How to use hair straighteners in Malawi

Malawian power outlet

Will my hair straighteners work in Malawi?

Check that your hair straighteners can work in Malawi:

  • If your hair straighteners can run on 230 volts or can support dual voltage (how you can check) then you will only need to bring a suitable power adapter listed below if the plug on your hair straighteners will not fit in the outlet.

If not then either:

  • Use a power converter (or voltage transformer) - you can then use your existing hair straighteners and other applicances with a 230 volt Malawian power outlet, however this is significantly bulkier and more expensive than dedicated travel hair straighteners. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but not the shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit in the types of wall outlet used in Malawi, therefore please check that your voltage transformer comes with a suitable power adapter for Malawi otherwise you will still need to bring a seperate power adapter. Be aware that your personal hair straighteners might not be suitable for travelling and you risk potential damage in your luggage. [5] [AD]
Warning: If your hair straighteners won't handle 230 volts used in Malawi you run the risk of damage to your hair straighteners, an electrical fire hazard or a blown fuse. Before using your hair straighteners in Malawi read the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using hair straighteners in Malawi

Will my hair straighteners work in Malawi?

It depends on if your hair straighteners can operate using the 230 volt power outlets used in Malawi:

Malawi power outlets and plug sockets

What electrical frequency is used in Malawi?

The frequency from a Malawian power outlet is 50Hz. [6]

What voltage is used in Malawi?

The standard residential voltage in Malawi is 230 volts.

Which travel adapter will you need for using  hair straighteners in Malawi?

Type G power outlet

Which travel adapter will you need for using hair straighteners in Malawi?

The type of power outlet used in Malawi is type G. The wall socket (also known as a type G power outlet) can be identified by the three rectangular holes with shutters forming a triangle pattern. A Type G plug adapter will allow you to use 230 volt hair straighteners in Malawi, read the step by step guide below for full details of using hair straighteners in Malawi. Be aware that unless you that have dual voltage hair straighteners you will need to see if you have to use a voltage converter.  [4] [7] [AD]

Dual voltage hair straighteners

Are my hair straighteners dual voltage?

Single voltage hair straighteners

Are my hair straighteners dual voltage?

A simple method to tell if your hair straighteners supports a dual voltage power outlet is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the plug or handle. This location might vary depending on the make or model of your hair straighteners, it should also state in the instruction manual or on the box. Some dual voltage models will change automatically, however other models will feature a button or switch which allows you to toggle between different regions depending on which country you are in.

  • Single voltage might say a specific number - such as 110V. If this number matches the 230 volts used in Malawi then you should be able to use your hair straighteners with a Malawian power outlet.
  • Single voltage could also have a small voltage range with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V. If the 230 volts used in a Malawian power outlet falls within the range shown on your hair straighteners then you can use it in Malawi.
  • Dual voltage will say a larger range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V. Your hair straighteners will be capable of being used in Malawi or any other country if these numbers are shown.
 [8] [AD]

Travelling to Malawi with hair straighteners

Can I pack hair straighteners in my carry on hand luggage?

Travel hair straighteners with heat protective cap

Can I pack hair straighteners in my carry on hand luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair straighteners there is no restriction on carrying mains powered hair straighteners in your carry on luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA recommends that you should verify that your airline that is flying you to Malawi will allow hair straighteners onboard and that they will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane. Packing your hair straighteners in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case leaves them easily accessible by airport security, they can be packed away quickly avoiding a tangle of wires in your carry on luggage (the TSA suggests wrapping cords tightly around electronic items). If you do intend to pack fragile or expensive hair straighteners in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to use hard carry on luggage as this offers the most protection against bumps and knocks during transit.    [8] [9] [10] [11] [AD]

Is it safe to bring my hair straighteners to Malawi?

Bringing dual voltage travel hair straighteners are preferable to packing your existing hair straighteners as it ensures that they will operate correctly with the 230 volt power outlets used with a Malawian power outlet, as long as you use the correct plug adapter for Malawi.

