We love wearing our naturally curly hair, but on the days that we choose to change things up and rock straight hair we want everything to go smoothly (pun intended). Nobody wants to spend 2+ hours straightening your hair and giving your arms a serious workout, only to step outside and have your hair instantly curl all over again. Or to find that at the end of an arduous straightening session you are not left with silky straight hair that blows in the wind, but a head of hair that feels stiff as straw. And the worst possible outcome would be that after this short-lived trip to the straight side, we discover that our curls have been damaged and won't be coming back.
Emilia Obiekea of AdoreBotanicals has found that she can avoid all of that by following this pre-flat ironing routine.
The biggest issues for naturals when flat ironing
- Premature reversion
- Maintaining moisture
- Avoiding heat damage
Maintaining my hair when I have flat ironed it used to be a losing task. I have found that moisturizing my hair starts before ever applying any direct heat. This is my go to process:
Preparing the hair for straightening (2 weeks prior)
- I prepoo my hair overnight with an infused carrier oil blend. Usually coconut oil.
- In the morning lightly detangle to remove shed hair. Wash my hair with a clarifying shampoo.
- Do a mid-level protein treatment. I use commercial and diy protein treatments. For more info about the diy version read more here.
- Follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioning mask. I apply it and use the hooded dryer for 30 minutes.
- Lastly, I use a protein rich leave in conditioner and layer on a blend of ceramide rich oils. This combo is wonderful for reinforcing the strength in hair.
- I'm sure to style my hair in low tension and low manipulation styles for the week. This reduces the likelihood of experiencing unnecessary breakage.
Flat ironing process
- Prepoo the hair overnight with an infused oil blend. (again)
- The following morning detangle and cleanse with a moisturizing shampoo. Since I only used water soluble ingredients, the week prior, there's no need for another clarifying shampoo wash.
- Use a moisturizing deep conditioner for 30 minutes under a hooded dryer. Allow the conditioner to cool completely before rinsing out with cool water.
These are the most vital steps to lock in the moisture
- While the hair is lightly damp apply an anti-humectant moisturizer.
- Apply an oil blend + a silicon based serum. Be sure not to use any carrier oils that are heavy (ex: castor oil). Heavy oils weight the hair down. I like to use Daily Dew oil.
- Detangle from the ends to the roots. Twist the hair. Let it air dry in the twist. This prevents it from tangling.
- Once fully dry section the hair. Flat iron at no higher than 250° in small sections using the chase method. Do not do more than 2 passes with the flat iron. The temp for the flat iron is up to you. Generally there's no need to go above 350°.
You can blow dry the hair prior to flat ironing if you like. I do not like to use direct heat often and i find that there is no need to blow-dry before straightening. I've never had heat damage or premature reversion with this method. Also my hair remained moisturized for 2 weeks due to this process.
This process addresses and resolves all 3 of the main issues we naturals have with straightened hair. Give it a try and let us know how well it has worked for you as well.
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