If your hair is kinky like mine but you want to wear it straight, why not? There are so many people who have natural hair and prefer straight hair to coily hair who have managed to grow it healthy and to considerable length. Some it is because they are used to straight hair and others say it is easier to manage and it is not prone to breakage like kinky shrunken hair. I have friends who subject their hair to the flat iron heat and their hair is doing fine. Most have so much heat damage, (they prefer to call it heat trained hair) such that it does not shrink back even when shampooed but they are fine with that too as long as they are retaining length.
So what will you be doing when flat ironing your hair? When you apply heat to kinky hair, you are breaking the hydrogen bonds that hold it together and reconstructing its texture from coily/curly to straight. That is the reason when water, H20 is reintroduced to the stresses, it reverts back to its original texture. So when flat ironing hair, hydrogen bonds broken, moisture is not a close ally and the dryness spells begin to haunt your hair. Don’t despair, there is a way of doing it right.
Firstly, make sure your hair is not damaged already before flat ironing because heat to damaged hair is just bad news. The breakage will be too much to bear. (especially for me). You can then follow this procedure for healthier hair.
- Nourish. Do an oil treatment or deep condition before washing your hair
- Shampoo your hair and make sure it is clean
- Condition your hair to make sure it is at its healthiest
- Blot all the excess water out using a T-shirt. Avoid using a towel as it will add frizz to your hair.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner preferably one that will add moisture to your hair
- Apply a heat protectant or heat defence spray or serum of your choice
- Make sure your hair is damp and not dripping wet then blow dry it on low heat
- Now you can flat iron your hair using a good flat iron with ceramic coating on the plates and on a medium heat setting
- Use a hair moisturiser daily to keep your hair moist, shiny and manageable.
A few things to avoid to minimise breakage.
- Your ends are the oldest part of your hair. They are more prone to breakage so handle them with care to preserve length. Do not apply too much heat to them to avoid split ends.
- For most people, the hair along the hair line is much thinner than the rest. Make sure to apply less heat to these areas too to avoid breakage and a receding hair line.
- Avoid plaiting your hair with wool to keep it straight for longer as this leads to more breakage because you may pull your hair too much while plaiting and wool will also suck the little moisture that your may have.
- Do not flat iron your hair too frequently as this will weaken your hair and cause heat damage which may lead to breakage. Once a week should be fine but once every other week is preferable, better still, once a month would be ideal.
There we go. I hope this will help those who prefer straight hair. Personally I prefer my afro, twist outs and braid outs but I did this research when I flat ironed my hair about two weeks ago. I wore my hair straight for a week and the next week the air was so humid because it is rainy season here so my hair just shrunk back and I was back to my twist outs. I am also glad I did not get any heat damage from flat ironing my hair.
So till then, here is to healthy straight hair!