For naturals like myself, who do not mind applying heat to their hair, flat ironing can be a real treat. Flat ironing not only shows the ‘true length’ of your hair, but it adds some versatility to hair styling. However, one of the downsides of flat ironing natural hair is it can often revert back to kinky/coily pretty quickly. As a result, many naturals find that their flat ironed hair only lasts for a very short time. Below are the five tips I used to help keep my type 4 hair straight for SIX weeks:
Go To A Professional
One of the most important things to consider for your next flat ironing session is seeing a professional hair stylist. Of course, the challenge of finding one that you can trust to properly handle your hair will be a bit difficult. However, the results of your flat-ironed hair will be a lot better if done professionally. If you cannot afford to go to a salon or have trouble finding a stylist you trust, then the next best option would be to invest in a good professional flat iron (preferably one with heat control settings).
Best Time Of Year To Flat Iron
I have had the ‘itch’ to flat iron my hair since early last year. However, I purposely waited until the end of the year to straighten my hair. Why? Because it was winter time! Living in a state where summer, fall, and even spring months can get extremely hot and humid, winter time provided the best weather for helping me to maintain my straight hair. Winter means less sweating and less sweating means slower reversion.
Sleeping With Flat Ironed Hair
Another important factor to maintaining straight hair for an extended period of time is how you protect your hair when you sleep. Some people choose to wrap their straight hair to go to bed. However, while my hair was straight, I would put my hair in pin curls or use flexirods to keep my hair smooth and protected. I found that doing this helped to keep my hair ‘straight’, while adding loose waves for a more full look and minimizing reversion back to its kinky/coily state.
Minimal Product Use
In its natural kinky/coily state, type 4 hair requires lots of moisture, butters, oils, etc. I find myself applying some kind of heavy butter or cream at least once or twice per week when my hair is in its kinky state. However, applying these heavy butters and creams to your straightened hair will only weigh it down and decrease the length of time your hair remains straight. Instead of heavy products, opt for a light oil such as grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil. I applied a dime-sized amount of oil to my hair daily to help prevent dryness without weighing down my hair.
Humidity is the main reason straightened natural hair reverts quickly. So, while my hair was straight I had to remind myself to keep away from humidity whenever possible. This meant:
- Using a shower cap when taking showers (I usually don’t).
- Using an umbrella on rainy days (again, I don’t always care if my natural hair gets wet in the rain).
- Doing low intensity workouts whenever possible to minimize sweating. Also, using a sweatband during workouts to keep your edges flat and allowing your hair to completely dry before removing.
- If you must go swimming or to the beach, pin up your hair.
If you really want to get the most out of your flat-ironed hair and extend the length of time it is straight, then these tips may help. They helped me keep my hair straight for SIX weeks.
How long does your flat ironed hair usually last?