Even though you were blessed with a head of natural curls or waves, you may have lusted after silky stick straight hair all of your life. OK. Your special hair day is fast approaching and you want to make a grand entrance at your Prom, Wedding, fill in the blanks, special event.
You may have cried on everyone's shoulders about your horrible curls and waves and how they just won't behave.
No matter what. you're determined to have silky straight locks for your big day. Is it possible and if so, what are your options?
Although I prefer to preach the gospel of "love the hair you were given", I sympathize with the desire to have an absolutely fabulous new look for that once-in-a-lifetime day.
I can't begin to tell you how many brides, Prom goers and special event attendees that have emailed me with promises of their first born if I could just guide them to instant straight and shiny locks.
Hair Straightening Options
Well first of all, hang on to the firstborns. Secondly, altering the condition or texture of your hair doesn't necessarily come easily. So lets examine the options so you can make an informed opinion.
1. Temporary straightening - This involves a good straightening balm (like Mine's Smoothing Lotion or similar temporary straightening products) and a few other handy tricks with shampoo, conditioners and the right blow dryer.
This straightening process can be done, but it is definitely temporary until your next shampoo or until you hair gets wet (rain, a dip in the pool or similar water experience).
2. Non-Toxic Relaxing Method - There are methods of relaxing the hair that involves non-toxic chemicals. These methods work like their chemical cousins. The Miano-Viel Salon and Spa in Midtown Manhattan (212-980-3222) has a special secret treatment created by Minako that turns super curls into soft straight locks or waves. The good news is that the treatment has been working for many curly and wavy headed clients for several years.
3. Relaxing Hair With Chemicals - This is the least drastic chemical approach. It costs a lot more money than buying a smoothing balm or lotion and usually requires help from a stylist to guarantee good results. Yes, you can do it at home, but there are more risks. http://www.hairboutique.com/tips/articles.php?f=tip814.htm
4. Chemical Straightening - This involves strong chemicals and is not temporary or even simple. Because of the type of chemicals utilized it is required that an expert apply the solution.
Do you have any other options? If you want to wear your hair straight and down your only other option is to find a gorgeous long straight wig.
Straightening Steps For Temporary Sleekness
Now that you know the options, if you still want to wear your naturally curly or wavy hair straight for a special day or evening, let me suggest that you go for the temporary straightening options.
It may not be as easy as you might like to accomplish but it does minimize long term risk to your hair. If you are trying to grow your hair longer it is not a good idea to utilize a blow-dryer for anything but occasional experiences. However, if you do it right and deep condition after the fact, using a dryer to temporarily straighten you hair should prove minimally harmful.
Believe it or not, people with naturally curly hair have emailed me after a straightening experience to ask for their curls back. Sorry. Once they're gone, only growing will restore them. It is also important to remember that thinning or fine hair may not turn out as stick straight as you like.
STEP 1 - Shampoo or cleanse your tresses with a clarifying product or shampoo formulated for normal hair. Avoid heavy moisturizing shampoos since they tend to weigh hair down. This prevents hair from achieving fullness and movement.
STEP 2 - Avoid using a rinse out conditioner unless your hair tangles easily or you have damaged ends. If you need a conditioner, use as little as possible of a light conditioner and concentrate its use on the ends or damaged parts of your hair only.
STEP 3 - Rinse shampoo and any conditioning products well. Finish with a cool to cold water rinse. This will help to close the hair cuticle and help the hair attain natural shine.
STEP 4 - Be prepared to "layer" hair care products. Use a light detangling spray on any dry or damaged ends and any part of the hair that naturally tangles. Spray the detangler into the palms of your hands and then smooth lightly over the tops of your hair, on the damaged tangle parts or on the ends. Go lightly with the detangler to avoid weighing hair down unnecessarily.
STEP 5 - Start at the front of your head, near the forehead and part your hair towards the back of your neck. Using a wide-toothed comb or large pick, carefully part and separate your hair into 4-6 equal parts of hair thickness.
Special Tip: If you have thin and/or fine hair, you will probably only need 4 sections. If you have thick and/or full hair, you will probably need 6 sections.
STEP 6 - Next, coat each individual section of hair with a good temporary straightening aid, such as Mine's Smoothing Lotion or similar hair product. Be sure to apply the balm or gel to your hands first and then apply with your fingers to get an equal distribution of the product. Apply a little more straightening lotion on the curliest or waviest parts of your hair.
STEP 7 - After you have applied the smoothing lotion secure each of the individual hair sections with a fat jaw clip. Separate your hair on each side of a part into two top and tow bottom chunks. It is important to wind your hair sections into small tight twists. The hair twists will retain moisture and thus prevent your hair from air drying and becoming unruly. The tighter the twist, the more moisture your hair holds. This process guarantees maximum blow dryer straightening potential and even drying.
STEP 8 - Use either a small round or paddle style boars head brush to straighten each individual section. Use a blow dryer set on a warm setting. Avoid using the hottest setting to minimize hair damage. Carefully work on each individual section of your hair at a time. Use the brush to pull the section of hair straight at the ends. Keeping the airflow directed downward, move the blow dryer back and forth to prevent directing hot air to any part of your hair for more than a few seconds. This will also minimize any potential heat damage.
Special Tip: As you blow dry your hair, always be sure to direct the air flow of the blow dryer from the roots down towards the ends. This will smooth the hair cuticle and help it remain straighter.
STEP 9 - For extra hair shimmer add a tiny drop of shine product to the palms of your hands and then glide carefully over the newly dry section. Softly and loosely clip the dried section into place to hold its shape.
STEP 10 - After every section of your hair has been dried and allowed to completely cool, use either a straightening iron on each section to guarantee total sleekness. If you prefer you can use large hot or Velco rollers (at least 3 inches in diameter) to lock in some body and movement. Remember, whenever you use hot hair tools, avoid direct scalp contact to avoid potential burns. Do not place heated appliances right next to your scalp.
STEP 11 - If you use hot or Velcro rollers be sure so spray a light setting lotion on each section of hair before you wrap it around the roller. Lock the roller in place and let them cool while you finish getting ready. Wait until the last possible minute to remove the curlers.
At The Finish Line
If you are going to a wedding or a Prom and have some privacy, throw a huge scarf on top of the rollers and wear them in the car to the hall or the church. If you can sneak into the hall or church with the curlers intact and remove them just before you make your grand entrance, even better.
If not, then wait until the last possible minute to finish your hair. If you used rollers, take them out. Brush lightly through your hair.
Don't overdo the brushing or else it can disturb your beautiful new set. Carefully flip your head over, and spray underneath your hair with a light hair spray. Then flip your head back and spray it again. Spraying your hair upside down will give it a lot more volume and holding power.
Remember to use your fingers to carefully arrange your hair and limit your use of a brush or comb that can disturb the look. Be sure to spray your entire head with a good shaping spray. Don't forget to check the back of your do. Use a mirror to make sure your beautiful straight locks fall evenly throughout the back of your head.
Special Tip: Avoid using faux flowers in your hair when possible. Real flowers look more elegant and much softer than fake ones. The only time to use faux flowers is when they are very small, like tiny hair jewels. Remember Baby's Breath is currently out of fashion.
If you spot a few escaped hairs don't panic. Just apply a light spritz of spray onto your hands and run them over the sprays.
To be safe, tuck a bottle of hairspray into your purse for last minute fix-ups. (Phytolaque and Phytolaque Soie will fit neatly into most purses). What did I tell you. You're absolutely stunning with sleek straight locks. Enjoy!
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Original Publication Date: 07/20/01 - Revised Date: 07/28/10