If you weren’t born with naturally straight hair, you might be wondering whether there is an alternative to harsh chemical treatments that do a good job of straightening hair, but they leave it dry and prone to damage in the process. Good news! Natural hair straightening is possible. The results don’t last as long as those provided by chemical hair straighteners, but your hair will look far better and be healthier overall. As a bonus, you can opt to rock your natural curls anytime you want to and go back to the look of straight hair later.
Why Avoid Chemical Straighteners and High Heat?
Many of us use heat to temporarily straighten hair. While the newest ceramic straighteners are gentler than old-fashioned ones, high heat can cause dryness, damage, and split ends. It’s a good idea to save heated styling tools for special occasions if you opt to use them at all.
Lots of us opt for a trip to the salon, or we try to save a bit of money with DIY hair straighteners. he bad news is that chemical straighteners – even the type that’s supposed to be less harmful – weaken each hair’s structure. Besides damaging the hair itself, these straightening treatments can lead to an itchy scalp. Many women who address the issue of how to make hairs straight by heading to the salon for a chemical treatment endure burning eyes and a burning sensation on the scalp during the treatment, and some even report that they have trouble breathing due to fumes.
Even gentler, formaldehyde-free straighteners can cause discomfort – and adding insult to injury, the weaker formula means results don’t last as long.
Worst of all, the only way to get rid of damage caused by chemical straighteners is to cut the hair off. Unless you’re OK with going in for the big chop, you might want to look into natural hair straightening techniques instead. If you’re not happy with the results, you can always go back to the stylist or reach for your iron!
How to Naturally Straighten Hair
Before the days of chemical hair straighteners and hot irons, women used a variety of natural hair straightening techniques to give their manes a smoother appearance.
The Brush Dry Technique
Start by choosing a brush that feels good in your hand and works well for your hair type. This is vital, because you’re going to be using this brush a lot. After washing and conditioning your hair, rinse it out and pat it dry with a towel. Don’t wring your hair as this can cause damage.
The next step is optional, but it will help your efforts last longer. Finger-comb a small amount of mousse or straightening gel into your hair, working from roots to tips. If you have any tangles, work them out with a wide comb, working from the ends of your hair back toward your scalp.
Next, create a part if you want one. Gently brush your hair, then allow it to dry for five minutes. Brush it again, then allow it to dry for five more minutes. Keep repeating the process until your hair is dry. Finish up with styling products to help lock your hair into place.
Note that you can use a blow dryer on the cool setting to speed things up when doing this, or you can sit in front of a fan. If you accelerate the drying process, be sure to keep on brushing your hair the whole time so that the strands are encouraged to lie straight instead of following their naturally wavy pattern.
The Roller Technique
Remember vintage photos of women with their hair in giant rollers? These big, soda-can sized rollers weren’t meant to curl hair; instead, they were used to smooth the strands while providing volume. We can take a cue from our old-fashioned sisters and straighten our hair the same way!
This method is simple. Start by sectioning your wet hair into equal-sized strands, using clips or pins to keep the strands separated while you work.
Next, brush a strand of hair straight and wrap it carefully around the roller. Be sure not to twist the hair, since this will cause wrinkling. Repeat the process with the rest of the separated strands.
Allow your hair to air dry completely, or accelerate the drying process with a dryer set to the coolest temperature. Any moisture will cause the hair to go back to its original shape, so don’t remove the rollers until you’re certain that the hair is completely dry.
You can use styling products before and after rolling to lock your newly straight hairstyle into place. If you use products before rolling, be sure to rinse your rollers clean after you’re finished. This will prevent product from building up on the rollers and flaking into your hair the next time you use this natural hair straightening technique.
The Overnight Technique
We’re not talking the kind of combover that’s used to cover male pattern baldness here! Instead, this combover uses your head’s profile to gently straighten your hair. Note that this method for natural hair straightening only works if your hair is medium length. If it’s too long to wrap as described, you should try a different technique. Also, it’s worth noting that this method will probably leave you with some gentle waves in place of your natural curls.
As with other natural hair straightening methods, you’ll want to begin with wet hair. Create a part down the center of your hair and gently remove any tangles. Divide your hair in half according to the part, and secure the hair on the left side of your head with a clip to keep it separate from the hair on the right side of your head. Obtain a package of bobby pins. Note that smaller ones are more comfortable to sleep in, while larger ones hold more hair.
Start with the hair on the right side of your head, combing it all the way over to the left side of your head, adding bobby pins as you go to completely flatten the hair. Keep on combing it straight so that it is as tight as possible. Wrap the hair around the back of your head, continuing to add bobby pins.
Next, move on to the hair from the left side of your hair. Remove the clip, comb the hair straight, and wrap the hair over and around your head, covering the first section of hair until you are finished.
