It's taken me a very long time to embrace the way my naturally curly hair spirals and grows in different directions. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that I suffer from "hair envy" every now and then. And I have celebrities like Beyoncé, Jessica Alba and Eve to thank for my sudden lust for super straight hair.
These red-carpet stunners have recently stepped out wearing straight hairstyles that make me wonder if they're using flat irons created by NASA. Not a single strand of hair appears to curl up in spite of standing just a few feet away from hot camera lights. Just the mere thought gets me frustrated as I recall spending hours carefully detangling my thick hair, blowdrying it section by section (and going back over spots because I've broken into a sweat) and trying my hardest to keep this sleek look for more than five days. Yet, in spite of falling short, the appeal of straight hair remains. Am I right, ladies?
"Most women want what they naturally don’t have," says Johnny Lavoy, celebrity hairstylist and L’Oreal Paris consulting hair expert. "Super straight hair also appears to be healthier looking, because it reflects more light. Straight hair also adds the illusion of more length, and it’s a fairly simple way to dramatically transform your look without a haircut."
Celebs have the benefit of having a professional stylist on call to make them look picture-perfect. But here are Lavoy's five best tips on how we can get super straight hair at home:
Eliminate strain and stress with the appropriate hair products. This seems like a no-brainer, however it's one of the most common straight hair styling mistakes. "If you have hair that is curly, wavy or frizzy, you want to use a system that is going to prep the hair for its transformation," says Lavoy. Instead of grabbing the closest shampoo and conditioner, use hair care products that contain smoothing oils like argan which help to soften and polish unruly strands. Lavoy adds, "If you’re straightening your hair regularly, it’s really important to use deep conditioning treatments at least once a week to prevent and repair damage."
Invest in a really good blow dryer. We've all bought that highly-discounted hair dryer on sale that promises to change our at-home blowouts forever, only to end up with way more hair damage then we started out with. And what's up with that word "ionic" that seems to be floating around? "What makes these types of dryers so special is the science behind them," says Lavoy. "The theory is that the ionic molecules break down the water molecule rather than just evaporate it like your standard dryer. This means the moisture is left in the hair. They also cut down on drying time and leave the hair smoother and in better condition. They cost a little more but are worth it if you’re straightening your hair often."
Flat iron with extreme caution. "Flat irons are a great way to really get the hair super straight, but it can also cause damage if not used correctly," says Lavoy. Using small, one-inch sections will give you a more uniform result. It will also cut down on the amount of passes you need to go over each strand of hair, protecting it from damage. Be sure to use the right heating setting for your hair type: fine hair should be straightened on low, while thick to coarse hair should use a medium-high setting. If you're unsure about the hair straightener's temperature, test with a piece of tissue first. "If it scorches the tissue, it’s too hot for your hair." And always, always use a heat protecting product to provide a barrier between the tools and the hair.
Take time to get a handle on your technique. It's never too late to figure out if you're blowdrying your hair wrong. Practice makes perfect! But there are two standout points Lavoy wants us all to get: When blow-drying, always use the nozzle on the end and section the hair. The nozzle will give you better results and protect your hair from direct heat. Also, grab a large round brush when smoothing out your hair. It will help smooth the cuticle and give your hair lots of shine.
"Wrap" it up to keep it up. I didn't realized how bizarre my satin bonnet hair regimen was until I decided to put it out there. But Lavoy agrees that my hair maintenance trick is key to keeping up a super sleek style. He recommends doing a "wrap" before you go to bed. "What you want to do is, start to wrap your hair around your head using a brush and a couple bobby pins to keep strands in place as you work around the head," explains Lavoy. "Cover it in a scarf and in the morning, just brush it out. Apply a few drops of smoothing serum and this will help lock out moisture on humid days."
Click through the slideshow below for our super straight hair styling tools and products picks.
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