You’ve Been Straightening Your Curly Hair Wrong This Whole Time

Bad news for those with kinky or Type 4 curls. According to Shani Francis of Chicago’s Ashira Dermatology, straightening your luscious locks can actually completely ruin your ‘do. Speaking to Allure, she explained, “Kinky hair tends to be drier as you move down the length of the hair shaft since the natural oils do not flow easily along the twists and bends of the curls,” which “…could lead to more protein loss or damage from heat and excessive manipulation.”

This doesn’t mean you can’t straighten your hair at all though. As Jill Engelsen, senior stylist at New York City’s Butterfly Studio, told ELLE, “Honestly, it’s not very realistic to achieve a straight style from a strong wave or a curly head of hair without using some kind of heat or hot tool.” The key then is knowing exactly what to do and what not to do so you don’t completely damage your strands.

Never hold a straightening iron on your hair

Firstly, you need to stop straightening your hair when it is damp. It must be 100% dry, no excuses. Secondly, you need to learn to use the right prep products and tools. For example, you shouldn’t use the same straightening iron all over your locks. As hair stylist and Hair Rules creator Anthony Dickey told Real Simple, instead, you should use a small ¼-inch iron for the hairline and a 1 to 1½-inch flat iron for the rest of your hair.

More importantly, when straightening curly hair, you need to ensure you “never hold the flat iron on the hair,” said Dickey. “That can damage it. And do not go over the same section repeatedly. It will cause heat damage and eventually ruin the natural texture.” To avoid this, concentrate on smaller sections and take the necessary time. One mistake people make when straightening their hair is to try and do too much at once and rush the process, which leads to going over the same section repeatedly. As the outlet notes, “Excessively large sections don’t straighten as easily.”

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