I don’t know about you but my family is cursed with coarse wavy/curly hair that gets frizzy in the summer and dry in the winter. It is super thick and just takes tons work to look nice. My sister and I have gone to great lengths to get straight and or smooth hair all our lives and really have stopped at nothing to get it. In this post I will tell you the best ways to get your hair straight and the pros and cons of each way. I am going to talk about blow-drying, flat ironing, japanese relaxers, and brazilian blowouts.
Lets start with the temporary ways first
Blow-drying (if my cosmetology teacher is reading, I mean air-forming)
Blow drying is not only an easy way to get your hair straight, but it is also a great way to add volume. This is definetly the cheapest way to get your hair straight, all you need is a hair dryer which can range anywhere from $25-upwards of $300 [ my favorite dryer is by parlux and is just over $100], a good brush, some clips, and of course practice and patience.
Of course when using any heat styling method you want to make sure that you use a heat protectant, I love Redken’s Satinwear for this, apply it to wet hair and it will help you smooth out your hair and prevent heat damage.
The most important part of your dryer is what is called a concentrator nozzle, it is that little attachment that you probably took off and put back the box and forgot about, well go back and get it. What this does is it directs the air where you want it to go, which is down the hair shaft to smooth out the cuticle.
Start with clean hair add the products you perfer, heat protectant, blow dry balm, root booster, whatever your hair type needs. If you’re not sure talk to your hairstylist we love talking about products and reccommending things lol.
Now the first mistake people make is that they just go right into blowdrying their hair with a brush, dont. Not only is this wasted effort, but when your hair is wet is when its the most fragile – brushes can pull and break your hair. So begin by just doing what is called “rough drying” to get your hair about 80% dry. Do this by just lifting your hair and just quickly drying it, if you want more volume at the root flip your head over or lift the hair where you want the lift. When it is almost dry this is when you start to go at your hair with a brush, get a good comfortable round brush and start blow drying your hair in sections. Sectioning the hair allows you to concertrate on each section to completly smooth it, this is will make your finished product look more polished, remember to keep your brush and dryer moving, I like to tell people to think of their brush as a truck and the dryer as a trailor, they always need to stay together.
- bang tip! – If you have bangs style them first before doing the rest of your hair or else you could end up with a bad bang day.
Flat Ironing –
Flat ironing is another great temporary way to get your hair straight. This will make the hair more flat than blowdrying and will give the hair a really shiny smooth appearance.
You will need a good flat iron with a temperature control. This is where I say don’t skimp. Save up for something good. A good flat iron will last for years and will cause less damage than a cheaper, lower quality one will.
Make sure you set the heat for your hair type. Sure a flat iron can go to 450 degrees, but why… you don’t need it, I like to start around 320 for fine, damaged, and blonde hair types and slowly bump it up a few degrees for thicker coarser hair.
I can’t watch people flat iron hair because about 90% of people do it completly wrong. I watch YouTube videos of people just smacking the plates together over any chunk of hair the iron grabs and pulling it down quickly over and over again trying to get it straight. This is totally a don’t.
Again you want to start sectioning your hair, start at the bottom and work your way up. The proper technique is to take a section between the plates, I like to then take the flat iron and tilt the top towards me about 45 degrees, this will help give you good tension which will help give smoother results. Now that you have your hair in the proper position SLOWLY drag the flat iron down. You need to give your hair enough time to heat up, by just quickly running the iron over your hair you will need to go over each section many times, you should only need to go over each section once. Keep doing this technique until you run out of hair and you will have the straightest shiny-est hair on the block.
Semi- Permanant to Permanant
If you guys follow me on twitter or facebook you will know that I LOVE Brazilian Blowouts. I have had it on my hair for almost a year and honestly I could never live without it. My hair is naturally very wavy, it was bleached blonde for almost 10 years (read: fried) and has never looked shiny everrrrrr. Now people think that my hair is naturally this smooth.
So what is it?
Brazilian Blowout is a semi-permant treatment that must be done by your hairstylist. It can keep your hair smooth and frizz-free for about 4 months, sometimes more. It is a treatment that includes a liquid keratin (the protein your hair is made of) that is applied to your hair then blowdried and flat ironed to steal. This treatment takes about 1.5-2 hours depending on the thickness and length of your hair, and your hair will feel amazing the moment you leave the salon.
Who is this for?
Anyone with unruley hair that wants to prevent frizz and smooth out their hair. This can be applied to even damaged and colored hair with great results!
What makes it so great?
The best thing about the Brazilian Blowout is that it doesn’t last forever. The reason this is great is because it is no commitment. Since this product slowly wears away you don’t get “roots”. Once this wears away it is gone and you can either do the whole treatment again, or if you decided it wasn’t for you (I’d have to question your judgement…) but it’s okay, don’t do it again and no one will ever know!
What else do I need to know?
This can be a costly process depending on your hair and who does it. It usually ranges in the $250-$500 range but can be more expensive. You will also need to switch to using a sulfate-free shampoo for the duration of the treatment as sulfates in shampoos will wear the product away faster.
This is my sister’s favorite way of straightening her hair. It could be because she doesn’t have to pay for it and it requires the least amount of maintenence.. but its totally because she gets it for free… This treatment is a permanent solution to keeping your hair straight. Clients love this because their hair becomes “poker” straight without effort (on their part at least) and it lasts until they cut it off.
So what is it?
A Japanese relaxer is a permanent relaxer that uses chemicals as well as flat ironing to get super straight results. It beings with washing your hair, applying the product, processing, then a good lengthy rinse. Next the hair is blown dry and flat ironed in the style you want, after a neutralizing solution is applyed, processed, rinsed and then you are back in the chair for another blow dry and flat iron.. phewwww
Who is this for?
This is perfect for people with minimally damaged curly or textured hair. Usually I make my clients choose between their hair color and their relaxer, but this of course depends on your actual hair type. I wouldn NEVER do this on anyone with very lightened hair, or overly processed hair. But if you are just changing your color within a few shades it is totally possible. However this treatment is not to be taken lightly, and should only be done after a VERY detailed consultation.
So what makes it so great?
This is a great permanant way to make your hair straight with very little maintence. My sister loves it because it is “wash and go” she can literally let it air dry and know that is going to be exactly the same everytime.
What else do I need to know?
Since this is a permanent process the only way to get rid of it is by cutting it off, so make sure this type of relaxer is what you want before you do it. Also you will get “roots” with this process and you can usually only do this every 6 months as the stylist needs enough new growth to make sure that we do not overlap the product onto previously processed hair. This process also takes some time, usually at minimum 5 hours! Luckly you only have to do it twice a year, right! It is also pretty expensive, usually about $400-$1000 but if these are the results you are after it is money well spent. Also after you have this treatment you cannot wash your hair for 2-3 days, as shampoo will reverse the chemicals applied to the hair, and one remember the scene from Legaly Blonde when Elle is in the court room? She explains why.. and she was totally right.
Hopefully I have helped you decide which method is best for you, I am hoping to start making some more videos to demonstrate some of these processes especially a flat ironing one! So keep an eye out!