You can’t always get what you want… especially when it comes to the hair you were born with. It seems for most of us, if we have straight hair we wish it was wavy or curly. If we have wavy or curly hair we want it straight. Looking at the hair industry can prove that correct. Perms for curls, curling irons and straighteners for straightening, chemical straightening, hair coloring, extensions… where there is a will there’s a way.
For most women, if they don’t have the hair they want, they will find a way to get it.
In this article we will focus on straightening curly hair, as straightening can come in many forms. If you’re looking around you, hating those folks with perfectly sleek, straight hair, there are some statistics you need to keep in mind:
- Around 60 percent Caucasian women are born with wavy or curly hair.
- About 50 percent of Asian women are born with wavy or curly hair.
- The highest percentage of curly hair belongs to women of color with 80 to 85% of Black and Hispanic women born with wavy hair or curly hair.
Do you have curly hair? We think you should embrace your waves and curls and love your look! However, we also understand that sometimes, you want to get your hair as sleek and smooth as possible. But heat styling tools such as straighteners and hot flat irons can lead to a lot of damage. Moreover, heat can cause your hair to dry out and become brittle. So how can you straighten your hair without using heat? We have some tips for naturally straightening your hair!
Why Can’t I Use Heat?
We know that lots of people use styling tools to straighten their hair. These tools heat up quickly, and make straightening a quick and painless process (as long as you don’t burn yourself). While we know that this is a lot of people’s go-to for hair straightening, using heat on a daily basis really damages your hair.
Most women have tried a straightener at some point. Even women with straight hair give it a try to tame frizzies, and get an even smoother look. The ones who really risk changing the look of their hair in an unpleasant way after too much straightening, are those with true, curly hair, whether permed or natural.
Over time, using heat tools on your curly hair makes the curls and kinks lose their pattern of curl, which makes your hair look limp or lifeless. So basically, if you are straightening your hair using heat to get rid of curls, you may eventually be straightening those curls into a curl you no longer recognize. What a shame that would be! A little straightening is fun, but not worth that much damage.
No matter your hair type before straightening with heat, you are taking a chance at the possible singing of, or breaking off of your hair, which means it will take months to repair the damage. Knowing all of this is reason enough to consider alternatives to heat.
Instead of using heat daily to straighten your hair, we recommend that you try to use different styling products to naturally straighten your hair. That way, your hair is cleaned and conditioned, but it’s also less curly and wavy, which is what you are looking for. If one method doesn’t work for you, you can always try another one.
For example, depending on the thickness of your hair, or whether or not you have oily or dry hair, will need to be taken into account as you try different straightening methods. Eventually, you will find the natural straightening method that works best for your hair.
Straight From The Start
Let’s start trying to straighten your hair from the moment you step into the shower. First, you might want to look at the hair care products you’re using. You need an array of hair care products, like the one’s Keranique offers, so that your hair looks smooth and shiny throughout. Once you’ve begun a good hair care program, do something different once you step out of the shower. Instead of blow-drying your hair with heat, try using a dryer on the cold air setting only. Cold air settings give you the chance to dry your hair and smooth it without using heat.
You might also want to blot your hair with a towel before you begin the blow drying process to take more of the water out of your hair. You can do this by taking a few minutes after you shower and wrap your head in a good microfiber towel. If you have a good towel, you’ll be able to dry your hair with a blow dryer more quickly, which means less damage to your hair.
There are a couple of extra tips about blow-drying your hair to minimize damage. You may want to use a product that will help your hair resist heat, such as the Keranique Volumizing Set, to help your hair stay straight and sleek. These two products will help protect your hair from hair dryer damage as well. Also, keep the blow dryer at least six inches from your hair so that you don’t damage it.
Instead of blow-drying your hair, you also might want to try hair wrapping. This has been a very popular method for straightening curly or wavy hair. (You may want to watch some hair wrapping videos on YouTube before you try this at home as well). You will need long bobby pins and a scarf or turban to wrap your hair in.
