By Akilah of ItsAkilahObviously.com

I like wearing my hair straight everyone once in a while. I straighten it 4 times a year at most, and it really switches up how I have to treat my hair and helps me see how much it’s grown. It’s super simple. You can do it in just 3 easy steps (that might take 3-4 hours):

Step 1: Wash and Condition

After washing your hair, properly moisturizing with whatever you like. I used Shea Moisture Curl and Style Conditioning Milk (a tiny bit because the smell gets overwhelming) and let it dry on my hair. I then detangled and sectioned my hair into 10-12 little buns with hair-ties. This makes blow drying way easier because you can just go from ponytail to ponytail and really make sure the hair is dry.

Step 2: Blow-dry hair.

I use medium heat because I don’t like it when my hair gets crunchy or smells like burning bacon. Do one ponytail at a time, making sure it’s fully dry. Because my hair is so coily, I know it isn’t dry if there’s a particularly kinky piece. Remember, the objective is not to get your hair super straight, but to get it super dry.

Step 3: Flat Iron your hair.

I suggest investing in a really good flat iron if you want to do this on a semi-regular basis. I use the Paul Mitchell flat iron (the one with the green parts) to flatten out the hair. It runs about $125, but I’ve had it for like 5 years, and it is still going strong.

Make sure to apply a heat protecting spray, and only do sections as wide as the flat iron. Don’t get discouraged if you have to blow dry some parts again to make sure they’re dry enough to be flat ironed.

The most important part of maintaining straightened natural hair is moisturizing really well. You will end up with loads of breakage if you don’t moisturize. I suggest braiding straightened hair at night, or at least wrapping tightly with a leave in conditioner!

Ladies, what is your flat ironing technique?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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57 Comments on "How to Flat Iron Natural Hair in 3 Easy Steps"

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Tina

What type of mosturizer would you suggest using on straightened natural hair?

Jennifer

My hair does this look just with the blow dry… I need help figuring out my hair type…

Evy

The most important part of maintaining straightened natural hair is moisturizing really well.and the steps you provide of the straightening hair is great.

Lisa

seems very easy and great, is Paul Mitchell flat iron is more effective, there are so many other products with added features then this ?

Angel Christian

Very good step about how to flat iron natural hair.Thanks for the giving 3 easy steps.

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[…] You can find the English version here:   http://blackgirllonghair.com/2012/09/how-to-flat-iron-natural-hair-in-3-easy-steps/ […]

me

What kind of heat protecting spray do you use? I have one but it makes my hair sticky???

deanna

love your hair , and just wanted to say I LOVE your tumblr. i’ve actually seen your page quite a few times.

Shaikela

Hi u did but get a little more straighter
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Carmen

Does it matter what kind of blow dryer you use? Because I know when I’ve gotten it straightened in a salon it was pretty straight once they finished blow drying. When I do it at home, it still pretty fluffy after blow drying and I have pretty fine/thin hair.

Felicia

I have a similar question that had been posted. How do you moisturized your hair on e it’s straight? Like what should you put on it daily? I was thinking a water based product will make it kinky

Get straight hair

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Carmen

Why the many negatives or thumb downs? It looks like the person is a non English speaker, and used the online translators which do not translate appropriately because direct translations usually come out sounding funny due to the placement of words within a sentence. Be nice! Just because you don’t understand something don’t be quick to write it off.

Melissa

Great tutorial! I mostly use some pro naturals moroccan argan oil on my co-washed hair before straightening and it leaves my hair super sleek and soft.

Kamilah

So, I am confused about the maintenance of straight hair. Like, I get that it should be moisturised. But wouldn’t the water in a leave in revert it?

patricia

i use oils like vatika oil or sweet almond oil about twice a week to moisturize my hair.

MzKane

Good article! I would like to wear my hair straight from time to time, but I do not want a relaxer. For me, it’s not about being mainstream, it’s about looking like I used to look with straight hair. But I don’t think I could do a relaxer. I like my hair big. And my hair likes to be big. I can blow it out, but it resists the flat iron. Lol.

Beverly
I straighten my hair often and just wanted to offer a few tips 1. The dryer you use is just as important as the the flat iron you use. The straighter you can get it the easier it will be to flat iron 2. As others have stated use the least amount of product possible. The more you use the heavier your hair will be. I like the chi serum and I use their thermal polishing spray as well. 3. Flat iron super thin pieces. It takes longer but you won’t have to go over the piece more than two… Read more »
Jo Somebody

Came here to say, what a pretty young lady! I don’t straighten, but I enjoyed your photos. Call me crazy, but I really like your hair in Step 1! Lol!

Mary in Md
I straightened/flat-ironed my hair for years. I had the same reaction as many of the previous commenters to the final result. I’m not trying to be critical. But, the thought I had was you can get the final result show in this post with less heat. If you braid your hair and do a blow out. So why flat iron and run the added risk of heat damage. That’s my thought. Also, I always tried to avoid more than one heat session. I would recommend just flat-ironing in small sections after stretching the hair with braid or some other non-heat… Read more »
anon

is it time to rename this site natural girl straight hair? there’s been a lot of love for the flat iron in recent posts. these styling tips are obviously useful to lots of people but i think it’s interesting that ‘mainstream’ beauty is so dominant on this forum.

