How To Straighten Your Hair - With Or Without Heat

Last updated on : October 28 2020

Girl holding her curly hair

Introduction

Getting your hair to look sleek, straight, gorgeous, and healthy can be challenging for most of us, but it doesn't have to be mission impossible. 

Although no two hair textures are precisely alike, there are various techniques you can try for the straight and healthy hair look you want. 

This article covers how to straighten your hair with a flat iron and a hot blow dryer. However, because these two techniques use heat and potentially damage hair, we critically look at other more natural and heat-free ways to straighten your hair. So you can experiment and find the best solution for you. 

How To Straighten Your Hair With A Flat Iron

Professional hairdressing equipment and flatirons

A flat iron or hair iron, hair tong, or straightener is a household appliance used by curly haired individuals seeking that perfect flat look.

Flat Irons - What Are They And How Do They Work

All flat irons work on the same principle to straighten hair; they use electricity to generate heat directly applied to the hair. 

Most flat irons use a ceramic plate to transfer the heat to the hair. The more expensive models come with multiple layers of pure ceramic materials, while the cheaper ones will come with a single layer and sometimes a metallic surface.

Flat irons usually deliver temperature ranges between 150 and 450 degrees; the average high setting is around 300 to 350 degrees. 

To be sure, always check your hair type before using a flat iron. Also, remember that the high temperatures advertised do not mean the device is suitable. It just means that you can burn your hair if you overheat it. Check out tip number six below.

Other types of irons include curling irons for making hair curly and crimping irons that create crimps in your hair.  

How To Get Perfect Straight Hair With A Flat Iron

Now let's look at how to get the best straight hair for the perfect straight hair day.

Step 1 - Preparation is Key

Before starting any flat iron process, you have to prep your hair by shampooing it with straight hair shampoo, not your regular shampoo and conditioner. 

Straight hair shampoo doesn't make your hair straight. It only prep's it for the flat iron.

Step 2 - Use Hair Heat Protectant

Hair is organic. It's part of your body, even if you don't feel it. Hair will burn at higher temperatures, and you need to protect it from the flat iron heat. 

You do this by either spraying on a heat protectant or massaging it into your scalp when using a heat protectant lotion. 

There are many types you can use. We suggest the L'Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT spray because it protects both damp and dry hair up to a temperature of 450 degrees.

Step 3 - Dry Hair Only

Never use a hot flat iron on wet or damp hair. 

Wet or damp hair is at its most fragile state. It is not an item of clothing you iron when damp to get a perfect result. Your hair must be dry. 

Blow-dry it after you finish your shampoo, and make sure it is dry before starting the flat iron straightening process. 

Also, make sure you apply that heat protectant after you dry it, as mentioned in tip number 2 above.

Step 4 - Divide and Segment Hair

It is best to layer your hair, starting by straightening the lower section first. 

You do this by separating the upper hair layer with a clip and ironing the lower layer first. 

Release hair from the clip as you progress upwards.

Step 5 - Choose The Right Iron Size

Choose a flat iron size that matches the length of your hair. The standard 1-inch wide flat iron surface is perfect for medium length hair. 

You will need either a thinner one for short hair or a wider one for longer hair.

Step 6 - Never Overheat

Heating your hair with a flat iron is a patient process. You cannot speed it up by spiking up the heat. 

If you overheat your iron, you will damage your hair. Remember, it's organic, which means it burns at a low temperature. 

You can experiment from lower to medium temperatures to find the best result, but never try to speed up the process with added heat.

Make sure the temperature is set correctly for your hair. 

Iron normal hair between 300-380 and thick, coarse or extra curly hair at 350-400 degrees. 

However, some delicate hair cannot tolerate over 270 degrees, so check your level and never go above it.

Step 7 - Proceed Slowly but Surely

By taking your time and making each pass perfect, you assure an ideal straight hair result. Do not do multiple passes. 

As you pull the iron through your hair, you allow the heat to remove the twists and curls in a single swipe. A second pull through might still be ok, but no more than that. 

Over swiping will damage your hair. The golden rule is: one pass is good, two is perfect, three is dead.

