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Straightening Natural Hair Safely (6 Tips To Help You Avoid The Damage)

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Sometimes it’s nice to be able to do something a little different with your hair.  As much as we all love our luscious locs its nice to be able to switch things up every now and again.

Straightening your natural hair can be a way to do this.

I know some people don’t think you should straighten your hair when you are natural and part of that belief comes from the fact that when you straighten your natural hair you can cause damage to your curls.

The good news is that it is possible to straighten your hair without causing any damage at all.

There are several ways that you can straighten your hair both with and without the use of heat.


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Should you straighten your hair?

I think if you feel the need to straighten your natural hair then you should.  One thing I have noticed during my time of being natural is that every now and again I need to do something a little different.

I have found that when I ignore that feeling I can start to get incrediably frustrated with my hair and if I am not careful I can actually end up causing more damage than I intended too.

If you feel the need for a change then you should do it so that you don’t get met with boredom and frustration.


How to prevent heat damage when straightening natural hair


1. Always use a low heat setting

If you are opting to blow dry your hair make sure you do it on a low heat setting.

Blow drying your hair expels water from your hair so if you blow-dry on a high heat setting you are potentially speeding up the process of expelling water and having your hair dry for a longer than needed period of time.

By blow-drying your hair on a much lower setting, you make the process of losing moisture slower meaning your hair will retain much more moisture and thus having less potential for damaged hair.


2. Allow your hair to partially naturally dry

Allowing your hair to partially dry before you straighten it means that you can have less exposure to heat.  

Less exposure means less chance of your hair becoming damaged in the straightening process.


3. Use other means of straightening

There are lots of ways that you can straighten your hair besides using heat. These methods may take longer but they can have the same desired effect without the potential damage.

Some of these methods are African threading, roller set, curlformers and banding are just some the ways you can achieve this.


Straightening natural hair


4. Use a heat protectant

Using a heat protectant is a must if want to straighten your hair. 

A heat protectant basically provides cover so that your hair is not exposed to excessive heat.

We have all seen the pictures of people who have heat damage and using a heat protect like this one can help you to prevent that.



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5. Start on freshly washed hair

If you are going to straighten your natural hair then its best to start on freshly washed hair so there is no product build-up.

Having a lot of product on your hair before you straighten it can cause your hair to fry from the oils and butters that you may have previously used.

You don’t want that so make sure you have clarified your hair before you begin.

If you don’t want to use a shampoo to clarify your hair you can try this product as it is it much less harsh than regular shampoo.


6. Deep condition

It’s best to always plan in advance if you are going to straighten your natural hair.

Doing this will make you better prepared and ensure you don’t make any mistakes.

Deep conditioning really is a must if you are considering straightening natural hair because it ensures your hair is well moisturised before you begin the straightening process.

The more you can do to ensure your hair stays well moisturised the safer your curls will be from damage when you do straighten it.


How to straighten natural hair


1. Start by washing your hair

To begin with start by washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove all product build-up.

If you have minimal build-up you might be able to get away with simply co-washing.  If you are unsure then its best to use a clarifying shampoo to be sure.


2. Deep condition

Deep condition your hair to make sure your hair is absorbing as much moisture as possible.

Be sure to leave the deep conditioner on your hair for the recommended amount of time as per the manufacturer’s instructions.


3. Use an old Tshirt

Never towel dry your hair as it will soak up too much water from your hair.

Instead, you want to use an old t-shirt or a microfibre towel to soak up the excess water from your hair instead.


4. Section your hair

Put your hair into smaller sections as this makes it easier to manage.


5. Use a leave-in conditioner

Use a really good lightweight leave-in conditioner.  You don’t want to use anything too heavy that will cause your hair to fry when you straighten it.


6. Blow-dry on a low heat setting

Begin to blow dry your hair on a low heat setting one section at a time.

The best way to blow dry it is to use the tension method where you firmly hold your hair so it is as straight as possible.

Then use the blow dryer away from your hair in a downward motion.

Blowdrying your hair this way reduces the need for excessive direct heat but will still help to straighten your hair.


7. Use a flat iron

If after you have blowdried your hair you still feel it is not straight enough for you you can go one step further by using a flat iron.

If you want to be really cautious try only passing the flat iron through your hair once only.

For the best results make sure your hair is in very small sections.


Final thoughts on straightening natural hair 

Once you have straightened your hair you can maintain it by wrapping your hair at bedtime and sleeping on a satin pillowcase.

As long as you take the right precautions when you straighten your hair you don’t have to worry about getting heat damage.


Don’t forget to join my new Facebook group where you can ask all your questions.  See you there!


Related posts:

Co-wash vs shampoo and conditioner

How to deal with dry hair and lock in moisture

How to tell if your hair is damaged

Straightening natural hair


How to straighten natural hair