How do I use my hair straighteners in The United Kingdom?

UK power outlet

Will my hair straighteners work in The United Kingdom?

First check your hair straighteners can handle the voltage in The United Kingdom:

If not then either:

  • Use a power converter [5] (or voltage transformer) - you can then use your existing hair straighteners and other applicances with a 230 volt UK power outlet, however this is significantly bulkier, heavier and more expensive than dedicated travel hair straighteners. A power converter changes the voltage but won't change the actual shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit in the types of power outlet used in The United Kingdom, so check that the power converter [5] includes a suitable power adapter for The United Kingdom otherwise you will need to purchase another power adapter. Be aware that your domestic hair straighteners might not be suited for travel and you could risk damage in your luggage.

Warning: If your hair straighteners won't handle 230 volts you run the risk of damage to your hair straighteners, an electrical fire hazard or a blown fuse. Prior to using your hair straighteners in The United Kingdom check the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Using hair straighteners in The United Kingdom

Can I use my US hair straighteners in The United Kingdom?

The instructions on this page assume that you are a reader from the US visiting The United Kingdom and provide guidance for using your American hair straighteners with a UK power outlet.

Will my hair straighteners work in The United Kingdom?

This depends on if your hair straighteners can handle the 230 volts used in The United Kingdom:

The United Kingdom power outlets and plug sockets

What mains voltage is used in The United Kingdom?

Power outlets in The United Kingdom are 230 volts.

What is the electrical frequency used with a UK power outlet?

The frequency of the alternating current from a UK power outlet is 50 Hz.

Which travel adapter do you need to bring to use hair straighteners in The United Kingdom?

The type of power outlet used in The United Kingdom is type G. You can recognise this plug outlet by the three vertical holes forming a triangular configuration for live, neutral and earth. A Type G power adapter [4] will allow you to use 230 volt hair straighteners in The United Kingdom - read the simple instructions below for full details of using hair straighteners in The United Kingdom. Note that unless you that have dual voltage hair straighteners you will need to see if you also have to bring a power converter.

Which travel adapter do you need to bring to use  hair straighteners in The United Kingdom?

Dual voltage hair straighteners

How can I tell if my hair straighteners are dual voltage?

Dual voltage hair straighteners

How can I tell if my hair straighteners are dual voltage?

An easy way how to tell if your hair straighteners supports dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the plug or the handle of your hair straighteners. This location will depend on the make or model of your hair straighteners, it could also be written on the box or in the instruction manual. Some dual voltage models will change automatically, however other straighteners will feature a button which allows you to operate between different regions depending on which country you are visiting.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates single voltage hair straighteners. If this number matches the 230 volts used in The United Kingdom then you should be able to use your hair straighteners with a UK power outlet.
  • A small voltage range with a dash such as 100-120V also indicates single voltage hair straighteners which can accomodate small voltage fluctuations. If the 230 volts used in a UK power outlet falls within the range shown on your hair straighteners then you can use it in The United Kingdom.
  • A larger voltage range separated with a dash or slash such as 100/240V indicates dual voltage hair straighteners capable of being used in The United Kingdom or any other country.

Travelling to The United Kingdom with hair straighteners

Can you carry on hair straighteners to The United Kingdom?

Travel hair straighteners with heat protective cap

Can you carry on hair straighteners to The United Kingdom?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair straighteners [8] there is no restriction on carrying mains powered hair straighteners in your hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA recommends that you should check that your airline who is taking you to The United Kingdom will allow hair straighteners onboard and that they will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft. Packing your hair straighteners in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case [10] leaves them easily accessible when going through airport security, they can be packed away quickly and should avoid a tangle of wires in your carry on luggage (the TSA suggests wrapping cables tightly around electronic items). If you intend to bring fragile or expensive hair straighteners in your hand held luggage then it is recommended to use hard carry on luggage [11] as this offers the most protection against knocks and drops during your journey.

Power converters for The United Kingdom

Can I use a voltage converter to use a normal hair straighteners in The United Kingdom?

A suitable power converter [5] (or voltage transformer) will allow your hair straighteners using a different voltage to work with the 230 volt power outlet used in The United Kingdom. A power converter is more suitable for travellers wishing to bring their own hair straighteners, however it can be cheaper to buy dedicated dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] than it will be to purchase a power converter. Also worth noting, a power converter is substantially bulkier than travel hair straighteners making a power converter less suited for travelling compared to travel hair straighteners.

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for The United Kingdom?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for The United Kingdom?

A heavy and bulky power converter [5] converts the voltage of 230 volts from a UK power outlet to work with non-230 volt hair straighteners, whereas a smaller and more lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit into a power outlet found in The United Kingdom.

Travelling to The United Kingdom with hair straighteners

Is it safe to bring my hair straighteners to The United Kingdom?

Packing dual voltage travel hair straighteners are preferable to bringing your existing hair straighteners as it ensures that they'll work with the 230 volt power outlets used with a UK power outlet, provided that you use the correct plug adapter for The United Kingdom.

It is also worth bearing in mind that bringing your expensive domestic hair straighteners could put them at risk due to potential loss or damage in your check in luggage by airline baggage handlers in The United Kingdom. The inconvenience and costs involved in replacing or repairing expensive quality hair straighteners in The United Kingdom might be higher than buying cheaper dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] beforehand to bring along with you. If you intend to pack your own hair straighteners in your luggage it is recommended to either slide them inside a sneaker or boot to protect from light knocks, alternatively use a shockproof and heat resistant hot tools travel case [10] or heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons [12] which also allows the hair straighteners to be packed whilst hot without risk of burning.

