The Truth About Straightening Natural Hair!
Are you playing Russian Roulette by straighten your natural hair? Just one incident with a flat iron, curling iron, or pressing comb that is “too-hot” is like playing Russian Roulette! You never know when you might pull that trigger which may be the fatal “heat bullet” that kills your hair!
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done except cutting the hair off once the hair bonds are broken or destroyed by heat. Some naturals are successful and can go from natural to straight without any problems, but many naturals cannot.
I’m sorry to say that most professional hair stylist are not educated when it comes to heat and natural hair. There is such a fine line when it comes to heat and natural hair because it is hard for most stylists to find right balance such as:
1. The right combination of moisture and protein
Achieving this proper balance in the hair involves using the right combinations of protein and moisture-based products for your particular hair type and porosity level. The combination of moisture and protein work together to produce strong and healthy hair, but neither can work well without the other. Keeping the hair balanced between these combinations is very important and also very difficult.
2. The right heat protectant for your natural hair type
Choosing the right heat protectant is vital to preventing heat damage. Oil-based heat protectants perform better than water-based protectants. For example, grape seed oil is a good heat protectant because it has a high smoke point, i.e., the point where the oil breaks down and starts to smoke. After the smoke point, the hair begins to FRY because there’s nothing protecting the hair. The smoke point of grape seed oil is around 400 degrees.
3. The right type of flat iron and temperature setting
The chose of flat iron is also crucial! The right flat iron should be 100% real ceramic with tourmaline/titanium which produces more negative ions so your hair turns out shinier, silkier, and smoother. These flat irons are expensive (starting at about $250). The temperature setting on the flat iron should never be above 350 degrees. Many professional grade flat irons do not have temperature settings in Degrees … ummh!
By the way, the flat iron should always be CLEAN and free of any CHIPS exposing the metal! Speaking of Frying some hair, chipped irons with metal exposure will FRY the hair!
Now, in addition to everything that I have already said, every head of hair has a different texture(s), porosity and thickness which further complicates matters. There is no “one size fits all” approach to heat styling. So, if finding the right balance is difficult for the professional stylist, this creates an even greater challenge for non-professionals using heat at home.
My personal opinion is, “Don’t do it!” Like playing Russian Roulette, pulling that trigger may be the fatal “heat bullet” that kills your hair! It’s just not worth it when you’ve worked so hard to grow healthy hair then be forced to cut it off because of heat damage. But, once you’ve cut off the damaged parts, you can always start over or return to a healthy hair regimen.
Now, I recommend trying some alternative methods to stretching your hair as opposed to straightening your hair. These includes non- heat and indirect cool /low heat alternatives, but BE VERY CAREFUL when using the latter alternatives and ALWAYS use a heat protectant!
2. Curl formers
5. Twist out /Braid out
Indirect Cool/Low Heat Alternatives
1. Blow Drying (with Cool Setting)
2. Blow Drying with a Diffuser attachment (that is, stretching the ROOTS ONLY with an afro pick using a Low Heat Setting)
Yes, I know that most naturals desire to grow their hair and be able to straighten it on occasion. If this is your desire, then what I’m sharing is probably the last thing you want to hear! However, what I’m sharing is necessary for the overall health of your natural hair!
Do you straighten your natural hair often? Have you had any issues?