How do I use my hair straighteners in China?

Chinese power outlet

Will my hair straighteners work in China?

First check your hair straighteners can handle the voltage in China:

If not then either:

  • Use a power converter [9] (or voltage transformer) - this enables you to use your existing hair straighteners and other applicances with a 220 volt Chinese power outlet, however this is noticeably bulkier and more expensive than dedicated travel hair straighteners. A power converter changes the voltage but not the physical shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit in the wall outlet used in China, therefore please check that the voltage transformer comes with the correct power adapter for China otherwise you will also need to bring a seperate power adapter. Please note that your own existing hair straighteners might not be suitable for travel and you could risk damage in your luggage.

Warning: If your hair straighteners won't handle 220 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 China please read the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using hair straighteners in China

How can I use my US hair straighteners in China?

The guides on this page assume that you're a reader from America travelling to China and will provide advice on using your US hair straighteners with a Chinese power outlet.

Will my hair straighteners work in China?

That will depend on if your hair straighteners is designed to operate using the 220 volts as used in China. If you're using either dual voltage hair straighteners or your hair straighteners is designed to operate using 220 volts and you have the appropriate plug adapter then you'll be able to use your hair straighteners in China. If not then then you will need to consider bringing either a power converter [9] or dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2]. Read the guide on will a voltage converter work with your hair straighteners in China for help deciding which option is more suitable.

China power outlets and plug sockets

What is the mains voltage in China?

The residential voltage in China is 220 volts.

What is the electrical frequency used in a Chinese power outlet?

The frequency of the alternating current in a Chinese power outlet is 50 Hz.

Which power adapter do you need to bring to use  hair straighteners in China?

Type A, I and C power outlets

Which power adapter do you need to bring to use hair straighteners in China?

There are three types of power outlets used in China, these are type I, A and C with the primary power outlets being type I:

  • Plug Type A - The power outlet, technically called a type A power outlet, can be recognised by 2 thin adjacent slots where the plug socket blades slide into.
  • Plug Type C - You can identify the power outlet by the two adjacent holes for live and neutral pins.
  • Plug Type I - The power outlet, technically called a type I power outlet, can be identified by the 3 thin slots for the live, neutral and earth.

A Type I plug adapter [6] will allow you to use 220 volt hair straighteners in China - read the simple guide below for full details of how to use a travel adapter for China. Be aware that unless you that have dual voltage hair straighteners you might also need to use a power converter.

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 look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or the plug of your hair straighteners. The location might vary depending on the make and model of your hair straighteners and should also state in the instruction manual or on the box. Some dual voltage hair straighteners might change automatically but other models will feature a button which allows you to toggle between different voltage ranges depending on which country you are in.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates single voltage hair straighteners. If this number matches the 220 volts used in China then you should be able to use your hair straighteners with a Chinese 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 220 volts used in a Chinese power outlet falls within the range shown on your hair straighteners then you can use it in China.
  • A larger voltage range separated with a dash or slash such as 100/240V indicates dual voltage hair straighteners capable of being used in China or any other country.

Travelling to China with hair straighteners

Is it safe to bring my hair straighteners to China?

Packing dual voltage travel hair straighteners are preferable to bringing your existing hair straighteners as it ensures that they'll work with the 220 volt power outlets used with a Chinese power outlet, provided that you use the correct plug adapter for China. Please be aware that bringing your expensive domestic hair straighteners could put them at risk because of potential damage or loss in transit by airport baggage handlers. The cost and inconvenience of repairing expensive specialised domestic hair straighteners in China could outweigh the costs of purchasing cheap dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] beforehand to bring along with you. If you intend to bring your own personal hair straighteners in your suitcase 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 [12] or heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons [13] which also allows the hair straighteners to be packed whilst hot without risk of burning.

Can you carry on hair straighteners in your luggage?

Travel hair straighteners with heat protective cap

Can you carry on hair straighteners in your luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair straighteners [14] 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 the airline which is flying you to China 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 [12] leaves them easily accessible for airport security checks, they can be packed away quickly avoiding a tangle of power cables in your carry on luggage (the TSA suggests wrapping cables tightly around electric items such as hair straighteners). If you do intend to pack fragile or expensive hair straighteners in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to bring hard carry on luggage [16] as this provides the most protection against drops and knocks during transit.

Power converters for China

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for China?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for China?

A small, cheap and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit into a power outlet in China, but an expensive and bulkier power converter [9] converts the voltage of 220 volts from a Chinese power outlet to work with non-220 volt hair straighteners.

Will a power converter work with a normal hair straighteners in China?

The correct power converter [9] (or voltage transformer) will allow your hair straighteners using a different voltage to work with the 220 volt power outlet used in China. Travellers wishing to bring their own hair straighteners can use a power converter, however it can be more costly to purchase a power converter than it is to buy dedicated dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2]. A power converter is also significantly bulkier and heavier than travel hair straighteners making a power converter less suited for travelling compared to travel hair straighteners.

