I have naturally curly hair (3a) that I have always worn curly. I've never straightened it for a few reasons: 1) I am not very skilled at hair styling 2) I don't have the patience to spend a lot of time on my hair every day 3) I never thought I looked good with straight hair. Occasionally when I'd go for a hair cut the stylist would (against my wishes) blow dry it straight and it would look like a big ball of pouf until I washed it and got my curls back. Or if I got it styled for a special occasion, they might straighten it using a curling iron or a flat iron and then curl it to give it that "sculpted" curl look, so I never really got used to seeing it sleek and straight.
Yesterday I made an appointment to get my hair styled for my cousin's wedding. (The lady who styled my hair was actually recommended by the lady who's been cutting my hair since September of last year. I found her on this site and she's fantastic with cutting curly hair, but said she wasn't as experienced with updos and so she recommended this other stylist.) I expected that she would straighten my hair first in order to style it. And she did straighten it, first by blow drying it and THEN by going over it with a flat iron. When I saw myself in the mirror I was amazed - it looked fantastic! Then, instead of curling it, she left it straight and pinned it back into this sleek, sophisticated looking style. At the end of the night when I took it down, it was still straight and bouncy. When I woke up this morning I decided it would be fun to keep it this way for a while longer, just to do something different. I might try to get another day or two out of my straight hair, but I'm going to have to wash it again eventually.
I still love my curls, but now that I know I can also look good with straight hair, I'd like to be able to straighten it once in a while just to change it up a bit. But I don't really know where to start. I'm hoping someone can help with a few questions.
1) I use Herbal Essences Totally Twisted line for my curls as I have found that it works great for me. This is basically the only brand of products I use in my hair (shampoo, conditioner, gel, mousse, curl creme and detangling spray). If I am going to straighten my hair, can I continue to use the same shampoo and conditioner formulated for curly hair before I straighten it, or would it be best to use a different kind of shampoo and conditioner on these days?
2) I own a ConAir Curl Fusion pancake dryer. This is the only hair dryer I own as it dries my curly hair without turning it into a big frizzy mess. If I were to blow dry my hair straight prior to using a flat iron on it, would this type of hair dryer work well? Or is it possible to achieve that salon perfect look with a flat iron alone (without blow drying it straight first)? I am considering investing some money on a good flat iron, but I'd hate to have to buy an expensive hair dryer on top of that, especially considering I don't plan on straightening my hair on a daily basis.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!