How do I use hair straighteners in Sao Tome?

Sao Tome power outlet

Will my hair straighteners work in Sao Tome?

First check that your hair straighteners can work in Sao Tome:

If not then:

  • Use a power converter (or voltage transformer) - you can then use your existing hair straighteners and other applicances with a 220 volt Sao Tome power outlet, however this is considerably heavier and more expensive than dedicated travel hair straighteners. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but not the physical shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit in the types of power outlet used in Sao Tome, so please check that the power converter has a power adapter for Sao Tome otherwise you will still need to purchase another power adapter. Please note that your own personal hair straighteners might not be suited for travelling and you risk damage in your luggage. [7]
Warning: If your hair straighteners won't handle 220 volts used in Sao Tome you run a risk of a blown fuse, damage to your hair straighteners or even an electrical fire hazard. Prior to using your hair straighteners in Sao Tome check the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Using hair straighteners in Sao Tome

Will my hair straighteners work in Sao Tome?

That depends on if your hair straighteners is designed to operate using the 220 volt power outlets used in Sao Tome. If you're using either dual voltage hair straighteners or your hair straighteners is designed to handle 220 volts and you have the correct power adapter then you'll be able to use your hair straighteners in Sao Tome. If not then you will need to consider using either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or a heavier and more expensive power converter, read our section on will a voltage converter work with domestic hair straighteners in Sao Tome for help deciding which option is more suitable. [7]

Sao Tome power outlets and plug sockets

What frequency is used in Sao Tome?

The frequency used in a Sao Tome power outlet is 50 Hz. [8]

What mains voltage is used in Sao Tome?

Power outlets in Sao Tome are 220 volts.

Which travel adapter do you need when using  hair straighteners in Sao Tome?

Type C and F power outlets

Which travel adapter do you need when using hair straighteners in Sao Tome?

There are two types of power outlets used in Sao Tome, types F and C with the primary power outlets being type F:

  • Plug Type C - This ungrounded wall socket (called the Europlug) can be recognised by 2 circular holes adjacent to each other for live and neutral.
  • Plug Type F - You can recognise the wall socket by the two 4.8mm circular adjacent holes for live and neutral along with a pair of metal grounding clips on the top and bottom.

A Type F plug adapter will allow you to use 220 volt hair straighteners in Sao Tome; read the step by step instructions below for full details of how to use hair straighteners in Sao Tome. Note that unless you that have dual voltage hair straighteners you will need to check if you need to use a power converter.  [6] [9]

Dual voltage hair straighteners

Are my hair straighteners dual voltage?

Single voltage hair straighteners

Are my hair straighteners dual voltage?

A simple way to tell if your hair straighteners supports dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or plug of the hair straighteners. The location might depend 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 switch which allows you to change between different regions.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates single voltage hair straighteners. If this number matches the 220 volts used in Sao Tome then you should be able to use your hair straighteners with a Sao Tome 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 Sao Tome power outlet falls within the range shown on your hair straighteners then you should be able to use it in Sao Tome.
  • A large range separated with a dash or slash such as 100/240V indicates dual voltage hair straighteners capable of being used in Sao Tome or any other country.
 [2]

Travelling to Sao Tome with hair straighteners

Can you carry on hair straighteners to Sao Tome in your luggage?

Travel hair straighteners with heat protective cap

Can you carry on hair straighteners to Sao Tome in your luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair straighteners there is no restriction on carrying mains powered hair straighteners in your carry on hand luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA also suggests that you should check that the airline that is taking you to Sao Tome will allow hair straighteners onboard and that they will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft. Packing the hair straighteners in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case leaves them easily accessible when going through airport security checks, they can be packed away quickly and will avoid 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 greatest protection against knocks and drops during transit.    [2] [10] [11] [12]

Is it better to bring travel hair straighteners or domestic hair straighteners to Sao Tome?

Bringing dual voltage travel hair straighteners are preferable to bringing your existing hair straighteners as it ensures that they will operate correctly with the 220 volt power outlets used with a Sao Tome power outlet, as long as you use the correct plug adapter for Sao Tome. It is also worth bearing in mind that packing expensive domestic hair straighteners might put them at risk because of potential damage or loss in your check in luggage by an airline baggage handler in Sao Tome. The costs of repairing expensive quality hair straighteners in Sao Tome might outweigh the cost of purchasing much cheaper dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] before travelling to bring with you. If you intend to pack your own personal hair straighteners in your suitcase it is recommended to either slot them inside a boot or sneaker to protect from light damage, alternatively use a shockproof and heat resistant hot tools travel case or heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons which also allows the hair straighteners to be packed whilst hot without waiting to cool down.   [11] [13]

Power converters for Sao Tome

Do I need a power converter to use hair straighteners in Sao Tome?

