4 Professional Stylist Tips for Prepping Your Hair for Straightening

Image Source: @lovelyanneka
Image Source: @lovelyanneka

The best thing about naturally textured hair is its versatility. The options to wear your hair curly or straight is so much fun. When straightening natural hair, it is so important to ensure that it is done properly. Whenever heat is applied directly to the hair, there is the possibility of compromising your curl integrity. Too much direct heat can actually burn the hair as well. Properly prepping your hair for straightening will help to minimize any damage or loss of curl integrity you may experience.

I stopped by Salon Noa, located in Virginia Beach, VA, to talk to owner and master stylist Fawnne Smith (pictured below) and ask her what advice she has for prepping hair for straightening. Fawnne has several years of experience caring for relaxed and natural hair, and even teaches other professionals natural hair care. One of her most poplar classes is her natural hair straightening class, where she teaches stylists and clients alike how to minimize the possibility of experiencing heat damage.

#1 Only heat style healthy hair

Fawnne shared that the most important thing before straightening your hair is ensuring that it is in good health. Healthy hair is key with heat styling, because damaged hair is more susceptible to heat damage. Make sure you hair is not shedding, breaking, or damaged from precious heat styling or color services. Fawnne has even refused heat styling services to clients if their hair is not in good health to ensure no further damage is done.

#2 Style freshly washed hair free from product buildup

If your hair is healthy enough for heat styling, then it is important to start on clean hair. Product buildup can actually burn the hair, which is not good. To remove any buildup from products and sebum, Fawnne recommends cleansing with a clarifying shampoo to remove buildup. Next, follow up with a sulfate-free shampoo or apple cider vinegar rinse. Then apply a moisturizing conditioner and detangle your hair thoroughly. Detangling the hair is vital so that your hair doesn’t break during the blow drying process.

#3 Strengthen your hair with a protein treatment

Fawnne suggests treating the hair with a reconstructor, which is a moisture/protein balance treatment. You may be able to skip this if you’ve had a protein treatment done within 6 weeks of straightening. Moisture/protein balance is a major key to avoid breakage and improve the hair’s elasticity. Rinse the reconstructor out with cool/tempid water, and then apply a water based leave-in conditioner. Section your hair into 4-6 sections for control, and pre-dry your hair for 10 minutes under hood dryer or air dry. This helps remove some of the moisture from your hair using no heat or a more indirect heat before blow drying.


#4 Always use a heat protectant

Before you began blowdrying, apply a heat protectant to each section, and then blow dry on low-medium heat. Once you’ve completed all sections, then re-apply heat protectant for more protection, then blow dry on high heat just long enough to ensure your hair is completely dry. Prior to straightening, you can apply a little more heat protectant, or a light serum/oil before applying direct heat.

This video is a snippet from her natural hair blowout class, where she talks about the prep process for straightening hair. She also shares details about what products and tools she likes to use when straightening the hair.

Following these steps will ensure the safety of your hair and help you avoid any loss of curl integrity. Skipping these steps can be detrimental to your hair. Do you plan to straighten your hair this fall?

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