Lady Jennifer Bell Schofield, building on previous hair-straightening techniques, created the first modern hair straightener in 1912. It worked by attaching two plates that could be heated and through which hair to be straightened could be combed. Today, many hair professionals recommend ceramic hair straighteners over other types of straighteners because they cause less damage due to heat and breakage than other types of straighteners.
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Straightening irons work through heat. When heat is applied to hair, natural hydrogen bonds in hair break down. These hydrogen bonds are what causes curly hair; humidity or moisture re-creates these hydrogen bonds. For this reason, hair straighteners only temporarily straighten hair. One mechanism to apply heat to hair is through ceramic plating, which heats hair more evenly than metallic components and is less destructive to hair. Ceramic plating also heats up faster than other types of plating, such as metal.
Besides heating faster and more evenly, ceramic plating is also smother than other types of plating. This causes less damage to hair by allowing hair to smoothly pass through the two heated plates. This, in turn, causes less breakage and strain on hair.