To wrap your hair, you’ll need to:
- Separate it into sections.
- Hold the hair taut
- Wrap it on the opposite side of your head from where it naturally falls into place
- Place the scarf or turban over your head to sleep.
If you want to practice this first, just get used to sleeping with wet hair, then gradually you can incorporate wrapping or rolling into your nighttime routine. Sleeping with wet hair on a satin pillowcase works wonders with curly or wavy hair.
Hair rolling is another way to straighten your hair without using heat. You’ll need jumbo rollers at least 1 ¾ inches wide. Divide your hair into sections and roll up your hair onto the rollers. If you don’t want to sleep with the rollers, you can put rollers in your hair about 5 hours before you want to have the desired straight hair, and then remove them. Your hair should have more body and volume.
Although this method may cause your hair to have the ends curled under, it will still give the rest of your hair a straighter, smoother look. After the curlers are removed, gently comb through with a brush or your fingers.
Hair Straightening Products
Shampoos and Conditioners
You can also begin to look for hair products that are specifically meant to clean and condition straight hair as a start to straightening routine. The key ingredient you will want to look for is Keratin. This powerful protein is known to smooth and strengthen hair. The hair cuticle loves to absorb keratin, which is why it leaves your hair shiny and smooth. You may want to try the Keranique Scalp Replenishing Shampoo and Replenishing Keratin Conditioner. This shampoo and conditioner combo works to smooth and soften your hair while also coating and protecting it from damage.
To apply shampoos and conditioners for hair straightening:
- Wash your hair the way you usually do.
- Apply the conditioner to your hair from the roots to the tips. Leave it in for the recommended time or longer if possible.
- If your hair is oilier, and too much conditioner weighs it down more than you would like, or leaves it feeling greasy, then start at the ends with conditioner, and use whatever is left on your hands, to lightly condition the roots.
- Rinse your hair gently so that you don’t wash out all the conditioner.
- Blot hair gently with a towel. Avoid wrapping it up in your bath towel, since this can cause frizz. (microfiber towels for hair are a better choice and absorb water quickly)
- Style your hair, using low to no heat.
Keep in mind, Keratin is good for the all-around health needs of your hair and nails, because your hair and nails are actually made of it! Your body needs certain nutrients to help produce Keratin. It is important to be sure you are including these nutrient-rich foods in your diet. In turn, your body will make Keratin, strengthening your hair and nails.
Foods such as red meat, oysters, almonds, milk, and blueberries have the proteins and other vitamins needed to help in Keratin production. Some beers even contain nutrients that can aid in providing nutrients your hair needs!
Eating a healthy diet full of hair-loving foods won’t make your hair straight… but curly or straight, you want healthy hair. When your hair is healthy, you are able to more easily achieve the straight look you are going for.
Smoothing Serums and Spritzes
Smoothing serums can be applied to your hair to straighten it and leave it shinier and more manageable. There are serums meant for people with fine, thin hair, which won’t help you smooth or straighten your hair. Instead, look for a product that conditions your hair. It will be a heavier product that will help weigh your hair down. To apply a smoothing serum to your hair:
- Wash and condition your hair the way you normally do.
- Put a few drops of smoothing serum onto the palm of your hand, and gently rub hands together.
- Using your fingers, work the smoothing serum into your hair.
- Concentrate the serum from the middle of your hair out to the ends of your hair. Then gently rub what is left, near your roots
- Style as usual.
Spritzes should be used on wet hair as well. You’ll want to look for a conditioning spritz that you can spray into your hair and leave in before you style it. You might want to try the Marula Oil Hair Mist, which smooths and softens hair as well as eliminates unwanted frizz.
A simple homemade hair spritzing idea is rose water in a spray bottle, and essential oil of your choice, such as lavender or lemon. Healthy for your hair, natural, and smells delicious.
