How To: Safely Straightening Coily Hair and Avoiding Heat Damage


One of the things I love about being natural is the versatility I have. I am in no way obligated to maintain one look in particular, and I find that my whole style changes as I go from big curly hair to sleek polished hairstyles. I've absolutely fallen in love with my hair, and I can't say I miss the creamy crack. While I do enjoy my curls and kinks, there are times that having my hair straight saves me time. At night I don't have to twist or braid my hair, and in the morning I don't have to worry about my braid-outs looking cute. In all honesty I just really value my sleep.

At one point I thought that my flatiron would be synonymous to the death of my hair. However, nightmares of my hair as a garden of split-ends are over, and I am free to do with my hair as I please without guilt. If you want to straighten your hair once in a while you should be able to do that, but I definitely think you should be mindful of the products and amount of heat you put on your hair.

Trying to go from curly hair to straight hair can seem daunting, and there are days when I literally have to prepare myself mentally before I begin the process. However, with some patience, and the occasional pep talk, I get through it.

I got my last perm about 4 years ago and I've been straightening for the past two years. I straighten my hair about six times a year and so far I haven't had any heat damage.

  1. To begin, I usually detangle my hair with my hands because I don't like combs. Detangling with my fingers allows me to feel the knots, separate the hair and loosen knots without causing breakage due to combs pulling on the hair.
  2. Next I shampoo my hair to get rid of product buildup. Then I proceed to condition and detangle.
  3. After washing out all of my conditioner I towel dry my hair and section it into four equal parts.
  4. In order to prevent damage due to heat I use a heat protecting spray all over my head, and I rub a small amount of oil throughout my hair before blow-drying. I prefer to use Jamaican Black Castor Oil in my hair, but because it is thick and tends to weigh my hair down if I use a lot, I use it sparingly when preparing to straighten my hair.
  5. To blowout my hair I use my Vidal Sassoon blow dryer with the comb attachments to dry, detangle, and stretch my hair out.
  6. Once all my hair is blown out I part and twist my hair up in sections to make flat-ironing easier.
  7. The flatiron that I use is the Conair Infiniti, it has about 5 temperature settings and goes up to 455 °F. Setting my iron to the second highest temperature works really well for me. I usually only have to pass my flatiron through my hair once, but while doing this I run a rat-tail comb ahead of it to produce smooth even tension to get my hair as straight as possible. However, because I have two different textures of hair throughout my head, I sometimes have to go over certain sections twice.

    Tip: Before assuming that your hair requires the highest temperature setting possible, try out lower temperatures first and increase until you find the temperature that works best for your hair. The hair in the front of my head is slightly looser than the rest of my hair, so to prevent damaging my curl pattern I lower the heat.

  8. After straightening all of my hair, depending on how it looks and feels, sometimes I'll rub a little bit of castor oil in my hands and smooth it over my hair to add some shine and reduce flyaway's.

    After all that work I generally wear my hair straight for one to two weeks without adding any additional heat. To maintain it, I either wrap it up at night with hairpins or do a low bun to get a curl in the morning without using heat. At the end of the day when it comes to straightening your hair I would recommend being careful. Don't assume that your flatiron needs to be at the highest setting to get your hair straight. Detangle well so you don't have to pass over your hair with heat too many times, and use a heat protector.



  9. My name is Whitney, I live in Calgary, Alberta, but claim the beautiful island of Jamaica to be my home. I am a recent university graduate striving to nurture my creativity. I am passionate about art and its many mediums of expression. Confession: I decided to give up the creamy-crack after watching Usher's Daddy's Home – gorgeous curly hair everywhere.



    "At one point I thought that my flatiron would be synonymous to the death of my hair."

    One of the things I love about being natural is the versatility I have. I am in no way obligated to maintain one look in particular, and I find that my whole style changes as I go from big curly hair to sleek polished hairstyles.

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