mortified. I also dye my hair to cover the grays. Not sure what to do at this point since there's not much I can do to reverse the damage. I think your advice is wonderful and although you suffered you also stopped to take care of your beautiful hair! You've inspired me to not give up hope and simply start paying better attention to my hair. Thank you!

mpamom 4 years ago

Hello, I too was enthralled by the commercials. So After a battle with breast cancer which resulted in the loss of my hair I have been wearing an afro for a year. I have decided not to go back to the relaxers and keep my hair natural. My niece straightens my hair with a flat iron and I use the instyler to maintain it in between stylings. I apply shine hair polisher and a scalp conditioner the night before use. It has only been a month and I have had no issues using it a couple times a week, but I believe your advice to use a heat protectant is on.

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 4 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Hello Vanessa, I not sure when you had your last relaxer, did you mean 2011? Since everyone's hair is different it's hard to make a rule that applies to all, and I am no expert, just able to share my experiences. You have to gauge how your own hair behaves in stages between relaxers relating to breakage, new growth, and need for touch up. The most important thing to watch for is dryness, which I think is the devil on black hair! Also selecting your relaxer is important to find what works best for your hair. I know a middle aged woman who uses 'Just for Me' for kids and works well for her...for me? - that wouldn't straighten my eyebrows! The Instyler continues to do well for me as long as I heat protect my hair.

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 4 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Oh Tressed Out I am sorry to hear this. You mentioned 'grays' so I am assuming your much older now. I say I am no expert, just able to share experience. Have you been to a dermatologist for advice? This loss of hair from chemicals is not uncommon. You relax and dye. These are harsh, and your being Hispanic - you say your hair is coarse and frizzy - but I bet it is still finer than you give it credit. My advice - see a dermatologist and stop using the chemicals. Natural styles are really in now. And take it from this Granny...gray hair can be beautiful! I wear mine proudly and feel that I have earned every strand of it!! Best Wishes!

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 4 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Hello and and God Bless You mpamom, thank you for your comment!

Msnita 4 years ago

Thanks for the post gogranny. It really helped a lot. My step-daughter has the Instyler and I was thinking about purchasing it. I'm really particular

about my hair and the products I use on it. I never use synthetic brushes or nonceramic irons, so this isn't the product for me. Thanks GoGranny

ana244 4 years ago

I am going through the same issue with my hair, but was in denial about what the cause could be. However, my suspicion was on the InStyler, which I love. My hair has been breaking too. I used to use the InStyler once a week, but started using it more frequently and now regret it. The directions say not to use any product on the hair, so I never did before using it, but all that is now changing. Thank you for the details you provided. I'm sure you are helping many other women with the same problem. :-)

Lynn 4 years ago

GoGranny thank you for your truth and selflessness. I pray Jehovah continue to use you and bless others through you!

susan fernando 4 years ago

thank you so much for the advice.. im so glad that you really shared the truth with all over the world... i still do not have the instyler with me but i love to try it on.. because my hair is frizzy and wavy.. and i've tried a lot like straightening and relaxing.. but you know we love to have some type of volume and elegant look. so that's why i wanted to buy it by next or this month... anyway what will be your advice to me?? will that be good? does it have results in good way? if my hair is relaxed will it be okay?

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 4 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Relaxed hair should do well with any heated styling tool. The key is to keep it healthy to withstand the heat. Protect it from breakage, only relax new growth, and never, ever, let your hair dry out. I still use my Instyler weekly, and I love it! Look for my hair update hub soon!

Best Wishes!

greeneyedblondie profile image

greeneyedblondie 2 years ago

I bought into it too (okay, I got it as a gift) and it doesn't curl my hair as well as I thought it would. I guess nothing can curl my straight locks.

Ijeoma 2 years ago

I am an African(nigerian) but born and brought up in India. Women here have straight hair so there are not much or no products for the african type of hair. I DO NOT take care of my hair..

I do not leave my hair open. I always get them braided. I've been doing so since childhood . I am 19 now.

I've relax my hair sometimes and whenever I do it I get my hair braided immediately. Sometimes when I loosen my hair I face a lot of hair fall(not sometimes but everytime) I know I am causing my hair a lot of damage but then there aren't people here to guide me. All knowledge I have regarding african hair is through Tv or the internet or the lady that braids my hair(she knows nothing)...

I am in such a TURMOIL because now i'm getting tired of getting my hair braided.. I want to go natural but I do not know how..

I don't even know my hair type..

All I know is my hair is a bit light and short and I may soon go bald if they are not taken care of...

so if you could just tell me the products and equipments that I can use so that I may START taking good care of my hair and also go natural..

Please do reply ASAP as I am in DIRE need of help. Here is my email id so that I can directly be in contact with you...

GoGranny profile image

GoGranny 2 years ago from Southeastern PA Author

Oh dear Ijeoma,

I apologize for just seeing your comment and request for assistance. I'm not an educated expert, but sounds like your problem is lack of moisture and conditioning. Constant braiding or any hairstyle, for that matter, can be harsh and cause damage without daily care and conditioning. Stop relaxing, going natural is a good idea, then all you would need is moisture shampoo and conditioner once a week, and some type of oil daily. Hey when I was a kid my mother used cooking lard with a little perfume in it! It served the purpose! The most basic requirement for healthy hair is patience and diligence! Not every product works the same on everybody, so we must experiment to find the right regimen that produces the desired result.

All the best, GoGranny

JennyW14 profile image

JennyW14 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I personally love my Karmin flat iron.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article