As with any hair type, African-American hair can be a challenge if you aren’t sure how to take care of it. When you don’t want to deal with annoying curls, you have the option of straightening. Among the many methods, some do not want to subject their hair to chemicals contained in relaxers or fry their locks by using hot combs.
The great thing about using flat irons is that they are an easy and convenient way of smoothing curly strands of hair to get stick-straight locks. Of course, because it is a heated styling tool, you’ll have to be diligent about taking your hair care to the next level to ensure that your hair doesn’t get damaged further by the heat. In order to balance flat iron use with your hair’s needs, be sure to include a good quality thermal styling spray to protect your hair from the intense heat. With the right thermal styling products, your flat ironing practices won’t leave your hair dry, brittle and full of split ends. To keep your hair healthy over time, try to limit your use of flat ironing.
There are a variety of flat irons on the market to choose from, all within different price ranges. Many debates about which type of flat iron is better but a good rule of thumb to know is that ceramic flat irons are typically better for the hair than metal, which can be rough on the hair even though the appearance of metal flat irons can appear smooth. While ceramic irons are slightly more expensive, it is worth the money to make sure you aren’t harming your locks. Make sure to choose a flat iron that has adjustable settings so you can control how much heat you use.
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In addition to using a thermal styling spray, make sure to use hair oil that is designed for African-American hair in order to condition your locks and prevent breakage that can occur when heat is applied to the hair. There are also great straightening balms that can be used to not only condition your hair but make it manageable with styling after you’re done flat ironing it.
Once you’ve found the right flat iron for your hair care needs, prep your hair. You can flat iron your hair unwashed or after you’ve washed and conditioned it. If you opt to wash your hair first, be sure to do a good deep conditioning and afterward thoroughly dry your tresses. Never flat iron wet hair – you’ll only fry it. Use a blow dryer with a wide-toothed comb to get your hair as dry as possible. Next, section your hair off. Take each section of hair (1-2 inches wide is fine depending on the length and amount of hair you have), and spritz it with your thermal styling spray or add a light layer of straightening balm or oil.
Now take your flat iron and clamp it onto the hair as close to your scalp as you can without burning yourself. Gently glide the flat iron down your hair until you reach the ends. You may need to go over it one more time. Repeat this process until you’ve straightened all of your hair. Because the flat ironing process puts a lot of heat on your hair as it is, you should avoid putting any more heated styling tools (such as curling irons) on it for at least one or two days.