When it comes to hair, there is something very covetable about long, sleek, shiny, straight hair. It is not only a favourite at the runways, it is also a style that looks great with everything from a dress to denim jeans. Thanks to straightening irons, every woman can achieve pencil straight locks without having to make a trip down to the salon. But if you’ve welded one of those at-home clamping irons, you’d probably have heard or experienced some not-too-pleasant encounters at one time or another. After all, you’re working with a tool at very high temperature – hot enough to even bake a pizza! Here are some ways to make your hair straightening experience as smooth as possible.
1. Do not towel dry.
At least not in the conventional way of rubbing hair vigorously with a towel the moment you step out of the shower. This will cause breakage if hair is weak and even enhance its natural curl. Try patting or pressing it downwards gently. As an alternative to traditional terrycloth, which promotes frizz, try microfiber towel like this Ultra Soft Microfibre Towel from Decathlon instead.
2. Blowing at the wrong direction.
The blowdryer can be really damaging to the hair, especially when you’re blasting it at the wrong angle. You can use a dryer for rough drying by shaking the dryer back and forth over the head until it’s 80% finished. More importantly, keep the nozzle facing downwards when blowing to prevent frizz. To protect your locks, do prep hair with a heat protective or hair smoothening product like Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm for best result.
3. When it sizzles.
If you see steam or you hear the sizzle, stop immediately! Your hair should be bone dry when you straighten. And if you’re sure that your hair is dry, then it could be that product build-up is the culprit. Avoid applying anything to dry hair because unlike curling, the iron clamps down on the hair and there’s nowhere for the product to go. So you’re essentially boiling the product into the follicle.
4. Too hot to handle.
The right temperature can affect the effectiveness of your styling results. What salons are using are professional tools that may be too hot for at-home use. Basically for normal hair, the setting ranges from 300 to 350 degrees and a little higher for coarse hair. You may also want to consider investing in a good tool with extra safety features like ghd Platinum Styler.
5. Not sectioning your hair.
There is no real shortcuts when it comes to straightening. If you’re the lazy sort who thinks that you can just get by with randomly grabbing fistfuls of hair, think again. The iron may not be able to get to sections that are too thick and you may end up having to repeat several sections more. Sectioning will in fact save you time. For easy tracking, create even sections of hair by splitting hair in the middle at the back and further half each section if your hair is thick.
6. The finish line.
If you have hair that frizzes or curls up the moment you step out of the house, make finishing products your new best friends. A light hold hairspray like Ouai Soft Hair Spray is a good idea. But it’s best to mist hair when it’s cooled down first rather than immediately after flat ironing. You can also try spraying the product onto a boar-nylon brush then comb it through for even application.
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Text: Cynthia Chew