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Monday, November 17, 2014

Natural Hair Tutorial | Flat Iron Natural Hair Safely

How To | Flat Iron Natural Hair Safely

It's that time again!

Time to get my hair flat ironed and to see where my hair is at. I only get my hair straightened twice a year, which is absolutely great for me and my natural. I really don't like straight hair on myself, to be honest. But I thought I would change it up a bit! Sooooo, I'm very excited about this because I get to:

  1. Do a different style from the curly and kinky ones I would do,
  2. See where my hair is at length wise,
  3. Just get it done because my own flat ironing skills suck!
That's right! I'm getting my kinks and blinks flat ironed by a professional who knows how to straighten natural hair correctly without heat damage. Heat can be damaging to your kinky and curly tresses, if you don't know what you are doing. So it's best to prepare and know how to flat iron your hair without any harm or damage to your hair. So I'll let you in on a few tips and tricks to flat iron natural hair!

How to prepare for the flat iron set:

1). Make sure your hair and hot tools are clean - Any tools you are using in you hair (comb, flat iron, blow dryer attachment) needs to be clean to ensure that you are not re-depositing oils, skin cells, and old hair back into your own clean hair. If you don't know how to clean your tools, check out: Don’t Use That Gunky Brush! Tips For Cleaning Your Hair Tools.
How To | Flat Iron
Natural Hair Safely

2). Pre poo and detangle hair - I know from experience that pre pooing hair before washing and styling will make it  1). sustain moisture while washing, 2). prevent the shampoo from "stripping" the natural oils from it, 3). nourish the scalp and roots, 4). and help with detangling the hair. I would suggest using a conditioning carrier oil (coconut, olive, grape seed) when pre pooing for the best results.
  1. Section your hair in 4-6 sections. For each section, add your oil from roots to tips. Massaging your scalp will benefit as well. Don't forget your ends!!! They need the most love because they are the oldest parts of the hair.
  2. Once your hair is saturated with oil, detangle your hair with your fingers, wide tooth comb, Denman brush, etc. Make sure you are very gentle!
  3. Now that your hair is detangled, two strand twist that section loosely. Do this entire process for the other sections.
  4. Once all sections are complete, place a plastic cap over your hair. You can sit under a dryer for 30 minutes (heat will open your hair cuticles to let the oils in for moisture) or you can add your bonnet then a beanie for extra moisture from 30 minutes through the entire day. If you have a microwave cap or a blow dry hooded cap, that would work as well.
  5. After 30 minutes, continue with your washing and deep conditioning process.

How To | Flat Iron
Natural Hair Safely
3). Cleanse with a clarifying shampoo - It is very important to cleanse your hair effectively when you plan to straighten it. This is why pre pooing is so important - so your hair will be cleanse effectively, but not dry.

4). Do a protein treatment -  Since you are planning to straighten, you will need a protein treatment to protect your hair from the heat of the flat iron. I used Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor, but any protein treatment will do the trick to protect your hair.

5). Deep condition your hair - Protein treatments will strengthen your hair strands, but will make your hair feel pretty dry. This is where you would deep condition your hair. The moisture will be put back into your tresses and your hair will be free of naps and mishaps when you straighten your hair. You can use any deep conditioning treatment, but make sure to use heat (hooded dryer) so your hair cuticles will open to put that moisture in your hair. Do this for 30-45 minutes, depending on the treatment. Once done, wash this treatment out thoroughly.

How To | Flat Iron Natural Hair Safely
Reading The Science of Black Hair
6). Allow your hair to dry completely - I chose to blow dry then sit under a hooded dryer for 10 minutes for effective drying. You can air dry if you like, but I feel it would take a long time.

7). Add your heat protectant - Use a serum, thermal spray, natural oil, or something! Don't flat iron your hair without heat protectant...your hair WILL be damaged and WILL need to be cut off because of that damage. So you can use this before drying your hair, before flat ironing your hair, or both. Just make sure to use a heat protectant.

8). Check the flat iron for the temperature - Okay your flat iron goes up to 475 degrees...that doesn't mean you should put it there. Make sure the flat iron does have a temperature setting so you can adjust it. Try not to go past 375 degrees when flat ironing. Your curl won't be damaged and in turn you and your hair will be happy.

