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How to get straight hair

Smooth, straight hair
Whether your hair is naturally curly, or simply has a habit of being a little unruly, you may want to straighten it to see how it looks with a different texture. Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can achieve this goal, and options are available that are temporary or even permanent, allowing you to get straight hair with relative ease and minimal hassle.

Ways to straighten hair

The first step in considering how to get straight hair is to decide how long you want the results to last. It's perfectly fine if you're unsure of this at first, as you can try a temporary option to determine how you feel about the new appearance of your hair. You may decide you prefer your curls, or that you'd like to make a more lasting commitment to straightening your hair.

Some of the different ways to straighten hair include:
  • Blow drying
  • Straightening irons
  • Smoothing balm
  • Keratin treatment
  • Relaxer

Temporary hair straightening

Temporary hair straightening methods are the best option if you don't want to lose your natural curl or are unsure whether you'd like the way your hair looks when straightened. These methods use heat to straighten hair, smoothing out its natural texture by forming temporary bonds within the hair's protein structure. After a certain period of time, or your hair being exposed to water, the effect disappears.

As temporary hair straightening uses heat, the process can be slightly damaging. This damage can be readily avoided through the use of heat protection sprays and serums that will allow you to get straight hair without damaging its condition. Overall, temporary ways to straighten hair are easy and effective, but they do need to be repeated regularly to maintain the effect.

Using hair straighteners

In order to temporarily straighten hair, you will need a hair straightening iron. This heated styling tool is able to apply heat to the lengths of your hair, smoothing it out as your hair passes across the plates. You should also be using a heat protection product to ensure you're not causing too much damage when you do this. Although straightening your hair every day won't cause it to snap off or fall apart, it can still lead to dryness and frizz as cumulative damage builds up.

Products are also important for anyone who has naturally frizzy or dry hair, and can be highly beneficial if you intend to straighten hair that has been bleached or dyed often. In this situation, a hair serum treats these problems by moisturising and protecting your hair during straightening.

Unstraightened hair
For best results when straightening hair, especially if you have thick hair, use sectioning clips to divide your hair into layers. This will make it easier to straighten small sections of hair at a time and give the smoothest and sleekest results. It will also prevent you from applying too much heat to the same areas over and over again because sections you have already straightened will be clipped back.

Starting at the uppermost layers of your hair, comb these out in small sections, straighten with the iron, and then clip these layers up out of the way. If you continue outwards from the top of your hair in this fashion, it is a quick and easy process to get straight hair in a matter of 15 minutes or less. Once your done, apply a little more serum and your results will be better protected against dryness and humidity.

Smoothing balm

Smoothing balm is a product designed to enhance the effects of straightening hair using a flat iron. You can achieve good results without it, but if you have hair that is very frizzy or difficult to control, it can offer additional help to smooth it out.

Products like this work because they contain keratin. In this sense, they are related to keratin treatments and have a similar effect on your hair. However, unlike a keratin treatment, smoothing balm rinses out when your hair is washed. This means that it needs to be reapplied when you straighten your hair to maintain the effect.

To use a product like this when you straighten your hair, simply apply prior to straightening. It will protect your hair from the damaging effects of the heat as well as enhance your results.

Permanent hair straightening

If you want to maintain the appearance of straightened hair for a longer period of time without the hassle of using a styling tool, there are ways to permanently straighten hair. These methods require chemical treatments that are more damaging and require a little more skill and time to apply, but the effect won't wear off with time or moisture.

Permanent hair straightening methods work by destroying bonds in your hair that give it a curly appearance and replacing these with new bonds that smooth the texture out. This is the way that a relaxer works to straighten hair, and a keratin treatment works in a similar way, albeit with results that are less permanent than relaxer.

Keratin treatments

Keratin treatments are one of the more permanent options you can consider when deciding how to get straight hair. These products are long-lasting and will generally give you straight hair for up to 3 months before they need to be reapplied, allowing you to change the texture of your hair without having to maintain the effect on a daily basis.

To use a keratin treatment, your hair needs to be shampooed prior to application. The product is applied to damp hair and allowed to sit in your hair for a duration of time before it is blow dried and then straightened with a flat iron at high heat. This drying and straightening process activates the keratin protein and seals it into your hair, producing the change in texture. After a period of 2 - 3 days, the treatment is rinsed out, but the effect will remain.

How to apply a keratin treatment -  If you're considering one of these treatments, you can learn more about how to apply and use them here...

Hair relaxer

Hair relaxer is the longest lasting method you can use to get straight hair. It is also the most damaging treatment because it chemically resets the bonds in your hair to achieve this. Hair that is in good condition will remain in fairly good condition following this process, but these products should not be used on hair that is already damaged in most cases.

Unlike other products, a relaxer also carries warnings for its use because the ingredients that make it work are highly caustic. This means there is a potential for scalp irritation, chemical burns, severe hair damage, and damage to your eyes and other areas of your body if you do not use it correctly. For this reason, unless you have the training or experience necessary to use a relaxer safely, this treatment should be applied in a salon.

Application of a relaxer is fairly simple if you're taking the proper precautions during usage. The most important thing to take into account is the condition of your hair and when it was last washed. Relaxer should only be applied to hair that is healthy, strong, and has not been shampooed recently. Unwashed hair has an intact acid mantle that protects your scalp from the irritation of the chemicals used in a relaxer.

To apply the relaxer, divide your hair up into four sections and work quickly in small layers to apply the product and smooth out each of these layers to sit flat. The smoother the sections of hair are, the straighter the results will be. Once the product is completely applied, allow to process for the recommended time of the specific product you are using before neutralizing and rinsing as directed.

How that straightened can look great, but the most important thing to remember is that it's your hair and you need to be happy with the result. To this end, don't rush into using a longer lasting straightening method unless you're absolutely sure you want to keep the result for a longer period of time. If you're considerate in your hair care choices, you can have healthy hair that looks exactly the way you want.

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