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Two of the most important hair styling tools in any kit provide straightening and shine benefits.
Some of the products provide individual benefits of either straightening and or shining while others offer a combination effect.
My Journey Towards Super Sleek Straight Hair
I am a relative newcomer to the world of long hair and long hair products. As a result, I just learned about three months ago that to get that super sleek, straight minimalist look seen on the runways, you have to blow your hair straight.
Even if its already straight! Big hair has always been a non-issue for me with my baby fine, non-too-voluminous locks. So this was an exciting discovery, a way to make the best use of my God-given texture.
Note: To view more hair photos of Jessica Simpson visit her Celebrity Hair Gallery.
Prior to this life altering knowledge however, I had been completely confounded as to why the models' hair was smooth and pretty and mine was just puffy, even though I have had "straight" hair all of my life.
The fashion magazines were certainly not forthcoming with this little tidbit of information. Mum was the word with my stylist too.
Then one day, as I was sitting in the chair, a young, similarly straight haired woman plopped down next to me and breezily told her stylist, "I'd like it trimmed and then blown out straight please."
My ears pricked up. What was this? Her stylist looked around warily lest anyone had overheard the young lady blasting this beauty secret around the salon.
Loose lips sink ships, you know. That was the beginning for me of a long voyage toward the perfect, straight 'do.
At the risk of further scandal, I am here to tell you that you don't have to be a model or have a fleet of exclusive New York hairdressers to get a great, straight look. All you need are the right products.
The Product Review
The antithesis of smooth straight hair is frizz. Frizz can be the natural texture of your hair, or it can result from dryness, breakage or over processing.
Job number one when fighting frizz is to put some heavy-duty moisture into your hair.
In addition to deep conditioning at least once a week, each time you shampoo you must use a good moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, followed with a light leave-in conditioner.
Blow dry hair section by section, applying a straightening balm to each section as you go.
Use a large round or paddle brush. If you are going to blow your hair straight you must get each section completely dry before moving on.
If you leave in even a little moisture, the strands tend to kink up again. Finally if you wish, use a glossing treatment.
Silicone Pros And Cons
Although I don't mind silicones in finishing products or balms, I do prefer to leave them out of the products from the shampooing stage to the leave-in conditioning stage, as I think of these products as my moisturizers, and the balms and finishers as my smoothers.
For now I will just review the balms and finishers. We'll save shampoos and conditioners for another time. I gave the products a star from one to five, with five being the best.
The Straightening Balms
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Hair straightening balms all have the same basic function. They are designed to hydrate and insulate strands from hot styling tools such as flat irons, hot rollers and how dryers. When hair is dressed with a straightening balm before heat styling, in most cases it will be sleek, frizz-free and have a great shine.
Balms are designed to help straighten naturally textured hair while hydrating it.
While straightening balms help prevent frizz, add hydration and help straighten, not all balms include the same ingredients and not all work for all hair types, textures, condition and length. Extremely damaged hair may not respond well to balms due to the condition of the hair cuticle.
Redken (One 2 One line) "Straight" Hair Straightening Balm
This product is designed for all hair types, naturally curly, frizzy, straight or permed.
It temporarily straightens and uncurls the hair without chemical action. It does not contain silicones.
Among other things, it contains Vitamin A and E, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Wheat Protein to protect hair structure.
As this product does not contain silicones, it relies on plant extracts and botanical gums to do the job.
No matter how much of this product I used, it never made my hair gunky or sticky. It did not add shine, or even condition a great deal, but it did make my hair very silky and straight and slightly protected.
It is basically fool-proof for those who find that products with silicones to be a little demanding.
***I gave it 3 stars. Approximate Retail Price-$12.47 USD for a 5 oz. Tube.
KMS "Flat Out" Straightening Balm
It made my hair straight and shiny and gave the strands just the right degree of weight. I did find that it took a few tries to get the correct amount of product though, as this one does contain silicones.
