As curlies, we understand straightening curly hair can be exasperating at best–but every once in awhile, we still want the option of spicing things up a bit with a different hairstyle?

Although there is a stigma within the curly community placed on straightening curly hair, for many of us, an inexperienced hairstylist is the reason. According to Studio Redd Salon owner and hairstylist, Tina Redd, “The only con to straightening natural curly hair is doing it incorrectly.”

Here is how it’s done correctly.

1. Pre-treatment

Over the years, Redd has created her signature technique from trial and error when it came to straightening curly manes and alas, the secret weapon was finally discovered—protein. “Moroccan Oil Repair or K-Pak by Joico are my preferred protein pre-treatments,” says Redd. This strengthens the hair and preps it before the heat is applied, and aids in the prevention of heat damage.

2. Apply product

Redd suggests against applying styling products on dry hair. The products are best absorbed on damp hair and allow them to go under the cuticle. You will notice hair is much shinier, silkier, and weightless and your results will last longer. Application on dried hair will make product just sit on top of the cuticle, weighing it down significantly and heating up (in a sense, cooking on the hair strand”>.

3. Air dry

Allow your hair to soak up all the products by air drying it. Stretch out your curls as much as you can before straightening–roller sets are the best for this (hence why it takes forever and a year”>. However, if you prefer to blow dry, keep your settings as low as possible.

4. Flat iron

Once you reach this point in the process, divide your hair into small sections and detangle with a closed-tooth comb as you flat-iron. Remember to keep the settings low as well; nothing over 400 degrees. This is easier if your hair is stretched out completely before you flat-iron.

5. Post treat

Once your hair is laid to your desire, do not touch it up with more heat. Instead, use roller sets or create chunky braids to keep it stretched out or wavy overnight. Less heat cannot be stressed enough! Also, sleeping in a satin cap or bonnet will help increase the time your hair stays straight.

If you exceed straightening your hair more than 2 to 3 times a month, you run the risk of having permanently loosened curls.

“I always suggest rinsing hair with apple cider vinegar if you feel your curls loosened,” says Redd. “Let it sit about five minutes, then scrunch and rinse. Beer rinses are great too for curls that have been compromised, and always use products that protect from heat—Moroccan Oil and Rucker Roots. These products not only provide great protection from heat, but they hydrate the hair without weight and add incredible shine.” To combat this, stick with a cleansing, deep conditioning, followed by a restoring hair masque regimen to take steps to repair the damage.

Are you straightening your hair this summer?

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