Why do we always want what we don’t have? Brunettes want to be blonde, blondes want to be redheads and redheads want to be brunettes. The girls with curls want their hair to go straight, and the girls with stick straight locks yearn for the winding highway of fabulous curls.
And what is the result of taming your mane for the look you want? Unless you are careful, damaged hair may be the price you may have to pay for putting your hair through the ins and outs of chemical enhancements and training your tresses with heat. We all want a magnificent mane, not a fried mess.
So, if you fall into the category of curls that want to go straight, you will need a game plan for the easy but safe heat styling appliance. There are several ways to get there without stripping all of the moisture from your hair with a heated appliance like a flat iron day after day. You may not be aware that there are actually styling products, like straightening shampoo that can give your hair a head start to straight.
There is a range of smoothing treatments that boast giving you straighter hair for up to 30 days. A keratin regimen includes a pre-treatment serum, straightening shampoo, and a leave-in spray to keep the smooth going for 30 days. Some can be expensive – $200 + -- but deliver the look you want without heat. Some treatments employ a variety of plant oils and butters to add the right amount of weight to keep your hair straight and silky smooth even after a wash.
Another product uses keratin (without damaging and somewhat dangerous formaldehyde) combined with avocado and coconut oils that work similar to salon straightening treatments. Other treatments use silicone polymers to bind keratin to your individual strands to lengthen the effective period.
Skip the Flat Iron
There are other treatments that can help you go from curly to straight, again without heat, to give your hair a rest. To begin, wash with a straightening shampoo, then condition with the matching conditioner or another product to target your particular hair needs, such as a repairing conditioner. Be good to your hair by using a repairing conditioner for chemically treated or frequently heated hair for a week at a time on a regular basis to help repair on-going hair damage. If you blow dry your hair, you should choose a microfiber towel to remove as much moisture as possible before using the blow dryer to minimize heat loss and damage.
Even if you intend to air dry, a microfiber towel is a good choice and is gentler on wet hair, which is easily damaged. Avoid pulling on wet hair as much as possible, use a wide tooth comb and smoothly comb out tangles. Next, massage in a smoothing cream or gel, using a small amount and working from roots to ends and follow with a wide tooth comb for even distribution. T
o further straighten hair, use a paddle or round brush with the blow dryer on the lowest heat setting. To increase the amount of straightness, follow up with a flat iron on the lowest setting for a few passes for minimum impact.
Once your heat break is over, how do the various styling tools measure up? What is the best choice? Professional stylists are exposed to various products and are well suited to recommend what’s hot and what’s not so hot. First, educate yourself about the jargon – what do all those words mean and which is the best? Professional flat irons deliver salon quality results and are well worth the extra money; plus they last longer than drug store brands. Ceramic styling tools are a step up from ceramic plated, just as gold is better than gold plated.
Ceramic irons distribute heat evenly and cause less damage to your hair than metal plated tools. A tourmaline ionic flat iron is made with a mineral that heats quickly and produces a smoother result because it’s negative ions smoothes the cuticle which also holds in moisture.
Many curling and flat irons are made of chrome. It is one of the cheapest and popular options; however, it produces uneven heat and can strip the moisture, leaving hair damaged and split, and is better left alone.
On the high end of the cost scale is titanium. It is light, heats evenly and quickly and is a good choice. Another high-end tool is gold. These heat higher and hold curl better than other tools and are used in many professional salons.