London Fire Brigade today issued a warning about ‘beauty blazes’, following a large house fire believed to have been caused by a hairdryer in Harrow this week.

New figures from the Brigade show that there is a ‘beauty blaze’ every fortnight in the capital, caused by items like hairdryers, straighteners, tongs, vanity mirrors, and bathroom candles.

Beauty blazes

Tom George, Acting Deputy Head of Community Safety at London Fire Brigade, said: "Firefighters in London attend at least one of these ‘beauty blazes’ every fortnight. Whether it’s candles used during a bath or straighteners used in the morning, people need to make sure they include fire safety in their beauty routines.

"Many of the straighteners available today can reach temperatures of over 200 degrees celsius, which is hotter than the oil in a deep fat fryer, so it’s vital that people take care.

"Candles are popular in the bathroom, but if they’re not placed on a heat proof surface, they can melt through your bath or toilet. This is especially important with tea lights, which get very hot on the bottom."

The fire in Harrow this week caused severe damage to the first floor of a terraced house. The blaze is believed to have been caused by a hairdryer which was left on a bed. It heated up the bedding which then caught fire, and quickly spread to the rest of the room. The fire comes just days after the Brigade published a photo of some burnt straighteners on its Facebook page, which went viral and has now been seen by 4.3 million people.

The facts

The LFB says 165 fires in the last five years have been caused by beauty habits. The most prolific cause of these ‘beauty blazes’ is candles used in the bathroom, which cause around two fires a week in London. Hairdryers, curling tongs, and hair straighteners have caused 17 fires in the last five years and shaving mirrors – which are angled to magnify people’s faces – were responsible for 33 fires. When in direct sunlight, the mirrors can magnify the sun’s rays, which can concentrate heat and ignite fabric (such as curtains and carpets) nearby. There was also once incident where a can of hairspray was left too near a candle, which caused it to heat up and explode.

Words by Katy Pearson