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5 Must‐Have Ingredients For Flat Ironing Natural Hair

Avatar • Jan 31, 2014

I know firsthand that heat damage is too real. This may seem like a lot of products....I mean it IS, but for me they're necessary. I'll be breaking down why I select them all on the blog soon. There are some pretty choice ingredients to look for when seeking to prevent heat damage -- hydrolyzed protein, centrimonium chloride and glycerin to name a few.<br /> I'm only a little more than halfway done flat ironing (sigh), but my hair is moisturized, soft, full of body, and protected. Video + blog post coming soon! #operationstraighthair #productjunkieproblems

Every time I straighten my hair, I go on the hunt for the perfect heat protectant. Not because what I have doesn’t work, but because there are always new developments on the scientific front in terms of products that are used specifically for heat straightening. Every time I watch YouTube videos of other naturals straightening their hair, they use at max, 3 products. No shade, but I would never. Although it may seem counterintuitive to use a hodgepodge of products on the hair, I would rather err on the side of overzealous caution than to risk heat damage.

Stop right there. I know what some of you are thinking: “If you don’t want to risk heat damage, don’t straighten your hair.” I agree except for the fact that it is my hair, and I enjoy rocking straight hair from time to time. This article is not for the more iron‐fisted naturals that don’t believe in stretching, blowing out, flat ironing or even coloring the hair from time‐to time. This piece is for the more free‐spirited natural, who believes that you can do everything (except relax, lol) in moderation and still have gorgeous, healthy natural hair. For me, that thing in particular is heat. Every 3 to 5 months, I like to straighten my hair. It just so happened that straightening fell within the same month of me getting my Deva Cut. I was anxious to know what shape my hair would take when straight. Spoiler alert: I was pleasantly surprised.

Now back to the matter at hand. I cringe a little when people recommend grapeseed oil or some other high smoke point oil to me as their holy grail heat protectant. I understand, do what works for you by all means! However, after transitioning for nearly 2 years from severe heat damage, I can’t leave my tresses up to fate and a little culinary mojo! Besides, a high smoke point does not necessarily translate into heat protection. The smoke point of an oil is simply the temperature at which an oil begins to break down into glycerols and free fatty acids and inevitably produce smoke. It is also the temperature at which said oil begins to degrade nutritionally. This does not mean protection for your hair. In my mind, oil + high heat = cooking. I’m sure there’s a scientific article somewhere to back this up (maybe not, haha), but I’d rather not cook my hair. I’d like to protect it from being cooked.

Check out this video where I break down each product I’m using and what ingredients it brings to the flat ironing table (another spoiler alert: I ditch the L’Oreal Color Vibrancy). For those who want the short version, the 5 ingredients are Protein (to prevent stress to the hair), Propylene Glycol and Glycerin (for moisture), Cetrimonium Chloride (to increase tensile strength), and Silicones (to smooth the hair.)

What are your heat straightening must‐have products? Do they contain any of the must‐have ingredients?

For more transitioning and natural hair tips from Christina, check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

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About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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JENNID
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JENNID

Oh my as one of those iron fist naturals I read this aritcle an was like “oh no she didn’t”. But its cool to each her own. This is good info though. I use to press my hair years ago often and I didn’t make that much of a fuss over products. The best advice is to make sure your hair is in really good condition before you flat iron, make sure you are flat ironing clean hair, and watch those weekly touch ups. Touch ups are where most people get heat damage. A good product rec is organix argan… Read more »

Tabatha
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Tabatha

Well of course I use a leave in conditioner, but all I use right before I flat iron is Garnier’s Heat protectant spray and I use a brush instead of the comb method. It works better for me.

Brianne
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Brianne

Thank you so much for this information. I haven’t straightened my hair in the almost three years I’ve been natural, but I will one day. I plan on being highly informed on the science behind heat protection when I do. No plain grapeseed oil for me either. I appreciate you sharing the information. It will save me time in doing research. Between you and Jc, I am in good hands when it comes to the science of hair.

holly shit
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holly shit

Did she get bigger! Poor girl!

J.Nicole
Guest

If only I had that info months ago. I went on a flat iron bender from late August until early this month and I’m working to get my curls back. While I have no plans to flat iron my hair for at least another month or two, I’ll have to keep this in mind.

B
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B

Free spirit here! Very helpful info I am on the hunt for a good heat protectant. I an a bit freaked out by using any oil on my hair when I straightened, cause like you I am just thinking about it cooking my hair, so when I straighten I don’t use an oil prior to straighten, just a leave in and heat protectant.

Elle Dixon
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Elle Dixon

You’re funny (stop right there) but I agree. I love to switch my natural up as well and yes when I flat iron, I intend it to look the way my mom did it for me as a child, bone straight. Skinny serum and clear Jazzing (processed before washing with a heat cap) always give me the very best results.

Mel Stevens
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Mel Stevens

I use the pro naturals moroccan argan oil hair treatmentafter I’m done straightening my hair to give it some more shine and a healthy look!

Mateland
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I go back and forth from curly to straight all the time. I make sure to wash with a gentle non‐stripping conditioning cleanser first to start with clean conditioned hair. Then I flat iron using a hair moisturizer made from an organic food grade coconut oil. I never get heat damage and when I wash and condition, my curls pop right back. The products I use can be found at http://www.mysistersnatural.com. I’ve been using them exclusively for over a year.

Tracy Scott
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Tracy Scott

Now that I’m transitioning, I see that deep conditioning first and NO heat protectant or leave in gives me the best silky results; completely against everything is previously did. No hair smoking and no proofing later and I live in rainy Portland.

Jo
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Jo

I’ve been seeking for 2 heat protectants that do not test on animals. I know Tresemme does not, but I think their suppliers do. 🙁

imani
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imani

I’ve recently learned how to use my garment steamer to straighten my hair. The key for me seems to be my leave‐in curl product followed by my oil concoction I made up of coconut ‚grapeseed,shea butter,evoo& aragan oils. It works wonders. Keeps my hair moisturized,soft & manageable for as long as I choose to wear it straight.

Kate
Guest

I was tired of straightening my hair after every shower. Hopefully these ingredients can make my hair stronger (after years of flat ironing it). btw I read somewhere that lemon juice does a great job of protecting the hair. Gonna try them.

shayshay
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shayshay

Where did you read about lemon juice, and how exactly is that supposed to work? (Curious, not sarcastic.)

Cearra
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Cearra

I just stop after blowdrying because I like that look more and my hair’s too thick for all that. I use leave in and a heat protectant and oil after I’m done 🙂

imani
Guest
imani

I recently started straightening my hair again my technique has changed because I’m trying to experiment with what works best and what gives me the least heat damage. I’ve decided to follow my usual DC with my usual leave‐in curl product.my new theory is “how to keep my hair mositurized while wearling it stright”. My leave‐in ingred are very moisturizing so why eleiminate them. I know any natural humectants will cause reversion but I also don’t want or need “bone straight” hair. I feel I should be sealing moisture IN with my oil. Once I let it dry overnight in… Read more »

Victoria
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Victoria

I also like using Redken anti‐snap. I use it for my curly and straight hair as it’s a leave in protein treatment with heat protectant.

Catherine
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Catherine

It’s a terrible idea to put glycerin in your hair for both flat‐ironing and blow drying. It will bring moisture into your hair, increasing frizz and pouffiness, things you are obviously trying to avoid considering you are flat‐ironing. I know from experience.

E.C. from D.C.
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E.C. from D.C.

I’ve been reading 10 Miracle Plus Keratin is good.

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