From which tools to use to the technique you need to keep in mind, here’s how you can get straight hair without any frizz, breakage or split ends
Whether it’s a sleek ponytail for a board meeting, or swishy strands for a night out about town, the versatility of glossy, poker-straight hair can help you jump seamlessly from one event to the next. But using heated straightening tools on your hair regularly, especially when done the wrong way, can damage your hair cuticle and make your tresses look dry. It can also further lead to breakage, split ends and hair fall. “Like many things, too much of a good thing can be bad. And when it comes to ironing your hair straight, the less you do it, the stronger the impact of the look. It’s also less damaging to your hair. Excessive hair straightening can have a lasting impact on your hair, but infrequent use, good knowledge and professional tools can go a long way [in avoiding that],” says Daniel Bauer, a celebrity hair stylist who has worked with the likes of Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. Here’s what you need to know if you love straightening your hair often.
The golden rule, says Bauer, is to never straighten damp or wet hair. This can effectively burn your hair as the hot plates from the straightening iron cause the moisture to steam, and this leads to permanent hair damage. Always ensure that your hair is bone dry before using a hot tool. When asked about the products he recommends, Bauer says, “You can’t go wrong with BaByliss or GHD—they are simply the best for a reason. I’ve used the Dyson AirWrap, which is also great, and gives a more naturally straight hair look. For those who have super fine baby hair or a layered haircut, it’s also worthwhile investing in a mini straightening tool.” Heated straightening brushes like Dyson and Dafni will only smooth your hair instead of leaving it super-straight.
Once you’ve found the tool of your choice, you’ll need to concentrate on your prep. “It’s not the quantity of product that you apply to your hair, but how you apply it. If you follow the pre- and post-straightening ritual right, your hair will stay straight longer without much damage,” says Warren Josserand, creative director, Jean-Claude Biguine Salon and Spa. Josserand suggests you could use any nourishing shampoos, conditioner, mask or serum on your hair before ironing it straight as you don’t just need to de-frizz, but also settle the baby hairs. Follow this with a heat protecting spray. “A must-use for any type of heat styling is a robust heat protector. Backstage at fashion shows, I prefer using the TRESemmé Thermal Creations heat protection spray; it’s pretty versatile for tonging and straightening,” says Bauer.
If you wish to extend the life of your straight hair, you could also use a light hair spray such as the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray or a Wella System Professional anti-frizz spray before you start ironing. This might make your hair slightly stiff but it will also keep it in place for long days. “You could also try L’Oréal Professional Mythic Oil for pre- or post-care. But just use one drop of any serum. First pour it on your hand and then rub it through,” says Josserand, warning that one shouldn’t apply these products on the roots as that could leave the hair looking sticky.
“When it comes to the technique, clamp the straightener around small sections, leaving around a one- to two-finger width distance away from your scalp, to avoid burning both your hair and your head. Firmly hold the straightener and glide it down your hair till the ends. Keep the motion moving and never stop or pause mid-section to avoid frying your hair. To help replenish your hair’s natural levels, use a conditioner on your hair to help get it back to its natural texture,” says Bauer. If you see smoke arising from your hair, stop and let the hair cool down before resuming. And if you wish to add a slight bounce on the crown, give your wrist a twist as you move the straightener down.
Prefer to only use a straightener for maintenance? Choose an in-salon treatment that will keep your hair smooth for up to four months. “Opt for treatments such as QOD Brazilian Keratin Straightening or Brasil Cacau. Compared to chemical straightening, where your hair can grow back frizzy at the roots, these treatments wash out and grow the hair naturally,” concludes Josserand.