Step 8 - Create Volume

Straight hair does not mean flat hair. 

You can reach a fuller straight hair look by taking the top layer of hair and pulling it through the iron vertically or at 90- degrees from your scalp. 

Do this by pulling the section of hair on your head up towards the ceiling. That's all, simple, and this creates a volume full straight hair look.

Step 9 - Incorporate Waves

Make waves with your flat iron too. 

When you want a little extra styling with your straight hair look, consider adding shape and body. 

Create a wave by turning the iron away from your face and gently pulling your hair over the straightener.

Step 10 - Use A Finishing Serum

When you have completed the process, and your hair is now flat and straight or voluminous and straight, add a hair serum to protect it from moisture and tame any frizzles or flyaway dry hair. 

There are many hair serum products on the market. We prefer Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Relax Serum. Apply the serum to create a perfect and protected silky sheen look.

Step 11 - Maintenance Is A Must

Your flat iron is a device like any other, so be sure to maintain it properly. 

If you neglect your iron, it will ignore you in return. 

Maintaining it means, as a minimum, cleaning it after every use. Just wipe it down with an alcohol wipe, and clean out the nooks and crannies of any grime. 

When you put it away, wrap the cable, don't scrunch it up.

Step 12 - Cold Storage

Always allow your iron to cool down before cleaning it and storing it.

Never store a hot iron because it can melt nearby plastics and soft materials.

Watch The Video - Do's And Don'ts When Using A Flat Iron


Our Four Best Irons

It's time to look at some of the better flat irons on the market. 

We picked out a suitable range of reliable products that deliver both heat maintenance and reliability and longevity. 

It's not a complete list by far. It focuses on brands, such as GHD, BaByliss, LumaBella, and Kipozi, four of the best affordable names on the market today.

GHD Gold Professional 2 Inch - Straightener Flat Iron

If you have long hair and need an extra-wide flat iron, this 2-inch professional model provides you with excellent results. 

The model comes with a spring hinge that gives you total control over the process, which helps, especially with long hair needing extra time. So any help you can get, take. 

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated Ultra-Thin Straightening Iron

If its quality and durability in a slim and sleek package, then the 1½-inch titanium-plated BaBylissPRO is the way to go. 

It's an exceptionally well designed and middle-range iron in an ultra-thin model that fits perfectly in even the smallest of hands but delivers a perfectly controlled performance.

LumaBella Keratin Dual Touch Hair Straightener

The LumaBella is a ceramic plate iron infused with a Keratin formula that helps protect your hair. 

I don't know how long the keratin remains active in this device, but it sounds so scientific, and when I tried it out, it did provide excellent results.

KIPOZI Pro Nano Titanium Flat Iron Hair Straightener with Digital LCD Display

If it's a tight budget you have but don't want to impact quality, then the Kipozi is a very budget-friendly model and comes with an LCD digital display that helps you set the temperature range. 

It takes only 30 seconds to heat up, and you get a 1.75-inch-wide iron for longer hair. The price is what makes this even more of a winner.

How To Straighten Hair With A Blow Dryer

Girl blow drying her hair

Straightening hair with a blow dryer is possibly the easiest way to straighten your hair. 

We cover the process in the following seven steps.  

Step 1 - Prep Your Hair

To start, shampoo and condition your hair and pat it dry with a towel. Then detangle your hair with a brush. Use a broad bristle brush to avoid pulling on your hair too much and damaging it. Lastly, apply heat protectant spray to your hair, and if you want, also experiment with a straightening balm. 

For the following steps, if you've taken a hot shower, either wait for the steam to clear or go to another room to blow dry your hair. Trying to blow dry hair in humid conditions, like a steamed-up bathroom, can cause it to hold onto frizz and make it difficult to tame. 

Step 2 - Select An Appropriate Blow Dryer

Your blow dryer choice must have enough power plus a range of heat and cold settings. Also, use a nozzle that focuses the air stream in a thin but broad blow.  

