We spend countless hours gazing into our mirrors; painting on our fresh daytime makeup or shading and smudging our meticulous night-time eyes. Much of our beauty regimen involves crimping, curling or straightening our luscious locks, which can take a great deal of diligence and patience.
For many of us, our bone-straight manes refuse to hold a curl, while some of us find ourselves across the fence with the “keeping it straight” issue. No matter what we do, it just won't “stay.”
Creating, and maintaining our straight hair can be as simple as switching products and creating a routine; which at first may seem frazzling, but in the end will result in smoother, straighter hair with less “fixes,””fly-aways” and best of all- less stress!
What You Will Need:
1. An essential straightening iron
Our choice in the straightening iron which we use is key to having lustrous and straight hair. Ideally, the iron should be made of ceramic and reach a temperature of 450 degrees.
A proper iron is essential in straightening the hair without damaging it. Proper ceramic plates with good heating distribution locks the malleable cuticles of the hair, which keeps hair from frizzing.
Products to try:
- Remington S8510DS – $20
- Chi Original – $50
- BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium Straightening Iron – $90
2. Straightening shampoo and conditioner
When we purchase makeup, we generally tailor our selections based on our skin type, tone and color. Similarly, our shampoo and conditioner should be specific to our needs. If we want straight hair, we should use a straightening shampoo and conditioner.
These products work wonders with curly and thick hair, and make the straightening process faster and last longer. There are many choices of products, so it is imperative to find one that suits your individual hair type.
For instance, if you dye your hair, you should check the ingredients for sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate, additives which can dry and dull hair.
Products to try:
- Herbal Essences Dangerously Straight – $5
- Bed Head- TGI Control Freak – $15
- Paul Mitchel Super Skinny – $20
- Matrix Sleek Look – $20
3. Bow down to your blow dryer
Your blow dryer isn't just a machine spitting out warm gusts of air; the quality of the dryer matters! Blow drying the hair is an important step in sealing the hair, which keeps hair straight.
Much like a flat iron, a blowdryer helps to keep hair straighter, longer.
Though a blowdryer is an integral component in obtaining straight hair, overuse can lead to damage. If using a blowdryer frequently, consider incorporating a deep moisture hair mask and letting your hair air-dry for an evening each week (Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask is great, and costs around $7).
The blow dryer should be at least 1500 watts, and should be used alongside a round brush. Things to consider when purchasing a blowdryer are: how often will I be using it? How much money am I willing to invest? How much weight is okay on my wrists and arms? What is the warranty like? How many watts is the dryer?
Typically, a hair dryer is an investment; and may be used for many years. For people with thick, brittle, dyed or unrully hair, a better (and possibly more expensive) blowdryer might be needed.
Products to try:
- Vidal Sasoon VS547 – $20
- TGI Bedhead 1875W Active Ionic – $70
- Revlon Ion – $20
- Rusk CTC Lite – $140
4. Protective straightening serum
Straightening your hair can be simplified with an excellent straightening serum or pomade. Finding the right serum can be tricky, as some leave hair greasy or waxy.These work great for women with thickly shafted hair (such as ethnic hair), but are far too intense for thinner hair; and there is nothing worse than frizzy and greasy!
Ideally, you should find a serum based on your hair type which can be applied before blowdrying (to protect the hair from the heat of the dryer and iron) and after (to enhance shine and further seal the hair's cuticle shut).
Many of these products are enriched with proteins, amino acids, silks and oils; so if your hair is usually flat and kinky, be cautious of overzealous moisture.
Products to try:
- Bed Head Control Freak Serum – $13 (straightening serum)
- Mixed Chicks Straightening Serum – $15 (protectant and straightening serum)
- Fantasia – Hair Polisher Heat Protector Straightening Serum – $8 (protectant andstraightening serum)
5. The Right Round Brush
There are many brushes- at many prices, which all promise to detangle hair. Yet, for straightening the hair, special attention should be paid to the materials used in the actual brush. Certain “cheap” brushes can split ends and leave hair puffy and damaged.
- Boar – Boar bristles are considered best, but can be costly. The bristles come from an actual boar, or hog. These bristles tend to be more gentle and last longer. Many manufacturers mix boar's hair with nylon or plastic to strengthen the brush.
- Plastic – Plastic brushes are often generalized as plastic, nylon or rubber. These bristles are flexible and strong, and are better for maximum control.
- Porcupine – This term refers to the grouping of various bristles, such as boar and plastic. These types of brushes are best for fine hair.
- Metal – Metal brushes are severe and are usually used for wigs and fake hair.
When purchasing your round brush, choose the material and size that best caters to your hair type. Make sure the brush has holes for ventilation and a comfortable grip.
6. Hair spray
Just like glue, hairspray is paramount in freezing your hair. Pin-straight locks can be armored from humidity, stress and the elements with the right hairspray.
Though the hairspray will make the hair slightly stiff, it is a sacrifice worth making to obtain all-day straightness. You can opt for a “straightening” hairspray, but keep in mind that most hairsprays do the same thing; so finding the right hairspray can be a decision based on budget and overall “hold.”
Products to try:
- Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Finishing Spray – $21
- Aveda Controlforce Firm Hold Hair Spray – $26
- Garnier Fructis Style Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Hairspray – $4
How to Straighten Your Hair in 8 Easy Steps
1. Begin by washing your hair using straightening shampoo and conditioner. Let the conditioner sit on the hair for 2-5 minutes before rinsing. When washing the conditioner out, use as cold of water as you can stand. This helps to lock in moisture and seal the cuticles of the hair.
2. After your hair is clean and bouncy, towel dry your hair gently. Avoid rubbing or chaffing your hair with the towel; instead, focus on the towel absorbing the water.
3. Once your hair has been towel dried, generously apply your straightening serum from root to tip, with a higher concentration on the tip. Let your hair air dry for at least five minutes. For thicker and curlier hair, let your hair air dry for up to 30 minutes. Before drying, run a comb through your hair, focusing from the bottom up.
4. When you are ready to blow dry, begin by flipping your head upside down and drying the roots. Once the roots are about 50% dried, section off your hair and dry using the hottest setting that you are comfortable with. Use the round brush to secure the hair while drying, rotating the brush through your hair.
5. After the hair is dry, apply a light mist of hair spray to the front and undersides of the hair.
6. Next, section off the hair again and straighten using the highest heat setting.
7. Once the hair has been straightened, apply more straightening serum to the hair.
8. Finish with a generous mist of hairspray.
With the right routine under your belt, straightening your hair can be something done every three days, instead of every day. Keep in mind that you can always wrap your hair up while showering, and that over-washing the hair leads to breakage (which means more frizzles and split ends).
Always remember that obtaining sleek, straight hair is by having healthy hair. Every week, try and use a chelting or clarifying shampoo with an intense conditioner.
In addition, adding omega fish oil and vitamin E supplements to your diet will help your hair repair it's self internally. If your hair is completely unmanageable, consider getting a salon straightening treatment. These can be costly, but guarantee year-round straightness.