flatiron braid

So, when you flat iron your hair, water is your ene­my, right? The natural’s mot­to is, “Oils and but­ters only! Pre­vent rever­sion!” This was so me until I flat ironed my hair and dis­cov­ered how to use water-based mois­tur­iz­ers.

I’ve tried to do tex­tured styles with my flat ironed hair using oil-based prod­ucts and they were cute…for about five min­utes. The oil on dry hair just didn’t give me enough style and hold, which makes sense, because oils tend to make your hair more flex­i­ble, but with a style, you want to freeze your hair in place. The only oth­er option I had to keep using oils was to use heat tools to style my hair, and I did not want that to be my solu­tion.

Dur­ing one straight ses­sion, I shared my ban­tu knot out on flat ironed hair using a water-based prod­uct, and it was great!! My style held, my hair was still smooth and best of all, I was mois­tur­iz­ing my hair while it was straight! I’ve noticed some dif­fer­ences on the kind of products/methods you can use, so I want­ed to share my tips.

1. Use prod­ucts with thick­er con­sis­ten­cy.

While you want to use a prod­uct that’s water based, you don’t want to use SUPER watery prod­ucts (spray con­di­tion­ers, serums, RO con­di­tion­ers – unless they are super thick and but­tery), as they will wet your hair quick­er and cause it to revert. I think using a thick cream or hair lotion will work just fine – these usu­al­ly con­tain more oils and but­ters with the H2O. For the sake of ref­er­ence, here are some prod­ucts I’ve used on my flat ironed hair with suc­cess:

Darcy’s Botan­i­cals Cocoa Bean Curl Styling Cream

CocoCurls Curly Styling Aid

Cush Cos­met­ics Creme de Palm

Beku­ra Palm Tapi­o­ca Deluxe Hair Cream

2. Use a small amount

Only use a DAB. A. DAB. Like…not even a fin­ger­tip full per sec­tion and no more than a dime amount on your whole head. Some­times I add a wee bit more on my ends for extra hydra­tion because they were often rub­bing on my clothes all day. But do not sat­u­rate your hair with prod­uct.


3. Set your hair imme­di­ate­ly.

Doesn’t mat­ter if it’s braid, bun, ban­tu knot, twist, wrap, etc – just set your hair in some way so it won’t start curl­ing up on itself. Even when I was doing ban­tu knots, I ini­tial­ly applied the prod­uct and split that sec­tion into two, and I could see the hair in the sec­ond sec­tion start to curl up. So, I switched to apply­ing prod­uct to each sec­tion alone and twist­ing it right up before it could begin to curl. When I’m not try­ing a “real” style, I apply a bit of prod­uct to the bot­tom length of my hair only and put it in a low bun for bed. This way, I get a slight­ly tex­tured, tou­sled look. If your hair is short­er and you can’t make a bun, try wrap­ping your hair or putting it in a few buns. The key is to not let the hair stay free to play with the ele­ments.

4. Stay away from glyc­erin!

I don’t just mean in the first five ingre­di­ents, I mean none. Zilch. Zero. Nada. There were a few times that I used prod­ucts that had glyc­erin and with­in an hour my hair had poofed out to a rat­ty, spi­der­web­by, mess. Remem­ber, glyc­erin attracts mois­ture, and that’s not what you want (espe­cial­ly if you live in a humid cli­mate). Some prod­ucts that worked for me con­tain hon­ey, but if your hair reacts with oth­er humec­tants, leave those alone too. For ref­er­ence, prod­ucts that did not work on my flat ironed hair include:

  • Oyin Hon­ey Hemp
  • Herbn­Life Coconut Hemp (which is a pomade but con­tains glyc­erin)
Well, that’s real­ly all I got. Sim­ple right? Live long and mois­tur­ize!

**Note, if your hair is super porous, these tips may not help. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I can’t pre­dict how this would work on hair that is not fair­ly low poros­i­ty and does not accept water eas­i­ly. Also, if your hair reverts quick­ly, you may be apply­ing too much. A DAB!**

Do you use water-based mois­tur­iz­ers on your flat ironed hair?


Elle is the edi­tor and cre­ative direc­tor of the YouTube chan­nel and blog, Quest for the Per­fect Curl at www.questfortheperfectcurl.com. Her chan­nel focus­es on nat­ur­al hair, beau­ty, and fit­ness. She loves prod­ucts that smell like dessert, yoga, and glit­ter. Fol­low her @qftpc.

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