Step 3 - Clear Away Excess Moisture

For this step, use the dryer and the fingers of your free hand to clear away excess moisture from your hair. If you want extra volume, you can do this while holding your head upside down, allowing your hair to fall while blow drying it. 

Step 4 - Divide Up Your Hair

Section away the top of your hair and pin it out so you can dry the bottom layers first. 

Step 5 - Start Straightening

You want to straighten from the lower layers of your hair to the top layers for this step. Keep each section small enough to fit neatly on your brush. 

Use a round brush or a medium-sized paddle brush with holes as you tackle each section by itself. Using the brush, draw the hair from root to tip while drying with the blow dryer.  

There are a few techniques you can use here. 

While using the blow dryer, try a healthy twist of the brush at the hair's root, then draw it down and twist again at the tips. Or you can wrap the hair around the brush entirely at the root end, then slide it down like this to the end of the hair. This latter technique will give your hair a bit more volume. 

While using the blow dryer, keep the hair moist by spritzing it with water if any section dries out too much.  

Step 6 - Seal With Cold Air

When you've finished the previous step, and your hair is straight, then seal it with a cold blow of the dryer for a few seconds, brushing out with your free hand.

If there are some sections you're not entirely happy with, use your flat iron to get the finish you want. 

Step 7 - Nourish And Moisturize

Lastly, apply serum or oil to your hair's tips to provide nourishment and moisture after the heat treatment. 

Watch The Video - How To Straighten Your Hair With A Blow Dryer


How To Straighten Hair Naturally And Without Heat

Using hot styling tools to straighten hair strips your hair of moisture, causing breakage. Over time, blow-dryers, ceramic straighteners, and hot curling irons can cause damage and make your hair look dry and coarse. 

However, there are tricks you can try to get straight hair without frying or burning your hair with heat. Most of these techniques will work better for people with more delicate hair that carries a bit of a wave. However, experiment with them, even if you have thick curly hair. 

Here are five techniques you can use to straighten hair without heat. 

Technique 1 - Blow Dry With Cold Air 

To start, after a fresh wash, let your hair air dry about half to three quarters or pat it dry with a thick absorbent towel. Then ensure you have it completely detangled (to avoid snapping the strands) and divide it into rough inch like sections.

For each divided section, use the blow dryer with a brush or brush attachment from root to tip in continuous motions. Ensure you set the dryer to cool with a hard enough wind blow to dry the hair section while keeping it in check. 

If necessary, you might need to spray your hair with water again and repeat until you've removed the curl from the section you are drying. For this, you want to make the hair slightly damp. Keep repeating this process until you get the desired result.

If your hair is very thick and curly, you try adding a straightening serum or spray-on leave-in conditioner to tame the last few strands.    

This technique is an alternative to using the hot setting on the dryer (see above). If it truly isn't working, try a warm but not hot temperature to see if it makes any difference. 

Technique 2 -  Wrap Your Hair

Although you can wrap your hair to straighten it, use this technique instead to make your already straightened hair last for as long as possible, without having to reapply heat. 

The process involves using a fine-toothed comb to comb your hair out flat and taut, to the opposite side of your head to where it naturally falls. Then pin it tightly using bobby pins, and finally wrapping it in a hair turban before sleeping at night. When done correctly, your wrapped hair is stretched out at night, not allowing it to pick up its curliness again. 

A few things to watch out for, try not to comb your hair over your forehead because any product you have in it could cause acne. And when removing the bobby pins in the morning, try to undo from the layer you did last to avoid entanglement. 

Lastly, when completely unwrapped and all the bobby pins removed, brush with a broad tooth anti-static brush to remove any tangles and spray with a light oil spray to replenish moisture and provide sheen. 

Watch The Video - How To Wrap Your Hair


Technique 3 - Use Tension Rollers

You can use tension rollers to remove a lot of curl from curly hair without heat - If you want, you can then use a flat iron to straighten more completely. This process is better than going directly to the flat iron as it reduces the amount of heat needed to straighten your hair. 

To use tension rollers, first, wash and moisturize your hair, and when still wet, roll it tightly in broad tension rollers. 