Liv

She’s lovely!!! Such healthy hair.

I actually straightened my hair yesterday morning. Used my handy dandy maxiglide, love it. Washed & conditioned my hair, put some grapeseed oil on my wet hair then did 5 jumbo two strand twists used the hair serum that came with the maxiglide and blow dried each section….then put some cactus flower oil on my hair and proceeded with the maxiglide, pin-curled each section and that’s it.

Sue
I have never used a flat iron but these are the steps I use when blow drying. Typically, I put the hair in braids overnight and by morning it’s stretched out. I make sure it’s moisturised, spray some water and apply shea butter before blowdrying using the tension method. I have found that some salons can achieve the sleek straight look WITHOUT a flat-iron—they have really hot blow dryers! If that’s your thing go for it. Of course using a heat protectant is key of course although you could still have damage at high temps. I typically prefer the puffier… Read more »
Aiych
She’s really pretty! Also this is typically how my hair looks after flat ironing, but I usually bantu knot it or something because bone straight isn’t my favorite in the first place. For something sleeker (?) you might want to opt for a hot comb + flat iron combo and some good heat protectant lol. Even though she does not blog anymore, Mop Top Maven’s website has some pretty fantastic tips for pressing, her hair was always very healthy looking too. To be honest I prefer the slightly puffy hair. I can get the same look with a blowdryer HOWEVER… Read more »
LBell
Like JenniD, I’m pretty militant when it comes to this topic but since that militancy applies only to ME and MY hair and also because I wasn’t always a militant I thought I’d comment in the spirit of sisterhood too. 🙂 I co-sign a lot of the major points but especially these: – Using no product at all or very little product especially when it comes to fine-haired folks. It seems counterintuitive but it kinda works. Also, if you’re fine-haired and using a serum, use a TEENY TINY bit. – Using the right amount of heat. I’d rather go over… Read more »
Anne

I use the full Garnier Fructis sllek and shine collection. Its made to straighten hair. I use the conditioner,leave in conditioner,blow dry cream, flat iron spray, and the serum. It work great. I have very thick hair 3c, 4a.

ta ney-ney

1.i start at least a week before by moisturizing my hair and doing deep conditioning treatment. 2. cowash or shampoo leaving a little bit of conditioner in the hair 3. add leave-in conditioner to soaking wet hair. 4 add a heat protectant serum/ straightening creme/ keratin infused cream 5. section hair into 4 squares 6. blow dry on high heat for a quick minute 7. preheat the flat iron and check for heat. 8. apply flat iron with one to two passes in each small/thin section

With this approach i achieve “perm-like” straightness to my hair!
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LaVette
I flat iron my hair a couple times a year also. Last week was the most amazing experience. I conditioned it then sectioned it in 4. Put a bit of Argan oil on each section. Then I used Kinky Kurly’s Knot Today and brushed it in section by section with my denman. I then let it air dry overnight. I noticed it dried evenly since I put a lot more KKKT in than normal and I brushed it through. By the time I was ready to flat iron, it took me only 20 minutes to straighten my BSL hair. I… Read more »
JenniD

That’s another good tip! Air drying your hair and stretching your hair results in better straightening plus you don’t get a double heat whammy with the blow dryer and flat iron.

LaVette

Yeh, it worked really well. That blow drying is just a chore anyway!

JenniD
As a natural who is pretty militant when it comes to straightening my hair I will how ever in the spirit of sisterhood share some tips because I use to be the hot comb queen back in the day lol. From the pictures and the text written she appears to not want to damage her hair, hence the use of medium heat and a poofy look. In my opinion this is good enough depending on what style you are going for. But If you are going for a more sleek straight look you’ll need to use a higher heat and… Read more »
Jo

Very good tips by the way.

My comes out similar also as it’s very thick and there no layers cut in it so it has a block look.We have to be realistic with our outcomes as afro is thicker and will put up a fight unless damage is the aim.tue Youtube he many vireos on this topic Sunshower143 and Simplyounique to a few.

My tips is :
Day1
*pre-poo hair treatment/wash n condition/apply leave ins
*airdry my hair and braid overnight to keep more moisture
Day2
*blow dry hair using the tension method
*flat iron on Medium heat using comb chasing method

Jo

*excuse my typos

cosmostoomuch

I just have to say that I love these photos! They have so much personality and are so pretty.

Akilah

ahhhh thank you!

df

um, she is GORGEOUS.

