Straightening Hair – Professional flat ironing techniques

Tips on how to use a flat iron for straightening hair and which products and tools will give your hair that lasting salon-styled finish.

Firstly, smoothing products have a few important jobs:

-Protect hair from heat styling
-Relax curl and calm frizz
-Seal hair shaft to repel moisture
-Extend the life span of your styling efforts

Choosing products that perform their duty well will have a major impact on the results you get. Check out our tried and true recommendations for effective straightening products.

BEFORE DRYING

Look for products that contain thermal protecting ingredients to minimize the damage done by hot styling tools. Both of these great products do...

FINE to MEDIUM HAIR

Alterna Bamboo Style Pin Straight
Smoothing products can sometimes be quite heavy and weigh down fine hair. This one is lightweight and truly lives up to its promises. It leaves hair glossy and controls frizz while relaxing the curl pattern, making straightening a breeze.

MEDIUM to THICK HAIR

Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener
Just a dime sized amount of this glossy serum will smooth frizz and add shine. The best thing about it, besides the smell is that there’s zero crunch factor like some straightening products leave. You will not feel this product in the hair, just silky soft smoothness.

TIPS FOR DRYING HAIR BEFORE STRAIGHTENING

Prepare the hair by loosening curl while drying

Especially important for tight curls, and nearest the roots

Successfully straightening hair begins long before you plug in the flat iron. As with any hair styling endeavor, knowing your hair is key. If your hair tends to be frizzy, read our advice on combating the frizz!

Apply your chosen pre-dry product(s) and dry your hair using just your fingers first. Always aim the airflow away from your scalp to prevent tangles and fuzziness caused by roughing up the cuticle.

Once the hair is just slightly damp, anchor the brush into the root of a section of hair, concentrating the air flow from the dryer onto the paddle of the brush and follow through to the ends, moving both the brush and the dryer simultaneously. You aren’t aiming to completely straighten it at this point, just loosening and drying.

If you’re dealing with tight curl, angle the brush to keep some tension on the hair. The most important elements for success when straightening curly hair and eliminating frizz are HEAT and TENSION.

PRODUCTS FOR AFTER DRYING

Once the hair is dry, using a product to protect the hair from the heat of the flat iron is a good idea. This one by Goldwell will actually give your style more longevity by sealing down the hair cuticle to block out humidity. AND it provides protection from UVA/UVB damage. A win-win!

Lightly mist each section of hair just before running the flat iron over it.

USING A FLAT IRON

  • Adjust the heat setting on your tool for your hair type: fine hair = less heat, thick coarse hair = high heat
  • Avoid clamping down too hard at the root as this will create a visible starting line. Ease into it, adding more pressure as you begin moving the iron.
  • Smooth the iron through in a fluid motion, just as you would a brush. The plates should be in contact with the hair for as short a time as possible.
  • Run a comb or brush through each section just before the iron to ensure the piece is snag-free and ready for straightening. The last thing you want to do is press in tangles and knots!

GET THE RIGHT TOOLS

Hair dryer with direction nozzle
Paddle Brush with boar bristles for curly, coarse hair
– Flat, wide cushion brush for medium textured hair
Flat iron
Tail comb
– Large clips (for long hair)

SHORT HAIR

Use a narrow plated flat iron, or tongs. Dry your hair completely, then, holding small sections in a comb, slide the hair straightening iron in near the roots (watch your fingers!), clamp down and smooth through to the ends.

If your hair is slightly longer, you’ll need to clip the top layers out of the way and start underneath. Take sections at different angles for more texture. Also try clamping down only on the ends to create peaks and add interest.

LONG HAIR

Once the hair is completely dry, clip up the top sections leaving only a small strip at the nape of your neck. Hold the entire section over one shoulder and gently clamp the flat iron down within a few inches of the scalp, sliding the iron through to the ends.

Let your hair down in one inch sections all the way up the head (take the smallest sections in the very top). Apply product, smooth the comb through to the ends, then the iron. Let the piece fall and cool.

FINISHING

Straight, textured hairNow is the time for a smoothing, or texturizing product to provide the finishing touches to your work.

To seal in shine and repel humidity or fight static, use a light pomade.

For a roughed up look with more texture, opt for a wax, putty or paste.

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