From Straight to Not-So-MuchLook, we all do it when we know we shouldn’t. One of my best friends a few weeks ago told me that she wanted to straighten her hair. At first, I’m not overthinking it too much. Her hair looks terrific straightened, so I said: “Go for it, sis!” A couple of days go by, and she starts telling me about who she has straightened her hair and then it hits me. “Wait, don’t do it!” See, both of us are natural, and both of our hair tends to do what it likes whenever it wants to. I start explaining why it isn’t a good idea to straighten her hair right now because the weather and humidity will potentially make her hairstyle last no longer than a few days. Primarily because at this time she had a job where she walked outside sometimes. It turns out she couldn’t resist the look and feel of straightened hair, so she goes and does it anyway. As I figured, it was a bad idea. Next time I saw her, I didn’t even get a chance to see what it first looked like out of the salon chair.
Keep Calm and Press On!This talk isn’t me trying to convince you not to straighten your hair in the summertime, but it’s to warn you that you must take extra precaution when doing so. Don’t take this lightly! There are ways to contain the mane in the summertime, but you have to do your research. But, a better approach is to keep reading this article. Every natural knows that the winter time is straight hair season. But, if you can’t resist, then I’m sure you’d instead rock it no matter what the season is. Preserving straight hair during the summertime is not always easy. You have to fight humidity, sweat, rain, and intense heat. Being in the southern states don’t help with this case either. However, there are ways to fight the elements and preserve your hair for weeks with the right tools and tricks. If you are trying to get the most out of your flat-ironed hair and extend the length of time it is straight; then these tips may help. It’s worth a shot, right?
When You Want To Straighten Your Hair, Make Sure You…
Work With a ProfessionalThis trick is the one thing my best friend probably did right when she decided to straighten her hair. One of the most important things to consider for your next flat ironing session is seeing a professional hair stylist. Of course, the challenge of finding one that you can trust to handle your hair correctly will be a bit difficult. However, the results of your flat-ironed hair will be a lot better if done professionally. If you cannot afford to go to a salon or have trouble finding a stylist you trust, then the next best option would be to invest in an excellent professional flat iron. If you don’t know how to straighten your hair correctly and you can’t afford a salon, find a trusted friend who wouldn’t let you down!
Set Realistic ExpectationsThis part is one of the more disappointing realities of straightening your hair during the warmer and more humid months. If you live in a hot area and expect bone straight hair for two weeks, you will be frustrated and could potentially damage your hair with the extra exposure to heat. If you don’t mind your hair being less straight with more texture, maybe you can opt for flexi rods. Flexi rods can be a treat for your hair as it starts to frizz as well. You will love the straight hair in the summer and fall if you can accept this idea. Some of us have this “itch” to straighten our hair, and it comes and the most inconvenient times. Living in a state where summer, fall, and even spring months can get extremely hot and humid, wintertime provides the best weather for helping to maintain straight hair. The winter time means that you will do less sweating. The less you sweat, the slower the reversion. If you prefer bone straight hair, then you should wait until the colder months to arrive to pull out your flat iron. Don’t even waste your time.
Purchase Some Flexi RodsLet’s talk a little more about flexi rods! Flexi rods are one of my favorite ways to add curls and body to straight hair. They will keep your hair stretched, allow you to switch up your styles, and help keep you from getting bored with your hair for however long you choose to keep it straight. Plus, the best thing about flexi rods is that depending on how many you use and what size, you can create anything from loose, beachy waves to springy, Shirley Temple curls. You can also opt to comb the kinks out with a wide tooth comb for a beautiful glow that is sure to impress. They will not make your hair bone straight, but they can do so much that you won’t even miss having it!
Avoid Days of High HumidityThis trick pretty much sounds next to impossible, especially if you live in the warmer states where heat and humidity is a given, but it’s achievable. Moisture is the main reason straightened natural hair reverts quickly. So to keep this from happening, you can use a shower cap when taking showers, use an umbrella on rainy days, and while doing workouts, you can lower the intensity to minimize sweating. You can also use a sweatband to keep your edges flat. Make sure you allow your hair to dry before taking off the band altogether. If you’re at the beach, pin up your locks. Be proactive in this quest. Before you pull out the flat iron, check the humidity for the week. On humid days, the moisture in the air can plump up your strands and cause them to revert to their original curl pattern. Remember that humidity can be unusually high in the summer morning hours. Pay attention to the weather before you pull out your flat iron because you might have no chance of keeping your hair straight in humidity once it passes a certain point.