Hair masks are also alternative options for sleek and straightened hair. Think of hair masks as really heavy-duty conditioners. Hair masks are great for straightening your hair because they work to really deep condition your hair. The best hair masks to straighten your hair are those hair masks that put protein in your hair. Protein acts to make your hair more relaxed, which straightens those curls.
To use a hair mask, wash your hair the way you normally do. Then, you’ll need to apply the hair mask all over your hair. Let the mask set in for half an hour, and then rinse your hair off. There are plenty of different hair masks on the market for you to try. Some are natural, but always read labels to be sure. You can easily make an all-natural homemade hair mask at home, with items in your pantry.
If you want to make your own hair mask, we have some suggestions.
To make a DIY home hair mask for your curly hair:
- You can make a simple hair mask using raw eggs. If you want to try this, simply add a raw egg to the conditioner you already use.
- You can also use an egg and honey mask for your hair. Manuka or raw honey is best for your hair.
- Raw avocado mixed with a teaspoon of olive oil makes a great mask for curly hair.
- After you apply the mask, be sure you wrap your hair in a towel for 30 minutes, then rinse. Many people enjoy using hot towels while they mask.
If you want to do a hot oil treatment instead of a mask, you can use warmed oils, such as almond oil or coconut oil. These oils work to strengthen your curly hair–so if you have been heat styling your hair for some time, you may want to try this hot oil treatment to repair the damage first.
Blow Dryer On a Cool Setting
When we think of blow dryers it is natural to think of heat, and heat damage. Hairdryers are definitely capable of heat damage when used on the high heat setting too often. And we often do, because heat dries our hair quickly.
However, many dryers offer a lower or cooler setting. Using a large round brush, and your hairdryer at its lowest setting, you can safely straighten your hair without heat.
- Starting with clean, damp, and well-conditioned hair, section your hair off, and place the round brush under your hair and close to the roots.
- As you slide the brush down the hair shaft, follow along with the cool hairdryer.
- Do this until all of your hair is dry and straight.
- Add a little anti-humidity hairspray if necessary, and you are good to go!
I’ve Already Damaged My Hair From Constant Straightening With Heat
It happens to most women at some point in the life of their hair. We perm it, straighten it, bleach it, and use way too much heat on it…and breakage ensues. So now what? Should you even bother with natural straightening methods? Yes, for sure. Many of the natural straightening methods we mentioned are actually good for your hair. But first, you should definitely focus on getting hair healthy again, no matter what style you are going for.
- Consider a really good trim or serious cut to start over, if your damaged hair is pretty bad. It is hard to bite the bullet and do this if you love long hair. Just remember, it will grow back, and this time shinier and healthier.
- Speak with your stylist about the best shampoo and conditioner to get your hair back on track
- Masks, oils, and serums made for hair to replenish moisture and help heal ends, are a great treatment for your damaged hair
- Be sure to air dry your hair when possible. If you must use a blow dryer, use a heat-protecting hair spray, cream, or serum before drying. Use your dryer on the lowest temperature setting if possible.
- Don’t forget your hair needs nutrition. Consider a supplement designed for hair health such as Keraviatin. However, be sure to speak with your doctor before starting new supplements.
- Avoid using hair elastics that can rip your hair.
Heat damaged hair needs to be repaired before it gets worse, but it isn’t the end of your hair. You can repair it, and start over, straightening with heat alternative options.
How Long Have Women Been Straightening Their Hair?
In years past, women used to straighten their hair because they felt the stigma of curly hair from society. Pressures for women and how they should look have always been around, unfortunately.
Straightening has gone on since the 1890s. Can you imagine? With everything else women had to do, in a time when they had few choices, someone had the nerve to say, “Hey, we’d prefer you straighten your hair?” Yes they did. Two heavy, heated irons to heat up, most likely over hot coals, and press together along your hair, making it straight, and very often quite singed.
Time moved along and styles came and went. The 1960s had women actually using their clothing iron to straighten their hair. Obviously super long hair was en vogue, for them to be able to lay their hair out onto an ironing board!
