Hey Curlies, We are going to have some straight talk this time around. Straight hair that is, lol probably not what you’re thinking, huh. Now, I know some of the natural knotzi might tell you that if you manipulate the curl pattern it’s no longer natural, o.k we’ll let them think that. To me as long as you are not chemically relaxing or texturizing your hair, it’s natural.
One of the benefits of being natural is having the ability and versatility to go from straightto curly to froed out. Some naturals wear only weave or crochet. That doesn’t make them any less natural than the ones that literally wake up and do nothing to their hair. It’s all about preference, and I prefer to have plenty of options. Which brings me to my point, what are we doing with our hair for the holidays? We are now days away from the official “Holiday Season” and I like to do a little something different around this time of year. So I’ll be doing my second blowout and straighten since going natural. I got it done last year for my birthday, which was about 5 months into transitioning and this will be the second time I’m doing it. That being said, I feel this is a great time for us to have some conversations about straightening our hair. In general the most important thing we can do for our hair is proper protection. This process is no different. In fact, it is more important that we use the proper protective products and practice good basics when using heat to avoid damage that can lead to hair loss.
One of my main reasons for returning to natural was to have healthier hair. It took some time to perfect what was right for me, and I am still learning new things every day. Although my hair grows fairly quickly I don’t want to do anything that will cause undue hair loss or that will cause me to have to start over. There are naturals that never wear their hair curly, they strictly wash and straighten their tresses and they have healthy full heads of long hair!
As naturals we may not see eye to eye about all hair regimens (let’s face it we’re women we don’t see eye to eye about a lot of things lol.) But each preference is to each naturalista. No matter what she’s doing or not doing to her hair, we should not attack or insult her. That was the prelude to my topic, because I know the natural knotzi will not agree with me…but believe it or not straightening your hair is really not all that bad, and YES its best if you use silicone to protect and coat your tresses. There I said it, sometimes silicone is helpful on this natural journey to hairvina! You just have to take the steps to avoid damage.
And guess what? The steps are really simple! Protect your hair, use a good tool, and wrap it tight. Yes it is just that simple, I promise you! I know from experience. I do not wear my hair straight often but I try to be knowledgeable on hair care and have researched everything that I share. Whether we are straightening or not, protecting your hair should always be a main concern. So let’s start with that. And for good measure I have some Sister Science to back me up. Check out her video “fry Eggs not Hair”
- Heat no harm no danger
Protecting your hair should always be your number one priority. By applying the right products you can avoid heat damage as much as possible. I definitely swear by hair milk! Naturalistas always ask me what to use when straightening their hair and I always tell them to grab some hair milk. Just like milk, hair milk gives your hair great nutrients! Personally I use hair milk even when my hair is in its naturally curly state, because it’s also a great detangler! I fell in love with hair milk a long time ago when I discovered Biolage by Matrix and it was love at first feel. As the years continued on I discovered different brands that work just as great (and may be more cost effective for you!) I like to apply the hair milk after I apply a leave-in conditioner. You really only need to use a small amount of leave-in conditioner because you don’t want your hair to be heavy! The leave-in is an important step because you want your hair shaft to be conditioned before applying heat. If you don’t already know, I always swear by leave-in(s) and we have discussed great leave-in conditioners already; B’leave-in by CarmaCare, Cantu’s leave-in conditioning repair cream, Palmer’s leave-in, etc. Any leave-in that works for you is the right choice. I bet you know what is next. Yes of course you need to seal all of these nutrients and moisture with oil. I did a post recently on God’s oil (olive oil my ride or dry) and the benefits, but there are so many sealants out there you can’t lose! Whether you use olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, or a mixture of different oils it doesn’t matter. The key is to just a dime size amount before blow drying so your hair has movement. There are also some good products that specifically fall under the label of “heat protectants.”
This step is what I should have lead with, but I got so carried away (you know I am a product junkie!) But the number one step to maintaining moisture is using the right shampoo! Shampoo can make or break your hair. Literally how much moisture your hair retains no matter what product you may use starts with your “wash” routine. Certain shampoos will completely strip your hair of everything, product build up and natural oils. Of course we all want our hair to be clean as possible, but we don’t want to dry our hair out! Dry hair breaks! So you definitely want to purchase a shampoo and conditioner that has humectants.Humectants cling to H2o, thus soaking up water and allowing the hair to keep water on the shaft during the cleaning process. As long as you retain water your hair will not dry out and break. Always, always, always deep condition when using heat on your hair, as a curly anyway a deep conditioning regimen is always your best friend!
- Know How to Use Your tool
Believe it or not the type of blow dryer and flat iron can determine the amount of heat damage. Choose a ceramic tool when straightening your hair. These tools may be more pricey than most, but it is truly an investment worth your coins! A ceramic tool distributes heat evenly throughout the shaft. This guarantees less heat damage because no section of the hair will be more distressed than the other! I personally really like BabyBliss Pro Styler as a flat iron for ethnic hair. No matter what texture or how dense your hair is, BabyBliss will have your hair straight! BabyBliss also brings out your natural shine, and because it is ceramic you will have less chance of burnt hair, giving you maximum movement. Invest in a good blow dryer also to make sure you are getting maximum heat distribution. Another great key to good movement is to blow your hair out with a good brush using the medium heat setting! Not only does using a good brush guarantee great shine, but brushing stimulates growth cells so your hair will grow! It’s a personal preference if you want to use heat protectant before blow drying or after blow drying and before flat ironing (if using product on your hair before flat ironing and after blow drying apply a light amount to guarantee you will not fry your hair). It’s just very important that you use protection on your hair. You can go with the hair milk, grape seed oil, or even a commercially marketed product, just use a heat protectant.
- The Wrap Up
This is the step that will determine how long you get to keep this look. Good night time maintenance is the basis for longevity in almost all hairstyles. I shouldn’t have to say it but make sure you are wrapping your hair with a satin or silk scarf or a bonnet. In general I wrap my hair around my head in a circular mold because this helps to add a little body to my hair when I do the comb down in the morning. Some people put a roller in the middle and wrap the rest of the hair around it. I’ve even seen women who have fairly long hair just pile it on top of their head in a loose pineapple ponytail and wear a bonnet. So there is no wrong technique here, whatever works for you and best preserves the hair is what you should do.
Every naturalista loves to wear her hair differently and we just want to insure your hair is as healthy as possible. Always protect your hair no matter which way you choose to wear your hair, but let’s just remember to take extra good care of our hair any time we apply heat! So again remember these simple rules to achieve an awesome blow out with minimal damage:
- Shampoo and condition with humectants
- Deep condition (at least 15 minutes with heat and 45 minutes without heat)
- Apply the right products; Leave-in conditioner (dime size amount), hair milk (nickel size amount), and oil (dime size amount) *Remember when straightening your hair less is more. Too much product will weigh your hair down leaving you with flat heavy hair!
- Protect your hair from heat
- Use the proper tools! (Ceramic! Ceramic! Ceramic!!!)
- Wrap it up with a silk or satin scarf or bonnet
Using these simple steps should allow you to maintain good moisture and less damage. Dry and brittle hair looks good on NO ONE, and flat heavy blow outs are not flattering! Always wrap your hair every night and try to use the least amount (if none) bobby pins to avoid indentation marks (especially if you have finer hair). Ladies we just want you to look good but also keep your hair healthy! So let’s stay on the straight and narrow, or not! LOL
See Ya later Phatty!