Stay Away From Too Much ProductThis trick may be a given, but some naturals need to be reminded to put down the excess oils and creams. In its natural kinky/coily state, type 4 hair requires lots of moisture, lotions, oils, etc. So, it’s understandable why you’d think it would need the same attention in its straightened state. However, applying these heavy oils and creams to your straightened hair will only weigh it down and decrease the length of time your hair remains straight. Instead of heavy products, try a light oil such as grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil. Apply a dime-sized amount of product to your hair daily to help prevent dryness without weighing down your hair. If your hair is still standing by the end of the day or has only frizzed up a little bit, all you probably need to do is apply a little oil and wrap it for the night. A tight wrap will help tame a small amount of frizz. Plus, it’s the quickest, easiest way to set straight hair at night. Use a silk or satin scarf, so that your cotton pillows won’t pull the oils out of your hair. You could wake up to dry, brittle hair. Who wants that?
Use a Heat Protectant/Anti-Frizz SerumInvest in a quality heat protectant spray or oil. Using a heat protectant can create a barrier as you use high temperatures on your hair. It will get your hair straight without putting too much heat on your strands and putting yourself at risk for heat damage. Using an anti-frizz serum can create a barrier from the moisture in the air. Yes, the atmosphere can be dangerous! Most heat protectants and anti-frizz serums use silicones as a protective barrier, which can be harmful to your strands if you use it too often. On a daily basis, I prefer to use coconut oil as my protective barrier. Use it to set your hair at night at wake up to sleek and frizz free hair!
Pay Attention When Sleeping With Flat Ironed HairI briefly mentioned the way you should protect your hair at night when you have straight hair, but let’s dig a little deeper. An essential factor to maintaining straight hair for a more extended period is how you protect your hair when you sleep. Some people choose to wrap their straight hair to go to bed. I hated doing this whenever my hair was straight. When my hair was straight, I would put my hair in pin curls or use flexi rods to keep my hair smooth and protected. I found that doing this helped to keep my hair ‘straight’ while adding loose waves for a fuller look and minimizing reversion back to its kinky/coily state.
Do a Protein TreatmentProtein treatments should be done on your natural hair, regardless if it is straightened or not. But, keep in mind that your hair may need an added layer of protection when it is straight. Hair that lacks protein in the summer and early fall will result in frizz. In fact, summer and fall are the perfect time to do more protein treatments. All of the moisture in the air can result in weakened strands. It is essential to pay attention and do protein treatments as necessary and as often as you would like. In the winter time, protein treatments can result in dry, brittle hair. Protein in the summer and early fall can prevent hair breakage, whether or not you choose to straighten your hair.
Opt for Flat Iron AlternativesIf you have somewhat come to your senses about the use of flat irons, then you probably know that they won’t keep your straightened hair straight for long. You probably don’t want to spend time with a flat iron when you know it will be difficult to maintain a straight style. Instead, you can opt for a flexi rod set, roller set, Bantu knots, or curlformers or even putting your hair in a protective form like a bun. You can achieve a sleek, straight look without the direct heat. And if you hair frizzes out, it’s no big deal. While your hair is straight, there will be humid days. On those days, opt for a bun. In the fall, the average humidity is much higher in the mornings. Style your hair into a loose bun in the morning then pull it down when the heat goes down or when you are indoors. Your hair may not be as bone straight as you want but in the end, you want to protect your hair from any potential damage that direct heat may cause. Keep this in mind the next time you choose a way to straighten your hair!
Continue to Press On!I understand there may be a lot of steps to follow here, but in the end, it’s worth the long lasting result. For naturals like my best friend, who do not mind applying heat to their hair, flat ironing can be a real treat. After all, flat ironing not only shows the ‘true length’ of your hair, but it adds some versatility to hair styling. However, one of the downsides of flat ironing natural hair is it can often revert to kinky/coily pretty quickly, especially in the warmer months. As a result, many naturals find that their flat ironed hair only lasts for a short time. Following some of these tools may give you that extra security you need to keep “pressing” on. How do you handle straight hair in the summertime? Have you tried any of the tricks above? Did I miss any? I know you have some exciting stories to tell! Tell me about your experiences in the comments!
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