Leave the rollers in until your hair dries naturally. You can do this overnight or for a few hours during the day. When your hair is dry, remove the tension rollers and brush out your hair.  

Technique 4 - Try A Natural Hair Mask

A hair mask is a deep conditioning treatment that helps to heal damaged hair. Hair masks contain rich ingredients such as natural oils and lipids, in more massive concentrations than regular conditioners. You leave a hair mask in for an extended period, three minutes to overnight. 

Use the following mask to straighten your hair. Apply it twice a week for two months to relax and straighten your hair: 

Mask 1 - One cup coconut milk, 5-6 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp cornstarch. Heat at low temperature and stir until smooth. Cool, then apply to hair.

Try the following two masks to nourish and revitalize your hair. They won't necessarily help with straightening but will add vitality and a healthy sheen. 

Mask 2 - Milk and honey mask. Mix 1 cup of whole milk or coconut milk with 1 tbsp of honey and let it soak into your hair and scalp for one hour before washing out.

Mask 3 - Milk and an egg mask. Mix 2 cups of milk with one egg. Soak your hair in it for 10 minutes, then squeeze out, don't rinse, and wrap with a plastic cover for another 30 minutes. Wash out and brush dry.

Technique 5 - Try Hair Straightening Products

Hair straightening products include creams or sprays containing silicone, keratin, shea butter, or glycerin. These products help smooth hair, reduce frizz and flyaways - and leave your hair soft and shiny. 

Some require heat, however, you can also use them as a heat protectant to cut your heat styling time in half.

So, instead of risking damage to your hair with excessive heat, make it easier by using a hair straightening product. 

Here are a few of the best:

TIGI Bed Head Straightening Cream

Try out this hair-straightening cream. It has hydrating glycerin and smoothing polymers that keep your hair straight for hours. 

Keratin Complex Infusion Therapy

This at-home hair straightening cream with keratin works just as well as the ones in the salon. Work it into towel-dried hair and then cold blow-dry. The result should be silky smooth, straight hair. 

Suave Professionals Anti-Frizz Cream

While this hair-straightening cream will make sure that your hair .actually lies down flat, it won't leave it feeling heavy or stiff. It's lightweight and packed with silk protein and vitamin E to keep your hair moisturized and flyaways in check. 

L'anza Healing Smooth Smoother Straightening Balm

Not only will this hair-straightening product condition your hair (shoutout to the organic coix-seed extract and shea butter in the balm-like formula), but it'll also protect it from heat damage 

Bumble and bumble Bb. Straight Blow Dry Cream

Have naturally curly hair? This hair-straightening product is for you. All you have to do is massage it into damp hair, blow-dry section by section, and then finish it off with a flat iron. The result? Pin-straight hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the questions most frequently asked by our readers. 

What causes your hair to curl?

Your genetics, your hairstyle, the products you use, and even how long your hair is are factors that might give you curly hair. However, at its core, positive hydrogen bonds in the hairs cortex cause hair to curl. 

When you apply heat, you break down these hydrogen bonds, and the result is straight hair. However, when a new hydrogen source comes in contact with your hair, it will curl again. 

Water contains hydrogen, and water makes up humidity, steam, and is in the rain. The presence of water is why your natural curls often return when your hair gets wet or damp. 

Can I damage my hair with too much heat?

Using too much heat or too often can damage your hair, and this damage is permanent. High or excessive heat can permanently break the S-S or disulfide bonds within hair strands that give hair its strength along with protein cross-links. 

Remember, as you try the heat straightening techniques we discuss, it's better to prevent heat damage because you cannot repair it.  

Conclusion

Follow and experiment with the tips above to enjoy perfect straight hair days every time. Try to avoid too much heat to prevent damage to your hair. 

If these tricks don't work for you or are concerned, speak to a professional hair-stylist about hairstyles and salon treatments that will give you a sleek look without heat damage.

Lastly, you may want to rock your natural curls once in a while and embrace how your hair grows because curly, natural hair has a distinct beauty that everyone appreciates.  

Read more: The Secret To Beautiful Hair Extensions

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