How to Safely Straighten Natural Hair

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By Cipriana of UrbanBushBabes.com

If you have read any of my previous articles you know how I feel about heat. I am not against the use of heat, many naturals use heat successfully for easier detangling sessions or just to get a new look.

Unfortunately going to a salon for a flat iron or a press can be an epic fail since most of these businesses are on a time crunch to make room for more clients, and use higher amounts of heat for faster results.

But unless a salons is burning incense, you should never smell something burning in the air ladies. And just because a salon sells itself as specifically catering to natural hair you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions about what temperature settings they use for YOUR hair (a safe temperature will vary depending on the condition, texture, strand thickness, density and porosity), products, quality of tools, etc.

Now if you are trying to nurse your strands to health or gain more length I campaign for no heat because people’s idea of minimum heat varies. In my personal opinion minimum heat use is, at most, once a month, using the lowest setting on heated tool or appliances as possible. But if you know how to use heat on your own hair in a healthy way then anything above that is your own prerogative! (I’m not an anti-heat fanatic but I do love to see women’s hair flourish to whatever hair goals they’ve set). These 12 tips are dedicated to the ladies who prefer a little heat in the kitchen!

1. Try placing your hair in a non-heat stretched style such as braids the night before you are planning to straighten or blow-dry your hair. Then take them down in the morning. This will make your straightening process much easier, and require less heat, since your strands will be semi straight.

2. I know you may love your beloved heat tools, but as a precaution I would suggest discarding most tools after 5-6 years. The temperature setting or gauge is more likely to work incorrectly with age and you may not notice the change until it is too late.

3. Make sure you apply thermal protector on clean hair. Hair that is full of product can change the effects of the thermal protector, and diminish the coverage and protection for your strands.

4. If you are not trying to achieve bone straight hair and are straightening to ease your detangling efforts, skip the usage of heat on your ends. The years I did use heat I would stop about 3-4 inches above my ends and dry stretch the ends with braids or bantu knots. Your ends are the weakest part of your hair (because they are the oldest) so avoid exposing them to heat to reduce the risk of split ends.

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31 thoughts on “How to Safely Straighten Natural Hair

  1. Ok . . . I’ve only used heat on my hair twice since going natural since 94, mainly because it was short. 4 months ago I washed and deep conditioned it and went to the salon to with lots of Giavonni Leave in conditioner in my hair and let the girl who has been cutting my hair for 6 years blow dry it. She used a round bush with an attachment on the blow dryer; this was done in small sections. My hair was very straight following this. I’m sure there was probably some hair loss but I don’t think it was much. My hair straighten pretty easy. I have a lot of shrinkage if I let my my hair dry (wash-n-go) so I was a little surprised. I didn’t have any additional heat on my hair since I was only doing this to get a good trim. After I watched her do this I will be doing it myself from now on then going back to her just for the trim. Once I got the trim, I went back to the sink to have her wet it so it would curl up and I added my leave in. The people in the salon were trippin . . . LOL I just recently did a 2-strand twist after a wash then sat under the dryer for about 25 min to dry it; had the dryer on high then switch to medium.

    I would love to straighten without the blow dryer but when I twist it after a wash it’s still very coily/curly? I’ve never tried curl formers or a roller set? I don’t think my hair will smooth that easily on rollers? I only know the rollers from back in the day with the long bobby pins? I just don’t want to go to the salon and have her combing thru my hair and it’s not a smooth comb for the trim. This was the first time she has cut my hair straight. She knows how to cut it curly with a spritz bottle for easy combing; she knows to clip very little.

    Open for suggestions, it’s about time for my 4 1/2 month trim. I could go longer but I like a shape to my hair since I wear it out a lot ( long on top shorter underneath and at the nape; kinda a bob cut)

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  2. If you want to straighten hair then you have to do it at your home by your self.and its very easy and natural tips that make your hair perfect straight.

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