Akilah

awwww, thank you!

hmm mmm

yup stunning

meowmix

Co-sign:)

J.Nicole

I flat ironed my hair about 3 or 4 weeks ago for the first time in the 2+ years I’ve been free of chemicals. I used similar steps except using a bunch of ponytails. I’ll try that next time (whenever that may be…. prob no time soon). I also don’t like the “too straight” look. I feel like I have to go extra hard to prove it isn’t a perm lol. Plus, I find that when it isn’t too straight I have more flexibility and don’t go through the shock of not having my curls during that interval…

Angela

OMG I sooo need this! On the weekend I decide to straighten my hair. I spent several hours (starting at 5pm) blow-combing and flat-ironing. 5 hours later when I decide to give up, I still had an afro. Only difference was that the hair felt much dryer than when I started. Chups.

Akilah

Right? When I use the Chi hair protectant, it usually makes my hair super straight, too! I would say before I started using the sweet flat iron and partitioning my hair, I would always be discouraged at my hair’s ability to lay down, but this helped!

xo
Akilah

Kesha
I agree… I had a white stylist in small town Oklahoma (i’m in the military and that’s were i was at the time lol) just deep condition apply a small amount of Chi heat protectant (less than a dime size in her hand and rubbed through my hair) then blow dry and flat iron… then follow up with a light oil mist. My hair was soft and frizz free with no heat damage! I find the more or the heavier the product the more frizzy/ burnt fried chicken smell i get when straightening… I only do this 1-2x per year… Read more »
Ally

I thought the image of Step 3 was her hair actually blow dryed. I don’t mean to be negative or anything, she is obviously free of straightening her hair the way she wants to, but if this is going to be the final result I don’t see the purpose of even flat ironing her hair.

Lynn

Well I’m gonna be kind of negative and say why oh why go through all that work just for your hair to only look blow dryed in the end? If I’m gonna flat iron my hair it’s gonna be laid!

Brianna

I agree. I know people don’t always flat iron to get straight hair. I know I don’t. I wonder if you braided your damp hair, let it dry, then blowdried; maybe you’d get the same results without flat ironing? Your hair looks beautiful regardless.

Tyler

Yeah, I definitely agree. For me the point of flat ironing is to achieve a straight look. Otherwise I can just braid my hair and comb it out or blow dry it for basically the same look that’s in this final step.

Jessica

lol. That’s what I thought. I was like “Where is the final result!?” She’s pretty thought.

Akilah

Good feedback! I guess we all sort of have different ideal outcomes when we do our hair, right? I don’t like it when my hair looks really straight because it looks really fake to me. Just personally, I think it makes it look like a weave. I usually just do this if I want a really powerful top-knot or wavier hair after I do a braid out.

xo
Akilah

Lele

I hate flat ironing my hair because after I finish, it usually looks just like it did when I blew it out with the hair dryer, and I’m like “FOUR HOURS OF TIRED ARMS FOR THIS?? I COULD HAVE JUST GAVE MYSELF A DARN BLOW-OUT!” and I have good flat irons, too.

I’ve tried at least 3 different methods with all different products, and always the same results. I am never looking for a bone straight result, either.

Akilah

Yeah! I actually like mine a bit puffier because when I used to relax, I found my hair made my head look too big. It was awful. Did you make sure your hair was really dry? That’s like the worst advice for natural hair upkeep, but great for flat ironing.

If you’ve done those things, maybe God just thinks your fro is too fierce to flatten! xo
-Akilah

Lele

Too fierce to flatten? I like that! lol

I do make sure my hair is super dry, so I don’t know what the problem is. Well, I guess there isn’t really a “problem”, but maybe my hair is just telling me to stop trying to defy it.

Stace
You might be putting too much product (moisturizer) into your hair before you flatiron. I had this experience and my hair is actually relaxed. I found that when I applied a leave in and then my moisturizer that my hair wouldn’t flat iron straight. It would just frizz back up like how it was when I blew it out. I don’t like to pass the flat iron more than once or twice over any section of hair. After going to the salon once for them to cut my hair, the stylist actually didn’t apply any product after the shampoo and… Read more »
Lele
It could be the product because I notice that back when I was going to the salon on a bi-weekly basis, my stylist would use so little product. All she’d do was deep condition under the dryer, Blow dry, spray what I believe was heat protectant, flat iron, and then spray with oil. The problem is that it damaged my hair and made it dry as hell, and I couldn’t put any water-based product in it or it would poof up. Oh, and before she actually flat ironed it, she’d have to use the pressing comb, too (my hair was… Read more »
Stace

“clean” as in product free

Danielle

1. I wash and condition then let my hair air dry in out 8 braids. I find that streching my hair lessens the time with the blow dryer and sometimes, I don’t need the flat iron afterwards. I use a heat protectant/straightening serum prior to braiding.

2. Starting from the back of my head, I blow-dry with a round brush in small sections.

That’s it. Sometimes on day 3 or 4 I use flexirods if my hair gets a little frizzy or flat iron.

My blow-dryer and flat iron are both Hot Tools, the helix series

Akilah

That braid idea is amazing. I need to try it next time, because I really did take a long time to do it, and it didn’t turn out as good as when i go for it the next day after letting it dry!

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