Please note that packing expensive domestic hair straighteners could put them at risk because of potential loss or damage in transit by a baggage handlers. The inconvenience and costs involved in replacing expensive specialised domestic hair straighteners in Malawi might be higher than purchasing much cheaper dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] before travelling to bring with you. If you intend to bring your own personal hair straighteners in your luggage either slot them inside a sneaker or boot to protect from light knocks, or use a heat resistant and shockproof hot tools travel case or heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons which also allows the hair straighteners to be transported whilst hot without risk of burning.   [10] [12] [AD]

Power converters for Malawi

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

Voltage converter

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

A small, cheap and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to slot into a power outlet found in Malawi, but a heavy and bulkier power converter converts a 230 volt Malawian power outlet to work with non-230 volt hair straighteners. [5] [AD]

Do I need a converter to use my hair straighteners in Malawi?

The correct type voltage transformer (or power converter) allows your hair straighteners using a different voltage to work with the 230 volt power outlet used in Malawi. A power converter is suitable for travellers who want to use their own hair straighteners, but it could be more expensive to purchase a power converter than it is to buy dedicated dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2]. Also, a power converter is noticeably bulkier and heavier than travel hair straighteners making a power converter less suitable when packing in luggage. [5] [AD]

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 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 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 or use a hot tools travel case 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 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 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 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.    [10] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [AD]
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 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 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.
  [15] [17] [AD]

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 Malawi using a type G power adapter

Instructions showing how to use your hair straighteners in Malawi with a three pronged Type G travel charger.

  1. Check that your straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or works with a 230 volt power outlet but if not then do not attempt these instructions because you could create an electrical fire hazard, damage your straighteners or blow a fuse. Dual voltage hair straighteners usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using your hair straighteners ensure the switch is set to accept 230 volts to use in Malawi, please refer to the owners manual for more information on where the switch is.
  2. You'll need to buy a Type G plug adapter [4] if the shape of plug used on your hair straighteners isn't the same shape as the power outlet which is used in Malawi. This plug adapter will adapt different plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet in Malawi simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the voltage of your hair straighteners to work with a 230 volt supply.
  3. Begin the process by taking the Type G plug adapter and plugging it into the power outlet. The plug supply (known as the Type G power outlet [3]) looks like 3 rectangular slots containing plastic shutters in a triangular pattern for live, neutral and ground.
  4. Plug in the hair straighteners into the Type G plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Malawian power outlet.
  6. The hair straighteners can now be turned on.
How to use  hair straighteners in Malawi using a type G power adapter

See also

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  1. Wikipedia - Malawian country entry on wikipedia
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel hair straighteners
  3. iec.ch - Type G power outlet
  4. Type G plug adapter - A Type G power adapter has three thick rectangular blades in a triangular shape with the longer top blade acting as the earthing pin, costing between $5 to $10 USD (around £30 GBP / under C$35).
  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, priced around $110 USD (£100-£110 GBP / C$160-C$170).
  6. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  7. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  8. Dual voltage travel hair straighteners - Hair straighteners with adjustable temperature and dual voltage for 110 volts and 220 volts suitable for international travel, around $50 USD (£25-£30 GBP / C$45-C$50).
  9. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for hair straighteners -
  10. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners, between $10 to $15 USD (around £10 GBP / under C$25).
  11. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, estimated price between $50 to $60 USD (£40-£45 GBP / under C$100).
  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, priced between $15 to $20 USD (£5-£10 GBP / around C$20).
  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, between $4 to $5 USD (around £5 GBP / under C$10).
  14. Heat protectant spray - Thermal protector spray used prior to styling with heated tools such as blow dryers and flat irons, priced between $10 to $15 USD (£10-£15 GBP / around C$15).
  15. Energy saving outlet with timer - Automatic power shut down of a connected appliance after a preset length of time, priced between $5 to $10 USD (£10-£15 GBP / around C$40).
  16. Hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap - Example of hair straighteners with a protective cap suitable for travel, around $230 USD (£140-£150 GBP / C$80-C$90).
  17. Power outlet splitter - Splits a single power outlet to multiple power outlets, allowing multiple appliances to simultaneously use a single wall outlet, estimated cost under $10 USD (£5-£10 GBP / C$10-C$15).