It took more care to get it right, but I felt it gave a very professional looking finish to my hair.
I had no problems using the product, in fact, I felt the silicones helped to seal the cuticle around my leave-in conditioner (Phyto 9) and made my hair look and feel much healthier.
****Four stars for this one. Approximate Retail Price- $17.00 USD for a 6.0 oz. Tube.
Edwin Paul Smoothing Lotion
This product is a new player in the straightening wars but is a great contestant. Karen has done a detailed review on this product with fabulous long lasting silky straight results on her naturally wavy hair.
I have to agree with Karen's results. This dark horse straightening product is fabulous. It does what it promises and made my hair silky straight and wonderfully shiny. My hair was not sticky or tacky. It felt light and airy on my hair.
This product comes in a very cool bottle and it is easy to squirt just a dab in to the palms of your hands.
Rub the gel/lotion into the palms of your hands first and then smooth down the shaft of your hair. Style as usual and viola, silky straightness.
****Super high marks of four stars for this one. This product will become a major player in the straightening wars.
Approximate Retail Price- $13.95 USD for a 5.7 oz. bottle that seems to last forever. Only available at HairBoutique.com
ARTec (Textureline) Textureshine
This product blends a gel and creme for pliable body, shine and control. It contains no wax or petroleum products or mineral oil. It is advertised as a weightless finisher for moisture-deprived hair.
This was my first finishing product. I liked it because it has a slight waxy feel and little sparkly flecks inside. It does control frizzy hair. However, one of the main ingredients is castor oil. There it must be used very sparingly.
It does not give my hair as much shine as I expect. In fact, I am more inclined to use this product as a straightening balm.
It would not be enough as a balm for very curly hair, but for my relatively straight hair, it gives enough weight to smooth my hair right down, and protects it as I blow dry.
This product gets * one star. Price- approximately $11.95 for a 2.64 oz. jar.
Sebastian Laminates Gel
This product is designed to give concentrated body and polished shine to the hair. This can also be added to other styling products to achieve the specific results you have in mind.
I originally bought this product to use as a gel to boost my roots and also to lightly smooth on the outside of my hair for shine. Although it is designed to give regular gel holding power, I found that to achieve that I had to use so much of the product that my hair looked greasy, as it does contain silicones.
There are two ways that I like to use this product, one is to rub a little between my palms and then smooth it onto my hair with a big blush brush.
The other is to mix it with a dab of John Frieda's Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Styling Crme and smooth it lightly over my hair. This gives a nice finish and good shine and conditions at the same time without a heavy or stringy look.
*** Three stars. Price- 18.29 for a 5.1 oz. Tube.
KMS Flat Out Stay Smooth Spray
My favorite. I prefer the spray products as finishers because I feel they are easier to control and they give a better shine than the products designed to be multi-functional.
Cosmopolitan magazine (February 1998) recommends the blush brush trick with this product as well, if you are leery of overdoing it.
This kept my hair sleek and smooth all day, despite the humidity. It even provided a little hold although I don't normally like hair spray.
*****Five Stars. This one is a keeper. Price- Approximately $10.50 USD for a 4.5 oz. Bottle.
Just because you have long hair doesn't mean that you are limited in the way that you can wear it. If your hair is long enough to braid, the French Braid is easy, beautiful and very versatile.
If you have long to super long hair you can play with a basic French braid and create a variety of looks from tucking the ends of the braid underneath the braid to wrapping the leftover tail into a soft bun. You are only limited by your imagination.
Gigi loves to write. She has a budding career as a free lance writer. This article is her second for HairBoutique.com. Her first article covered the KMS hair care products.
Gigi has described her hair as "essentially straight, but it is so dry and fine it tends to break, split and "puff" up without the right products". Which is why Gigi knew she was perfect to do this current review.
Since Gigi has a little gray, she colors it. She's been doing her own color for years and is quite the expert at it. She explained she started doing her own color because she was never happy with the way the salon did it.
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