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 [17] 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 [20] 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 [13] or use a hot tools travel case [12] 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 [18] 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 [13] 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 [19] 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 [19] 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 [21] 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 China using a type C power adapter

The WikiConnections page showing how to use hair straighteners in China using a 2 pronged Type C power adapter.

  1. Make sure that your hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or is compatible with a 220 volt power outlet - if not then do not attempt these instructions as you might create an electrical fire hazard, damage your hair straighteners or blow a fuse. Before using a dual voltage travel straighteners ensure you have set it to the 220 volt setting to use in China - consult the user guide for more information on how to do this.
  2. You'll need to bring a Type C plug adapter [4] if the shape of the power outlet which is used in China won't accomodate the plug shape of your hair straighteners. The plug adapter is designed to convert different plugs on appliances from other countries for use in a power outlet found in China by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the voltage of the hair straighteners to work with a 220 volt outlet.
  3. Start by plugging the Type C plug adapter into the power outlet. You can recognise this plug supply by the two round holes next to each other for live and neutral pins.
  4. After that plug in your hair straighteners into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Chinese power outlet. You can now switch on the straighteners to use in China.
How to use  hair straighteners in China using a type C power adapter

How to use hair straighteners in China using a type I power adapter

The WikiConnections page showing how to use your hair straighteners in China with a 3 pronged Type I power adapter.

  1. Check that the hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or is compatible with a 220 volt power outlet but if it doesn't then don't continue because you could blow a fuse, damage your straighteners or create an electrical fire hazard. Some travel hair straighteners usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using your straighteners ensure you have set it to the 220 volt setting; please refer to the manufacturers instructions for more information on where the switch is found.
  2. If the plug shape on your hair straighteners isn't the same shape as the outlet which is used in China you will need to use a Type I plug adapter [6]. This plug adapter will help fit plugs from other countries for an electrical outlet used in China by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the voltage of your hair straighteners to work with a 220 volt supply.
  3. Start by taking the Type I plug adapter and plugging it in the Chinese power outlet. You can identify the power outlet by the three slots forming an upside-down triangular configuration with the top two slots sloping upwards for the live, neutral and ground blades. Note that the neutral and live pins are configured reversed compared to Argentinian plug outlets therefore check that your Type I power adaptor is compatible with a Chinese power outlet.
  4. After that plug in your hair straighteners into the Type I plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Chinese power outlet. The straighteners can now be turned on.
How to use  hair straighteners in China using a type I power adapter

How to use hair straighteners in China using a type A power adapter

How to power your hair straighteners in China with a Type A travel charger.

  1. Please check that your straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or can work with a 220 volt power supply; if not then do not proceed as you may create an electrical fire hazard, blow a fuse or damage your hair straighteners. Before using a dual voltage travel straighteners make sure the switch is set to accept 220 volts for use in China, consult the owners manual to find out how to do this.
  2. Check that you don't already own hair straighteners with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but still check that your hair straighteners will work with a 220 volt power outlet). If the type of power outlet used in China isn't the same shape as the plug on your hair straighteners you'll need to buy a Type A plug adapter [8]. This plug adapter is designed to convert different plugs on appliances from other countries into an electrical outlet found in China by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the voltage of the hair straighteners to work with a 220 volt outlet.
  3. Begin the process by plugging the Type A plug adapter into the power outlet. The power supply, technically called the Type A power outlet [7], can be identified by the 2 thin slots where the twin blades slide into.
  4. Plug in the hair straighteners into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Chinese power outlet.
  6. You can now switch on the straighteners to use in China.
How to use  hair straighteners in China using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China - China Wikipedia page
  2. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Huachi-Straightener-Straighteners-Temperature-Straightening/dp/B06XSG9D5D/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1519849921&sr=8-1&keywords=Dual+Voltage+Titanium+Flat+Iron+Hair+Straightener&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnectio-21&linkId=d631f2dbe4c8cea042c38ac0fe4bf011 - dual voltage travel hair straighteners
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeC.htm - Type C power outlet
  4. Type C plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type C power outlets without converting voltage
  5. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeI.htm - Type I power outlet
  6. Type I plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type I power outlets without converting voltage
  7. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeA.htm - Type A power outlet
  8. Type A plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type A power outlets without converting voltage
  9. 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
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  11. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm - IEC World Plugs by location
  12. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners..
  13. 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.
  14. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=hair%20iron - TSA guidelines for hair straighteners
  15. Dual voltage travel hair dryer - Folding handle hair dryer with dual voltage suitable for international travel
  16. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on.
  17. 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
  18. Heat protectant spray - Thermal protector spray used prior to styling with heated tools such as blow dryers and flat irons.
  19. Energy saving outlet with timer - Automatic power shut down of a connected appliance after a preset length of time.
  20. Hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap - Example of hair straighteners with a protective cap suitable for travel.
  21. Power outlet splitter - Splits a single power outlet to multiple power outlets, allowing multiple appliances to simultaneously use a single wall outlet.