Hair straightener safety

Are hair straighteners dangerous?

The temperature of the ceramic plates used in hair straighteners can reach over 200 degrees with the potential to burn hair, skin, and even start a fire if not used correctly. According to figures from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service electrical beauty products have been responsible for an estimated 650,000 fires in the United Kingdom alone.

How can I minimise risk using hair straighteners?

A heat resistant glove

How can I minimise risk using hair straighteners?

  • Skin protection: Wear heat resistant gloves [13] during styling to protect hands from heat.
  • Children's protection: With 10% of children's burns being caused by hair straighteners it is recommended to look for hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap [16] to keep the plates closed shut when not in use, making it easier to store out of reach of children.
  • Luggage protection: Placing hair straighteners directly into luggage without allowing them to cool down can risk damage to clothes and heating up combustible or flammable packed items. If your hair straighteners weren't supplied with a heat protective cap then wrap them in a heat mat [12] or use a hot tools travel case [10] to pack them into luggage whilst warm. A travel case will also keep expensive hair straighteners protected from damage during transit.
  • Hair protection: Applying a heat protectant spray [14] prior to using hair straighteners is essential to prevent burning, as well as using the correct technique for your hair type - read our guide on how to use hair straighteners for comprehensive information.
  • Fire protection: It can take up to 40 minutes for hair straighteners to cool down so resting your straighteners on a heat mat [12] could reduce the risk of setting fire to furniture. Forgetting to turn off hot domestic appliances can also cause fires. This risk can be reduced by using a model of straightener with a timer socket [15] which will turn itself off automatically after a certain length of time, you can also add this feature to any basic straighteners by using a timer socket in a power outlet.

How can I add a safety timer to my existing hair straighteners?

Hair straighteners connected to a timer power outlet

How can I add a safety timer to my existing hair straighteners?

1 in 12 owners of hair straighteners admit to forgetting to turn them off after use, unless your hair straighteners have a built in automatic timer then leaving them on could potentially start a fire. However you can add this functionality to any model even if it doesn't have an integrated timer:

  1. Add an automatic timer to any hair straighteners by plugging them into a timer socket [15] then plugging the timer into a power outlet.
  2. Turn on the timer and use the hair straighteners as normal.
  3. After you have finishing using the hair straighteners turn off the power at the outlet.
  4. However if you forget to turn the power outlet off then the timer will automatically switch off the straighteners after a pre-set length of time. Depending on the model of timer this could be 15, 30, 60 or 120 minutes - ideally pick the shortest length of time possible.
  5. For added peace of mind use a power outlet splitter [17] to share the outlet from the timer with both your hair straighteners and a lamp. When the timer is running both the straighteners and the lamp will be turned on, making the lamp a clear indicator that the straighteners are still being heated. When leaving a room it is second nature to ensure all lights are turned off, if the lamp is still on then this acts as a reminder to switch off the straighteners.

How to treat a hot iron burn

If you accidentally burn yourself run cold water under your burn and if it is severe it is advised to seek medical attention from a doctor or hospital.

How to use hair straighteners in The United Kingdom using a type G power adapter

How to power your hair straighteners in The United Kingdom with a Type G travel charger.

  1. Ensure that the straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or can work with a 230 volt power supply but if it doesn't then do not proceed as you may create an electrical fire hazard, blow a fuse or damage your hair straighteners. Some dual voltage hair straighteners might typically have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using your straighteners ensure you have set it to the 230 volt setting, please refer to the manufacturers instructions to find out where this switch is.
  2. If the plug shape on your hair straighteners isn't the same shape as the outlet which is used in The United Kingdom you'll need to bring a Type G plug adapter [4]. This plug adapter will help fit plugs from other countries for an electrical outlet found in The United Kingdom simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your hair straighteners to work with a 230 volt supply.
  3. Start by plugging the Type G plug adapter into the power outlet. You can identify the power supply by the three rectangular holes forming a triangle shape for live, neutral and earth.
  4. After that plug in your hair straighteners into the Type G plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the UK power outlet.
  6. Your hair straighteners can now be turned on.
How to use  hair straighteners in The United Kingdom using a type G power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom - wikipedia entry about The United Kingdom
  2. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RNFY344/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&keywords=Salona+Professional+1%22+Titanium+Flat+Iron+Hair+Straightener+Worldwide+Dual+Voltage&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=e3d3466bd15690b0f8d286099f4ac0f1 - dual voltage travel hair straighteners
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeG.htm - Type G power outlet
  4. Type G plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type G power outlets without converting voltage
  5. Power converter - A step up step down power converter converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  7. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm - IEC World Plugs by location
  8. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=hair%20iron - TSA guidelines for hair straighteners
  9. Dual voltage travel hair dryer - Folding handle hair dryer with dual voltage suitable for international travel
  10. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners..
  11. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on.
  12. Heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons - Protects surfaces from hot hair irons and wraps around the appliance allowing instant packing into baggage.
  13. Heat resistant gloves for hair styling - Heat resistant glove recommended to protect skin against the risk of heat from a curling iron, flat iron or hair dryer
  14. Heat protectant spray - Thermal protector spray used prior to styling with heated tools such as blow dryers and flat irons.
  15. Energy saving outlet with timer - Automatic power shut down of a connected appliance after a preset length of time.
  16. Hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap - Example of hair straighteners with a protective cap suitable for travel.
  17. Power outlet splitter - Splits a single power outlet to multiple power outlets, allowing multiple appliances to simultaneously use a single wall outlet.