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How To Straighten Curly Hair

Last Updated on December 22, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

How To Straighten Curly Hair:

Now I’m a curly girl myself, and I absolutely love my naturally curly hair; I love caring for my curls and trying new hairstyles for my curls, but sometimes I get super bored of the same look and fancy straightened hair.

So if you feel this way, it’s not because you hate your natural curls but want something different.

Since natural hair is the most fragile hair type of them all, it is crucial that you complete the right prep before you straighten curly hair, such as moisturizing the ends and never forgetting heat protectant.

But I know achieving that straight hair look with curly hair is no easy task; it requires a lot of time and patience and a good quality flat iron up for the job.

Now wait, let me tell you something:

To make life easier for you, I have created an in-depth list of all my top tips and tricks to straightening curly hair with minimal damage and some tips on making straight hair last longer.

Here’s a pro tip before we get started: the products you use will either make or break for making curly hair straight; if you use the wrong products for your hair porosity, then it will just lead to frizzy hair.

So stay tuned; you won’t want to miss this.

curly hair striaght

How To Straighten Curly Hair Without Frizz:

Since curly hair is the top culprit of frizz, it can be quite a challenge to straighten this hair type using flat irons. It’s all about prepping your hair with the right products for your hair beforehand and using the right technique for minimal damage.

Here’s how you do it!

Step One: Apply A Treatment Mask Beforehand:

The first thing you’ll want to do is prep your hair for straightening, so hop on into the shower and shampoo and condition your hair. You’ll want to do a shampoo over co-washing your hair when using a flat iron as you want all the excess oils to be washed away.

But since you are straightening hair with high temperatures, I recommend doing a deep conditioning treatment mask beforehand.

So hop in the shower, give your hair a rinse and a good message under the running water for a minute or two, turn off the shower and squeeze out any excess water. Then apply your hair mask all over your hair and leave it on for 20-30 minutes.

You can wrap up your hair in a microfiber towel that’s specific for treatments, so the mask really penetrates those curly tresses. This will help add a protective barrier from the flat iron heat.

Step Two: Shampoo & Condition:

Next up is to wash your hair using your loo-poo sulfate-free shampoo. When choosing a sulfate-free shampoo for your curly hair, make sure you choose one that is right for your hair porosity and curl type— it actually makes a world of difference.

If you’re not sure why you should switch to a sulfate-free shampoo with curly hair, it is because sulfates can be very stripping to the hair, stripping the hair of its natural oils. While this may be brilliant for those with oily scalps, since curly hair is already the driest hair type, this can make curls more prone to damage.

Use a moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo and hydrating conditioner; we want to retain as much moisture as possible as your hair is more likely to get damaged when it is dry.

Apply your conditioner and leave it on for a minute or two while you wash your body and shave whatever you have left in the shower. I personally prefer to start detangling with my fingers while the conditioner is on too, this helps with the detangling afterward.

If you have high porosity hair, I would also recommend doing a cool rinse at the end; this should help seal the cuticle– high porosity hair is most prone to heat damage as the cuticle is not lying flat.

Step Three: Apply Leave-In Conditioner & Heat Protectant:

While your hair is still dripping wet in the shower, this is when you should apply your leave-in conditioner. Leave in conditioners to create a seal over your hair strand and help create a barrier over the cuticle to lock in moisture.

The leave-in conditioner will help moisturize and smooth your hair strands, and the heat protectant will protect your hair while styling; apply your leave-in conditioner to wet hair and your heat protectant to damp hair.

They work best when your hair is soaking wet as they soak up all the water particles to help retain moisture in the ends of your hair; if you’re not using a leave-in conditioner every time you wash your curly hair, you absolutely should be.

Once you’ve applied the leave-in conditioner, start to detangle your strands using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling wet brush— whatever detangling tool that works on detangling your curly hair without snagging or pulling.

You can towel dry the ends of your hair so your hair isn’t dripping, and applies your heat protectant. Whatever you do, never apply heat or use a flat iron on curly hair without a heat protectant; it will just cause damage and breakage.

Your heat protectant is the most crucial thing you should remember, especially when using flat irons. Our hair strands are very similar to our skin; while we cannot feel it burning our strands, it does equally as much damage over time. 

All the other steps are irrelevant if you don’t use a heat protectant. If you don’t use a heat protectant, your hair will become very dry, brittle, and prone to damage and breakage, along with frizz and tangling. 

Also, remember to apply a heat protectant that can protect your hair up to the heat of your flat iron temperature; some heat protectants only protect hair against blow dryer heat rather than flat iron heat.

I would also recommend using a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt over your regular cotton or terry cloth towel. Your cotton towel can actually cause a lot of damage to your natural hair as well as cause frizz.

Step Four: Let your hair naturally dry 50%

Blow-drying soaking wet hair actually causes the most damage as the wetter the hair strand, the more fragile it is. If you have some time on your hands, it’s best to let your hair air dry for half an hour to an hour before going in with your blow dryer.

You can either leave hair drying for a little while or just rough blow-dry your hair on a cool setting using a back and forth technique until your hair is 80% dry and leave it to naturally dry for the last 20%.

