Good Morning Doll.
Isn't it funny how we women always want the hair that we don't have? If we were born with curly hair, we want it straight, brown hair we want it blond. We are never satisfied are we?
I am very lucky to have extremely thick, very shiny, naturally auburn highlighted, dark brown hair. I LOVE IT! I have been complimented all my life about my hair. Just the other day in fact my BFF and I were at a restaurant and a random stranger came up to me and said, "Honey, you have the most gorgeous hair I have ever seen!"
I never know quite what to say other than thank you. What I want to say is that there is an asterisk when it comes to my hair. It is naturally very wavy, not curly. Living in the Florida humidity, I easily look like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket, so I take extra care in my hair straightening.
One of the things I do is get the Japanese straightening done once a year. If you haven't tried it - It is a MUST! No ironing, no blow drying. Just wash and go hair. I never in my life thought I could have "that" hair, but thanks to Maggie, my wonderful hair stylist, dreams do come true.
However when the Japanese straightening is wearing off, I have to get back into the routine of blow drying and ironing my hair, which I hate - only because the time it takes; remember I have a ton of hair. I also want to make sure I don't damage my hair.
Urban legends abound in the beauty world. These are specific hair care myths and stories that get passed from woman to woman, generation to generation. They run the gamut, but consist of fanatical ideas women believe
to be true like "split ends are reversible" and "pluck one grey hair and two will come to its funeral." One of my personal favorite hair care fairy tales is some women just wake up with naturally smooth and perfectly straight hair. Bull winkle. Sorry ladies, but we all
have to work for the frizz-free sleek stylings we envy on models and celebrities like Jennifer Aniston.
Any woman with curly, wavy hair, heck even "straight" hair should know that to get hair super smooth, some
heat styling is in order. It is slightly unfair, but true. If you have pretty straight hair already, you likely only need the assistance of a blow dryer to get a sleek look, but if your hair has texture and is thick or course, you'll need the almighty flat iron to achieve stick straight strands. Fear not though, with the right hair care preparation, straightening tips, and responsible use, you don't have to fry your hair for it to look fabulous.
So without further adieu, here are my tips for super sleek, shiny hair.
Tip 1: Pick the right size flat iron
Flat irons are like clothes, they are not one-size fits all. The length and thickness of your hair should determine the size of your iron. The right size iron will be easier to maneuver, straighten your hair more efficiently, and decrease the risk of overheating and damaging hair.
For short, thick or fine hair: Use an iron with narrow plates ranging in size from half-an-inch to one-inch thick. This will allow you to iron smaller sections.
For long, thick or fine hair: Use an iron with wider plates ranging in size from one-and-a-half inches to two-inches wide so you're able to cover more surface area in less time. Also, be weary of the weight of your iron. Anything super heavy (more than two pounds) will have your arm hurting in no time. Straightening hair shouldn't be equivalent to weight training.
Tip 2: Use the right material
Look for flat irons that use ceramic, tourmaline or titanium metals. They will heat more evenly causing less heat damage to your hair. They are the gentlest on the hair because they release negative ions which work to tighten the hair's cuticle. This produces a shinier, healthier, less frizzy look and feel. On the flip side, be weary of irons that are ceramic coated or Teflon coated as they will heat a little more unevenly, and tend to have a more drying effect.
Tip 3: Prep hair properly
Once you've found the best iron for your hair, the next crucial step to straightening your strands like a pro is preparing your hair for the heat it's about to undergo. Here's how:
Preparation for fine hair: Wash hair with a lightweight volumizing shampoo like Rene Furterer Volumea Volumizing Shampoo
, $23 and conditioner. Once out of the shower use a volumizing mousse with built-in heat protection like Nexxus Thermal Volume Volumizing Heat Protection Mousse
, $11.99. Blow dry hair to create volume by lifting at the roots. Smooth hair from the mid-shaft to your ends using tension and a natural bristle brush.
Preparation for thick hair: Start by washing with a smoothing shampoo and conditioner like Redken Smooth Down Shampoo
, $14.50 each. Once out of the shower, apply a smoothing serum with heat protection technology like Kiehl's Heat-Protective Silk-Straightening Cream
, $17. Blow dry hair thoroughly with a natural bristle brush and apply tension as you dry hair in order to make it as straight as possible.
Tip 4: Get a super straight look
Follow these steps to get a super straight, polished look:
Step 1: Start by clipping your blow dried hair into manageable sections -- the thicker your hair, the more sections you should create. Starting on the bottom half of your head, near the nape of your neck, grab a half-an-inch to two-inch section of hair.
Step 2: Starting half-an-inch down from your roots (this will help your hair maintain some volume), quickly smooth the iron down the hair shaft making sure to move at a steady pace. Continue this until you have straightened the bottom and mid-sections of your head.
Step 3: For the final sections near the crown of your head, lift hair off your scalp and get the iron as close to your roots as possible, pressing firmly while drawing the iron straight outward from your head to achieve a flat, smooth finish.
Step 4: Mist with shine spray.
Tip 5: Get a voluminous straight look
For a fuller, more voluminous look you will want to hold the iron a bit differently. Iron from the mid-shaft to ends, still moving the iron straight out to the sides, lifting from the scalp. As a rule, I do not drag the iron down when working, because it tends to put creases in the hair if you are going against the growth pattern. For added flip, twist your wrist slightly away from your face once you've reached the end of a straightened section for a bit of bounce. Mist with a shine spray or flexible hold hairspray.
Tip 6: Things to avoid
- Do not iron hair when wet, as this is a sure way to fry your strands.
- Do not use broken or chipped hot tools, as they can be dangerous.
- Do not use a flat iron everyday as any tool or procedure involving high heat will dry the hair and make it brittle over time, especially with prolonged and frequent use.