Anyone who has curly hair knows that it can be both a blessing and a curse. While curls, be they voluminous and large or small and tight, are beautiful in their own right, it can be difficult to maintain any other kind of hairstyle such as straight hair.
So, if you’re wondering how to straighten curly hair without frizz, you’ve come to the right place.
Why Does My Curly Hair Get Frizzy After Straightening?
For starters, individuals with curly hair are more likely to have a naturally frizzy appearance. The reason for this has to do with the structure of the hair shaft.
Your hair shaft has three layers, but the outermost layer is the one we need to focus on here. This layer, which is called the cuticle, has many pieces that overlap one another much like shingles on a roof.
When hair is healthy and well-maintained, these pieces lay flat and give your hair an overall smooth and shiny appearance. But other circumstances can disrupt these pieces and cause them to lift up.
Those with naturally curly hair may notice more frizz than other hair types because their hair’s shape and texture make it difficult for the scalp’s oils to make their way down the shaft.
To add insult to injury, even straightening your curly hair can make this frizz worse. Aside from your hair’s natural affinity for frizz, the next biggest culprit is dryness.
If you’re straightening your hair with a traditional flat iron, that means you’re using heat to control your hair’s shape and texture. Heat is typically very effective, but it can be bad news for your hair’s health.
Your hair is full of natural oils whose job it is to keep your strands nourished and healthy. When you use heat on your locks, it sucks these oils out of your hair. Ultimately, your hair is left dry and brittle and can become seriously damaged over time.
This dryness and lack of moisture increase friction, which – you guessed it – leads to frizz.
How to Avoid Frizz
The main cause of frizz is dryness, so the overarching solution to the problem is adding and maintaining moisture.
Choose Smoothing Products
The key to learning how to straighten curly hair without frizz is choosing a product that aims to solve your problem. So, if your hair needs some frizz control, look for that in your shampoo and conditioner.
Of course, there are so many products that make the same claims these days, so making that decision can be difficult. Keep your eye out for a few of these ingredients on the label:
- Natural and essential oils
- Hydrolyzed keratin
- Fruit extracts
Be sure to avoid sulfates, which can dry out the hair and scalp.
Wash with Lukewarm Water
Washing your hair in very hot water can actually increase your chance of frizz. Hot water tends to have the same effect as humidity, which causes your hair’s cuticle to become very rough and open.
Extremely hot water can also stress your scalp out, preventing it from producing and distributing the beneficial oils it offers naturally.
Washing your hair with warm or lukewarm water can prevent this from happening and may improve the texture and life of your hair.
Use a Heat Protector
Always – and we do mean always – use a heat protector on your hair any time you apply heat to it. A thermal heat protectant creates a barrier between your heat styling tool and your hair.
You can find a heat protector in the form of a spray or a cream. Generally, sprays work best for fine hair while creams are more effective for thicker hair. If you’re working with curls, you may find cream is better for your texture and thickness.
Using a heat protector works best when you section out your hair as you work. Whether you’re straightening with a blow dryer or a flat iron, work in sections and apply your thermal protectant as you go.
Don’t Max Out Your Heat
Many flat irons today come with excessive heat settings that skyrocket to temperatures of 400 degrees or more. Just because your tools go that hot doesn’t mean you need to set them that hot.
Hair Finder offers a great tip for testing the heat of your straightener before using it.
Take a piece of tissue paper and moisten it with a spray bottle. Place it between your flat iron for ten seconds and check its appearance afterward.
If the tissue paper is dry with no discoloration, you’re at the ideal temperature. However, if you do find discoloration, burns, or smoking, then you need to lower the temperature settings on your tool.
Use an Oil
Once you’ve straightened your hair, treat it to a bit more moisture by adding a finishing oil. There are tons and tons of oils on the market today, most of which are designed to promote shine, conditioning, and moisture.
These can all contribute to the minimization of frizz in your naturally curly hair, even after straightening it.
A few oils that are great for thick and curly hair types are cold-pressed castor oil, coconut oil, and argan oil. Lightweight oils are great for thinner hair that struggles with flyaways and light frizz.