Note that your hair needs to stay wet during the pinning and combing process. If you notice that your hair is drying out, dampen it again before continuing.
Wear a bandanna or a night cap to keep your hair smooth while you get your beauty sleep. In the morning, remove all the bobby pins and
Use Milk to Straighten Your Hair
Does milk straighten your hair? The answer to this question depends on your hair’s texture. If you have wavy hair, you’ll probably like the results. If you have very curly or kinky hair, you may find that this technique relaxes hair naturally but doesn’t give you straight hair the same way commercial products do. Still, it’s worth a try – and people who use this technique for naturally straightening hair mention that the results improve when milk is applied before every wash.
It’s very important to note that this natural hair straightener should be applied before showering, not afterward. If you apply milk to your hair without washing it out, you’ll end up with stinky, sour-smelling hair and a sticky, nasty mess. Wear something you don’t care about and toss it in the laundry right away.
Fill a clean spray bottle with milk. If you want to try a vegan version, use 1/3 cup of coconut milk and about a tablespoon of lemon juice (watch out, because the lemon juice might lighten your hair color a bit.)
Next, spray your dry hair with the milk. Work the milk into your hair and comb it through with a wide-toothed comb. Leave the milk in place for at least 20 minutes.
Wash and condition your hair as usual. You can style it and see how you like the results, or you can add more straightening power by rolling, wrapping, or brushing your hair during the drying process.
Give Your Hair Some Help with Beneficial Hair Straightening Products
Need more help? Smoothing leave-in treatments can make natural hair straightening techniques more effective. Some of these treatments are also designed to provide your hair with some protection from heat damage in case you decide to use a straightening iron occasionally. Be sure that you don’t use a heat activated product if you’re not using a heated styling tool.
Osensia Smooth Texture Smoothing Cream
If you’re looking for a product that conditions and smooths hair all in one go, you might like Osensia Smooth Texture Smoothing Cream. With sunflower seed extract, pro-vitamin B5, and other natural ingredients, it is free from parabens and sulfates, plus it provides protection from heat and UV rays. This product is designed to work without heat if you prefer. A quick look at Osensia Smooth Texture Smoothing Cream reviews shows that this product can feel a bit sticky for some people, but most users are happy with its ability to help hair stay healthy and frizz free, with a silky texture that lasts. Quite a few of the reviewers mentioned that you only need a small amount of this product to get a smoother, straighter texture.
Kerastase Discipline Keratine Thermique Smoothing Taming Milk
Kerastase Discipline Keratine Thermique is designed to strengthen hair and provide protection from heat while facilitating the straightening process. It can be paired with other products from the same manufacturer or applied on its own as a leave-in conditioner before styling. A quick peek at Kerastase Discipline Keratine Thermique reviews shows that most users are thrilled with its ability to control frizz while making hair straighter and imparting lots of shine. Some mention that it works well without heat. As with every product, this doesn’t work well for everyone; for example, a few users noted that it tends to dry out the hair, particularly on the ends. Still, it’s among the best leave-in hair straightening products available.
John Frieda Frizz Ease Straight Fixation Styling Crème
Designed to deliver deep hydration while smoothing frizz, John Frieda Frizz Ease Straight Fixation Styling Crème can help your hair keep its straight style for up to 24 hours. This nourishing crème contains milk protein and sweet almond oil, and is designed for people with frizzy or naturally curly hair. Most reviewers like John Frieda Frizz Ease Straight Fixation Styling Crème for its ability to help hair hold onto straight styles, but there are a few who found that the results didn’t last as long as they hoped. Some users mentioned that they had to use about twice the recommended amount of product to help tame frizz.
L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Blow Dry It Thermal Smoother Cream
Meant to double as a styling cream and hair protectant, L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Blow Dry It Thermal Smoother Cream smooths hair while adding shine and providing protection from heat if you use it. A quick look at L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Blow Dry It Thermal Smoother Cream reviews shows that it can weigh down very fine hair, so a little goes a long way. Most users like this leave-in product for its ability to help control frizz while encouraging hair to maintain its style longer.
Keune Straight Cream
Design Keune Straight Cream helps keep your straight style in place between shampoos. This non-chemical hair straightener is designed to provide protection from a flat iron or blow dryer while encouraging hair to retain the desired shape. Reviewers mention that Keune Straight Cream works best with heat, but helps when straightening hair naturally with air-drying methods as well. Most users like the way this straightening cream works, but a few reviewers were disappointed.
While natural hair straightening techniques aren’t going to last forever or give you stick-straight hair, your overall appearance is likely to benefit! Naturally straightening hair prevents damage, leaves hair soft and shiny, and lets you celebrate your uniqueness by going back to your naturally curly look whenever you like. Give it a try, with or without help from styling products! There’s nothing to lose.