It wasn’t until around the 1970s that curls AND straight hair were both popular at the same time. Big curls and super straight hair were the rage.
Thankfully, although we still feel a ridiculous amount of pressure, there seems to be more of a do what works for you kind of attitude. And even better, we have options of how to accomplish our desired look, right at our fingertips, through salons, stores, and online shopping.
Time To Style Your Straight Hair
Now that we have discussed a little history, and how to straighten hair without heat, let’s talk about straight hair styling.
If you are not used to straight hair, it may feel strange to you at first. Curly hair has a lot of texture, and if that is what you have, you know what to do with it by now. That texture will feel different as it is smoothed out during straightening. It will be a fun change to try some new looks with your straight hair.
Styling Long Straight Hair
You may feel like your long straight hair is just hanging there, and you want to do something with it. Here are some ideas…
- Pin back the sides. This is a great way to show off your long, smooth locks, while keeping it away from your face. Try a pretty clip and pull the sides back, securing in the clip. Or use a couple of bobby pins on each side, so your hair is noticed, but not the clips.
- Curl the ends. Yes, some people like to straighten their hair and then curl it. After your hair is smoothed out from straightening, adding a little curl at the end won’t take away the straightness on the rest of your head. It’ll just add a little bounce.
- A long, pretty braid down your back or to the side is a feminine, romantic look. It may not seem worth it after all of your straightening efforts. But sometimes just getting those frizzies under control with straightening, will make for a smoother-looking braid.
- Slick back your new sleek look into a sleek ponytail. Off your face, and into a straight, smooth ponytail, shows confidence.
- Just let it flow! In love with the straight new look? Then just let your gorgeous hair flow as it wishes.
Styling Short Straight Hair
You can still change up your style, even when your hair is short. Now that it is straight, there are a couple fun things you can do.
- Once it is all straight and ready to go, if it hangs over your ears, simply tuck it behind your ears, holding it there with a dab of hair gel or small clips.
- Pump up the volume and playfulness with a root lifting spray or some texturizing product. Straight, short hair can get away with a bit of a messy, fun look.
- Enjoy the easiness of your straightened short hair. Just let the wind blow it, and run your fingers through it as needed.
Is My Hair Too Thin to Straighten?
Nope! You can safely straighten your thin hair, using the safer methods we have mentioned. It is important to remember that thin hair can be damaged quicker and easier than thick hair. That just isn’t as much of it to take on the heat and damage. Not fair – we agree.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have gorgeous hair though! Just be careful with it.
- Don’t straighten your thin hair more often than necessary. Straightening without heat is safe, but some of the methods might weigh down your thinner hair.
- Air dry as often as possible, or get your hair almost completely air-dried, before blow-drying
- Straightening thin hair can make it look lifeless and limp sometimes. Add some body back to it with a little dry shampoo at the roots. This adds great volume. Or a root lift powder. The powders are lightweight for your thin hair.
- Consider the curl at the ends method after straightening, to give a little bounce
Thin hair can be frustrating, but can still have a straightened style like your thick, or curly haired friends. The secret is to treat it gently, and add volume where you can. And remember, if your hair is thinning or you are losing your hair, it could be due to an underlying health issue. As always, you should see your doctor to get to the root cause of your health and hair problems.
Finally, be sure, and celebrate your curly hair, whether it is thin, thick, frizzy, or smooth… you are a rarity. You are special. Take some time and give thanks for those curly locks and treat them with the Keranique Curl Preserve shampoo and conditioner. Because People with straight hair envy those bouncy curls and volume. Here’s to curly heads everywhere.
And let’s remember, we are only as beautiful as what’s on the inside, and what comes out of us. Let your beauty shine by radiating joy through your smile, and kindness in your heart. As women, let’s always build each other up, and never tear down. Remember to tell the beautiful women in your life how perfect they are – curly hair, straight hair, and all.