The old saying “curls get the girls” is often used for a reason… There’s an undeniable appeal about naturally curly hair–for both men and women.
Even as far back as ancient Egypt, women were using “curling tongs” to try and add curl to their otherwise naturally straight hair. Despite all this, those who have those natural curls sometimes find they want to mix things up.
So, for those naturally curly-haired beauties out there looking to discover how to straighten natural hair, here are 10 essential tips for straightening those curls.
How to Straighten Natural Hair: 10 Essential Tips
Just having the straight-hair look isn’t the only good reason for knowing how to straighten your curls naturally and safely. Weddings, dances, or even first dates may prompt you to try a new hairstyle that simply works better with straightened hair.
Whether it be an updo, braid, or another hairstyle, sometimes the only way to achieve success is by straightening your hair first.
Whatever your reason for straightening, knowing best practices for proper straightening will leave you with a better look, and healthier hair.
1. Start with Wet Hair
Trying to straighten unwashed hair is a recipe for breakage. The best way to start things off is by having a fresh wash and towel drying your hair.
Once you’ve wrung out most of the water from your curls, get a good brush and start de-tangling and separating out the curls while they are still wet.
Doing this will help you more easily get to the roots and prep your hair for root to end straightening. No one likes the look of kinky roots or partially straightened pieces.
Not to mention, straightening right after a wash gives your hair the added protection of smoothing conditioner to prevent breakage.
2. Blow Dry
Let’s be clear when we say to start with a wash, we are not saying to straighten wet hair. Not by any means.
You don’t want that wet-hair sizzle when you straighten.
Instead, once you’ve towel-dried your hair from your wash, use a quality hair dryer to dry your entire head before straightening. Try a ceramic or another hair-protecting dryer to prevent drying and damaging.
3. Straighten in Sections
You’ve seen those handy little pincher clips your hairdresser uses when she colors or cuts. Well, it’s time to invest in some yourself.
Breaking your hair up into sections to straighten one chunk at a time is a great way to make sure you get an even look all over.
When you grab too large a chunk of hair at once to straighten, you end up with bent pieces underneath that have been stretched to reach and fit in the straightener with the rest of the hair.
4. Use a Heat Protector or Leave-In Conditioner
With blow-drying, straightening, combing, and all the other things you put your hair through, don’t forget to show your hair a little love.
Heat damages hair. So as often as you can, try using a heat protector or leave-in conditioner on your hair to help nourish it and restore it’s health while you’re subjecting it to heat.
4. Buy Nice or Buy Twice
If you’re serious about good hair, then “buy nice or buy twice” should be your motto when it comes to choosing a straightener.
If you can afford it, choose a quality straightener that maintains a heat level high enough so that you only have to straighten the same strand once.
A good straightener will also go a long way in preventing your hair from damage. After all, what’s the good of straight hair if it looks dead and broken?
5. Know Your Hair
Are your natural curls tight, African American curls? Are they red ringlets? Or are your curls more wavy and loose? Whatever your natural curl, knowing the character of your curl will affect how you should straighten it.
For help knowing how to straighten your natural hair, based on its individual character, you can check out this article or other sources that are specific to your style.
If you’re less interested in totally straight hair, but you’re looking to loosen the curl, give pressing a try.
Pressing uses a hot comb to either straighten your hair or at least loosen the curl pattern to soften tighter curls.
It’s slightly less damaging than using a full-on flat-iron.
7. Straightening with Chemicals
Some curly-haired gals may opt for the seemingly less tiresome method of chemically straightening their hair.
There are pros and cons to this method. Just be aware that chemically straightened hair is permanently thinner after the process is complete.
8. Watch the Time
In addition to straightening too often, straightening for too long can also be damaging. What do we mean by this?
If you’re holding your hair in the flat-iron for too long, (to try and flatten out the curl more thoroughly), you’re running the risk of burning your hair right off.
Don’t clamp down the iron and hold. Be sure to carefully and smoothly pull the iron through each strip of hair, watching that you don’t hold the iron in one place for too long…
9. Preserve the Job
Once you’ve finished straightening your hair, add some kind of pomade or anti-humectant cream to preserve your beautiful do.
Skipping this step usually leaves you with slightly frizzy or fuzzy hair days or even hours after you’ve straightened it.
10. Don’t Overdo It
As much as you might like the look of your newly straightened locks, try and avoid straightening your hair too often.
If you take good care of it and keep your hair clean, you can get away with keeping it straight for several days. This will save your hair some damage and give you that straight-haired look longer.
You may also want to consider alternating between curls and straightened hair. Not only with this add variety to your look, but it will help give your hair a needed break.
If you’ve already straightened it but need some touch-ups a few days later, avoid straightening the ends as they are most prone to breakage.
The Right Straightening Method for YOU
You may discover that how to straighten natural hair will vary depending on the phase of life you’re in. Using a flat-iron may be more convenient for you when you have little time to head to a salon for a chemical straightening.
Whatever method you choose, just remember to take good care of your hair. Give it the TLC it needs before, during, and after each straightening.
Most importantly, don’t forget that your hair is a part of you. Whatever way you choose to wear it, rock it.