Since I first did the Big Chop in 2013, I’ve fully straightened my hair twice, and I’ve straightened leave-out sections maybe three times. As my hair grows longer, I’m drawn more and more to the flatiron because it can be frustrating to know that my hair is growing but not get to see the length every day because of shrinkage. For my current protective style, I have to straighten the front of my hair pretty regularly. Before deciding on a straight style, I had to consider a few important things:
Heat Damage is REAL
When you straighten your hair there is a possibility of altering your hair pattern permanently. As shown in the image above, chemically processed hair is more susceptible to this, but it’s something that everyone has to watch out for. Natural hair in particular often requires more heat to create a bone-straight sleek look. To avoid heat damage, make sure to use a good heat protectant prior to applying heat. Another trick is to blow dry your hair on a cool setting rather than hot, before using the flat iron.
Sometimes people mistake heat damage for curl diversity or “heat training.” I honestly think this method is a myth. Using heat to train your hair into loosening its curl pattern is essentially attempting to get heat damage, and is not a reliable method of creating uniform curls. If you are looking to create a specific curl pattern, try a healthy twist-out or braid-out!
Straight hair can sometimes = Flat hair
When you straighten your hair with the right tools, you can achieve that bone straight look you rocked back in your relaxer days. The down side to this is that it’s often a huge shock to go from a voluminous afro to flat and sleek hair. For people with thin hair, this change may seem even more drastic. You should know what you’re in for before pulling out that flatiron!
Durability and Products
How long do you want the style to last? Do you plan to straighten it periodically? If you plan to keep your hair straight for a significant amount of time, your hair products will have to change. You’re going to want to shift from water based products to products that are oil based. An easy way to check this is to look at the ingredients list. If water or “aqua” is listed first, the product is water based, and can revert your curls.
There are also a number of products like this one that are not permanent, but claim to keep your hair straight for longer period of time. I’ve never tried them so I can’t recommend them, but if you’ve given them a try let me know in the comments how it went for you!
Your Nighttime Routine
When I straighten my hair, I like for it to still have a bit of bounce. Rather than sleep in an uncomfortable roller set or use a curling iron daily, I use Bantu Knots to get my desired look. Check out my quick video below on how I use Bantu Knots to get waves in my straightened hair.