During the flat iron set:

So I gave you all of these tips and tricks to prep for flat ironing...but I'm getting my hair flat ironed professionally!!! I completely suck at flat ironing! No joke...real life...but check out these tips to do during your flat iron set. I do agree with these from what I've learned and experienced myself:
How To | Flat Iron Natural Hair Safely

Size your sections appropriate to the flat iron - Big, chunky sized sections will not straighten correctly.

Cheap flat irons are just that...cheap! - Not to put a knock on any commercial stores, but I wouldn't purchase any of their flat irons - especially for flat ironing natural hair. If you want your hair to be healthy after wards (no snagging, no burnt hair, not cutting off during for no reason) purchase your flat iron from online or an actual hair store like Sally's Beauty Supply. I have heard and researched that these are the best ones:

How To | Flat Iron Natural Hair Safely
These flat irons may be expensive, but I purchased 4 cheap flat irons in my lifetime which were all disappointments. If I would have just used the money I used to purchase them to purchase one of the above flat irons, my flat ironing skills may not suck... -____- #staleface (yea right! Flat ironing is NOT my gift)

The hair needs to be smooth before flat ironing it - You want the smooth look right? Make sure that your hair is detangled enough to use your flat iron to sleek it down. Try the chase method to smooth your hair. Check out the video: MahoganyCurls Flat Iron Tutorial. She will show that you will chase your rat tail comb with the flat iron to make sure to get your hair as smooth as possible.

Go slow and steady...but not too slow - Do not flat iron your hair when you are in a hurry! When you flat iron your hair you need a slow and controlled movement, to ensure your hair will be straightened and sleek. Make sure to plan on a day where you have no plans but "all about your hair" plan.

Don't pass the flat iron over each section more than once - It's always best to have one really good pass than 4 or 5 bad passes. Your hair will get frizzy, static-like, and be more vulnerable to heat damage.

Smoke and sizzle is not music to your ears - If you see smoke, that means the flat iron is way too hot and it needs to be turned down. If you hear sizzle, that means your hair did not dry fully and you need to stop with the flat iron NOW!! Adjust your flat iron and your hair accordingly to straighten your hair with little to no damage.

Don't go for bone straight - You want to go for a sleek look that won't mess up your curl pattern. It's best to get as straight as possible, but not to the point where I can see your neck through your flat ironed hair...not cute at all...

Again, I got my hair professionally done...but you get the picture.

How To | Flat Iron Natural Hair Safely

Personally, I'm not a great fan of flat ironed hair on myself...so I asked my hair
dresser for a bit of body and spiral-like action to my tresses.

Tips to care for the flat iron set:


    How To | Flat Iron Natural Hair Safely

    Just checking out my hair!!

  • Wrap your hair around your head and tie a satin scarf around your head OR put your hair in a high bun and wrap with your satin scarf
  • If you want definition, set your hair in Bantu knots, flexirods, flat twists, or other kinds of rollers
    How To | Flat Iron Natural Hair Safely

    Oh my! Do I detect approaching APL?!?! I
    shall check sometime soon!
  • Moisturize your hair every other day. Try not to use too much of your water-based moisturizers. Be sure to add a bit of light oil to the ends of your hair to protect them, especially if your hair is past your shoulders.

So there you go!

Tips to prep for the flat iron set and how to care for it. I'm always here to help, but don't come to me to flat iron your hair...I can help care for your hair and guide you are all things kinky, curly, and nappy BUT I will destroy your hair if you ask me to flat iron it...no joke...real life.

Check out my Ode to my heat damage:

Natural hair says: if you are having trouble flat ironing your hair, STOP NOW! It's better to get it done by a professional than to fry your hair. If you want to learn to flat iron your hair, jot these tips down, check out YouTube videos, and try at least every few months.

Always Desire Your Natural,

Christina J

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Desire My Natural is my personal blog.

The pictures and information provided are based off my own personal experiences and intense research of medical publications and articles, blogs, videos, and books for your enjoyment.

If you have medical issues or other conditions, contact your doctor or physician immediately.