Straightening the Hair and Natural-Looking Make-Up
(Click to enlarge)
My friend, Jenn, and I have known each other for about six months. She's a
stay-at-home mom with a 2-year-old and an entrepreneur with a small, folk-art crafts
business. She stays busy, and admits that since the birth of her daughter, she really
doesn't spend much time on herself. Her hair is thick, coarse, and very curly. It hangs
down past her shoulders and aside from using a little hair gel, (and some anti-frizz
product I forced her to take) she doesn't do anything with her hair besides pull it back
with a headband or a ponytail. She knows she needs to take care of herself, but after
such a long time, she says she has no idea what she should do.
With this in mind, we hatched a plan. We'd get together one afternoon and I'd give
her a make-over. She hadn't had her hair straightened in over a decade and I was
curious to see her without the mass of coils. Most women hear the term make-over and
think of the talk-show and glamour shots versions where the client undergoes really
dramatic changes, achieving looks that they wouldn't normally choose for themselves,
and don't fit with their everyday lives.
They also think that a make-over means a permanent change in the hair, either
from cutting it short (for those with long hair) or changing the color, or texture (with a
permanent wave). This doesn't have to be the case, and for Jenn, that was key to her
being comfortable with the idea. She wanted to get an idea of the possibilities available
to her, WITHOUT making a commitment to the new look. Jenn wanted to see herself
with a look that was fresh and natural-looking. Something she could wear to the crafts
fairs and festivals where she does business, and would be comfortable wearing to the
toddlers' activity classes her daughter is enrolled in.
So, I had my instruction: straighten the hair (but nothing permanent), give it a
serviceable style, and make-up that would be natural-looking, but make her feel good
about her appearance and hide the little flaws everyone has.
Step One: This first thing we did was shampoo and condition Jenn's hair. I also
used an extra leave-in conditioner to ensure protection against heat damage and to
detangle Jenn's hair. After combing the leave-in conditioner through the hair and
making sure to remove any tangles, I divided the hair into three horizontal sections and
began the blow-dry process. I used a concentrator attachment with combing tines on the
dryer and a flat-paddle brush designed for "straight hair" to achieve good tension in the
Note: When blow-drying your hair, especially for the purpose of straightening out
curl, remember to angle the dryer to blow in the direction of the hair growth. Doing this
helps to keep the hair smooth during the drying process. In addition, you always want to
make sure to keep the dryer moving to prevent overheating and possibly burning the
hair. It's imperative to use a good conditioning agent when performing heat styling.
Blow dryers, curling wands, and flat irons can damage the hair if not used properly or if
used on improperly protected hair. To get the best results with heat styling, use a leave-in conditioner in addition to your rinse-through, and always follow manufacturer
guidelines with regard to the appliances you use.
Jenn's hair responded well to the blow-out process, and was pretty straight by the
time I finished. But as shown in the photos, it was still a bit "fluffy", and not the smooth,
flat tresses which were our goal.