The correct voltage transformer (or power converter) allows hair straighteners using a different voltage to work with the 220 volt power outlet used in Sao Tome. Travellers wishing to use their existing hair straighteners can use a power converter, but it can be more costly to purchase a power converter than it is to purchase dedicated dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2]. Also, a power converter is substantially bulkier than travel hair straighteners making a power converter less suited for packing. [7]

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

Voltage converter

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

A lightweight, cheap and small power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit into a power outlet in Sao Tome, however a more expensive and heavier power converter will transform a 220 volt Sao Tome power outlet to work with non-220 volt hair straighteners. [7]

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.    [11] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]
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.
  [16] [18]

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 Sao Tome using a type C power adapter

How to power your hair straighteners in Sao Tome using a Type C travel charger.

  1. Check that the hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or can work with a 220 volt power supply; if not then don't continue as you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your hair straighteners or blow a fuse. Before using a travel hair straighteners ensure you have set it to the 220 volt setting, consult the instructions for more information on where this switch is.
  2. You'll need to buy a Type C 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 Sao Tome. The plug adapter will help adapt plugs from other countries for use in a power outlet used in Sao Tome by changing the shape of the plug, however the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your hair straighteners to work with a 220 volt outlet.
  3. Plug the Type C plug adapter into the Sao Tome power outlet. You can identify the power supply by the 2 circular holes next to each other for live and neutral.
  4. After that plug in the hair straighteners into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Sao Tome power outlet. Your hair straighteners can now be used in Sao Tome.
How to use  hair straighteners in Sao Tome using a type C power adapter

How to use hair straighteners in Sao Tome using a type F power adapter

A guide showing how to power your hair straighteners in Sao Tome by using a two pronged Type F travel charger.

  1. Check that the straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or can work with a 220 volt power supply - if it doesn't then don't attempt these instructions as you may create an electrical fire hazard, blow a fuse or damage your straighteners. Some travel hair straighteners will usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using your hair straighteners ensure you have set it to accept 220 volts, consult the manufacturers instructions to find out how to do this.
  2. You will need to use a Type F plug adapter [6] if the type of plug used on your hair straighteners isn't the same shape as the plug outlet which is used in Sao Tome. This plug adapter helps adapt plugs on appliances from other countries into an electrical outlet used in Sao Tome by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of the hair straighteners to work with a 220 volt outlet.
  3. Begin by inserting the Type F plug adapter into the Sao Tome power outlet. The circular power supply can be recognised by the two round holes 19 mm adjacent to each other where the twin plug outlet pins sit and two grounding clips at the top and bottom.
  4. Then plug in your hair straighteners into the Type F plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Sao Tome power outlet. Your straighteners can now be used in Sao Tome.
How to use  hair straighteners in Sao Tome using a type F power adapter

See also

  1. Wikipedia - Sao Tome wikipedia page
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel hair straighteners
  3. iec.ch - Type C power outlet
  4. Type C plug adapter - European Europlug Type C plug adapters are unearthed and comprise of two 4mm rounded pins placed 19mm apart, C$4-C$5.
  5. iec.ch - Type F power outlet
  6. Type F plug adapter - Schuko Type F plug adapters are earthed using two clips at the top and bottom with two rounded 4.8mm pins set 19mm apart, under C$5.
  7. 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, costing C$60-C$70.
  8. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  9. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  10. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for hair straighteners -
  11. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners, priced C$20-C$25.
  12. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, under C$10.
  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, around C$15.
  14. 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, around C$5.
  15. Heat protectant spray - Thermal protector spray used prior to styling with heated tools such as blow dryers and flat irons, priced at C$35-C$40.
  16. Energy saving outlet with timer - Automatic power shut down of a connected appliance after a preset length of time, under C$5.
  17. Hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap - Example of hair straighteners with a protective cap suitable for travel, priced at under C$60.
  18. Power outlet splitter - Splits a single power outlet to multiple power outlets, allowing multiple appliances to simultaneously use a single wall outlet, costs C$10-C$15.