How to Keep Your Straightened Hair from Shrinking Back Up

Pictured: @brandirell

I’m not going to even source the article that stated what I’m about to share. For now, let’s just say that when I saw it stated that flat ironing natural hair should keep hair straight for 3-4 weeks, I let out an audible laugh. Maybe if your curl pattern is super loose. Maybe if you don’t live in any humidity. Maybe if you take cold showers, don’t exercise and never sweat a day in your life. If all of these factors come into play, maybe you can go almost a month with a head full of straight hair that hasn’t been chemically processed. For the rest of us, it takes a bit of finessing to keep our tresses from “shrinking back up” once we’ve gotten them flat ironed, blown them out or threaded or banded them.

That’s what we’re going to explore today. Since the spring and autumn season are pretty ideal for wearing straight(er”> hair (because the temperatures tend to be milder”>, here are some ways that you can keep your hair straight, after straightening it, without relying on a ton of heat in order to make that happen.

1. Avoid humidity as much as possible

One of the best ways to keep your hair straight for as long as possible is avoiding humidity as much as you possibly can. This means using shower caps when you’re bathing. Using an umbrella even when it’s nothing more than misty outside. Opting for low-intensity exercises, so that you sweat as little as possible. Trying to stay indoors on the days when the sun is really blazing — basically taking it easy when it comes to anything that would bring more moisture to your locks.

2. Apply anti-humectant products

Just because the spring and fall may be a time when humidity is lower, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any at all (especially when it’s raining outside”>. This is where an anti-humectant products can make your life so much easier. They’re products that are designed to keep your hair from absorbing moisture that is in the air, so that your hair stays straight longer and you don’t have to encounter a ton of frizz. If this is something you’re interested in, our articles, “20 Anti Humectant Products for Spring” and “20 Humidity-Proof Products to Fight Frizz” can help you to find items that will be just right for you and your hair texture.

3. Wrap your hair

Back when I had a relaxer in my hair, one of my favorite things to do was wrap it up at night. Not only did it make for comfortable sleeping (because my hair was super flat”>, but I could wake up, comb the wrap out and my hair would have a lot of body and movement. There are a few other benefits that come from taking this styling approach. Wrapping helps your hair to retain its natural oils. Wrapping keeps your hair from tangling up or losing its “straightened shape”. Wrapping also reduces friction which, in turn, reduces frizz. So, as far as a hair routine that will keep your straightened hair intact when you’re turning in at night or just relaxing at home, wrapping is definitely one of the best ways to go (a few videos that offer up some hacks are located below, here and here“>.

4. Use a bit of oil

When your hair is straight, you want it to have just a little bit of weight, so that your strands remain elongated. One way to do that is to add a bit of oil to your hair, both in the morning as well as before you turn in at night. As far as commercialized brands go, one that is currently getting a lot of praise is GK’s Serum Argan Oil for Hair. If you’d prefer to go with an all-natural carrier oil, sweet almond is both super moisturizing and also pretty light. Whatever you decide to go with, just remember that dry hair leads to frizzy hair and water-based stuff can cause your curl pattern to come right back. That’s why adding about a half palm of oil on a daily basis is your best bet to keeping your hair straighter for longer.

5. And some edge control

If there’s one area that will try and curl up on you before any other area does, it’s going to be your edges. The answer to that is edge control. Personally, I’ve been on a mission to find the best edge control for a while now — mostly one that will hold for a long time without a lot of caking up. A brand that I like a lot is Ebin New York 24 Hour Edge Tamer. It holds really well, there’s hardly any white stuff that “cakes up” and it keeps my edges right where I want to be whether they are straight or curly for hours on end. Literally.

6. Do some roller setting

So, what if you’re about a week into your hair being straight and, while it’s not exactly curly, it’s not “bone straight” anymore either. No worries. A great compromise is to roller set your hair for about another week. It will help your tresses to remain elongated, retain moisture and still give you a straighter look without you having to apply any (more”> heat. We’ve got two articles that can help you out with this too. One is “12 Tips for a Perfect Roller Set on Natural Hair”. Another is “The Right Rollers for Every Hairstyle & Curl Pattern”. You can watch a video tutorial below and here.


7. Twist your hair up at night

Our body temperature typically changes throughout the night which means there is a chance that you will sweat in your sleep. This, on top of the friction that can potentially come from moving in your bed for hours at a time, means that it makes perfect sense that you would need to tie your hair up before heading to bed. Not just with a bonnet either. You need to wrap your hair and then put on a silk or satin scarf that will hold your hair securely in place. If you do this, your hair should stay straight for about 10 days — even longer if you apply all of these other tips too.

Shellie Reneé

Shellie Reneé has been writing full-time for two decades with bylines in everything from Honey, King and Sister 2 Sister (remember those?) to XONecole, Upscale, Little Things, Your Tango and Love, Live Health — just to name a few. Although most of her writing is relationships-related, she also enjoys writing on self-help, health and wellness and providing tips for women to celebrate the way they were born — both inside and out.

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