Especially with curly hair, you want the least amount of damage on your hair as possible, so you can either wrap your hair up in a microfiber towel for 30 mins to an hour and then blow-dry.

Step Five: Blow Dry In Sections:

So once you’ve left your hair to naturally dry for a little while, use your paddle brush or round brush to try and blow dry those curls as smooth as possible. You may need a medium/high heat to do this but try to keep the temperature as low as possible when drying.

The best way to smooth out curly hair is to work in sections; starting underneath, use 2-inch sections, or even smaller if you have very thick, coarse curls. Combination bristles are brilliant for creating tension and smoothing the cuticle without the frizz.

Be patient for this step, as the smoother your hair is before you use a flat iron, the better.

Step Six: Section Your Hair:

Now you’ve blow-dried your curls straight, they may be looking a little bit poofy, but if you use the right products, your hair should still be manageable. The smaller the sections, the better, as it saves running over the same section multiple times.

Sectioning your hair is hair straightening 101; it will leave you time and cause less damage in the long run as you’re not scorching the strands.

Split your hair in the middle at the back and bring it forward; starting underneath, use a tail comb to section your hair into one-inch sections.

The number of sections you do will all depend on the thickness of your hair; if you have quite fine hair, then working with 2-inch sections will be better, but if you have quite thick, unruly curls, then 1-inch sections will be better.

Pin or clip up all the sections you’re not using and straighten each section; either pin your hair on top of your dead or behind your shoulders.

Step Seven: Clamp the Straightener, Using A Comb To Guide Through:

For minimal damage, you want to be sure that the straightener glides over your hair rather than snagging or pulling. I like to run the comb through each section before, and when running the straightener over, this ensures each section is smooth. 

Start as close to your root as possible, and while I would only recommend running the straightener over each section, I know this isn’t realistic, so try to stick to 2-3 times. 

Smaller sections will mean that you won’t need to run it over with the flat iron as much. Try to be gentle and not snag or pull on strands; you should try to glide the plates over your hair rather than drag it. 

Since curly hair is quite textured, by working in small sections, you can help glide the flat iron over the ends of your hair using the comb; this will prevent disrupting the hair strand and causing frizz.

Step Eight: Apply Serum Or Oil:

Once you’ve gone over every section with the flat iron, make sure you apply a hydrating serum or oil to the ends, this will help restore hydration to the ends, along with providing a protective barrier to help keep your hair straighter for longer and not frizzy from the humidity. 

This step is super important on curly hair as, without it, your hair will start to curl back up the next day, and the hour or two spent using the flat iron will be wasted.

Apply a couple of pumps of oil or serum and rub it in between your fingers for a couple of sections and gently comb it through the mid-lengths and ends; this should leave your ends looking shiny and luscious. 

For a little extra hold, you can also apply hair spray afterward, spraying from a distance so it doesn’t leave a greasy residue.

how to straighten curly hair

Tips For Straightening Curly Hair:

There are a few tips and tricks to consider when straightening natural hair to keep curls in good condition and to prevent damaging the natural curl shape; here are a few tips:

Use A Straightener With Customisable Heat Settings

Having a flat iron with customizable heat settings is brilliant as you can lower the heat if you have quite damaged hair for less damage. GHD’s are set at 365ºf, ideal for normal hair but may not be ideal for fine, damaged hair. 

For extra thick curly hair, the ideal temperature is between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature to smooth your hair and straighten coarse curls– don’t forget your heat protectant!

Only Style Bone Dry Hair:

Your hair should be bone dry before you straighten, and if your hair has a greasy residue, then you might want to evaluate the products you are using.

The straightener will also boil the product into the hair follicle, which can be particularly damaging, especially if it contains alcohol which can strip moisture from your strand.

If you have quite thick, coarse hair, you can also apply a little extra heat protectant after blow-drying your hair for that added protection; it will be likely that the heat protectant will be absorbed into your hair and may need a top-up after drying, especially if you have high porosity hair.

That being said, if you have high porosity hair, make sure you apply your gels, creams, serums, or oils to the ends of your hair along with the heat protectant before drying to help smooth the cuticle and help close the cuticle.

Choose The Right Brush:

The brush you use may actually be the culprit for frizz and damage when you use a flat iron if you don’t have naturally straight hair anyway.

It is recommended that you use boar bristles with nylon as the boar bristles help to smooth and polish, while the nylon helps to detangle and separate your hair as you work through knots.

It will run over the texture of your hair easily, without snagging, pulling, or disrupting the hair cuticle– which is key when trying to smooth curly hair.

curly hair type 4


 So there you have it, how to straighten curly hair. Whether you fancy straightened hair as a change or want to do something different with your hair, knowing how to straighten your hair properly.

Having the right heat styling tools, hair dryer, and hair products will be sure to speed up the straightening process for less heat exposure.

Just remember to apply your heat protectant product and moisturizing styling products to help retain moisture and prevent frizz and heat damage and enjoy!

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[Review] in 2022  written by nail expert Jess RowleyCheck out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px"...

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