Straightening and Frizzy Dry Hair

Frizzy dry hair
Photo: South House Studio/Shutterstock
Q: My hair is very long, curly, and thin. I have tried a few flat irons and straightening products to straighten my hair but the outcome is always extremely frizzy and dry. Could my hair type just mean that my hair is unable to straighten nicely?
A: Actually, it sounds more like the condition of your hair - rather than the type of hair you have - that is causing the problem. When stylists speak of the needing to be completely dry before heat styling, we are referring to the absence or presence of excess water from the shampoo and conditioning process.
Some people think that their hair has to "feel dry" as opposed to being "dried" (not damp). Heat styling can damage the hair (blow drying, curling irons and flat irons all put a great deal of stress on the hair) and you have to be sure to keep your hair well conditioned and moisturized, to prevent doing irreparable harm.
If you have any problems with dryness or frizz when you wear your curls natural, then you definitely need to take special care to condition and moisturize the hair more than you are doing at present. Always remember that any problems you are having with dryness and frizz will only be exacerbated by the application of heat styling appliances. You have to treat the problems of your hair's condition before you can expect good results with thermal styling.
I recommend that you avoid the flat iron for a few weeks and start a routine of weekly to bi-weekly deep-conditioning treatments and daily conditioning of the hair (whether you shampoo or not). Deep conditioning treatments can be accomplished easily. Simply apply your favorite hair conditioner, cover the hair with a plastic cap and warm the hair for 20 minutes.
The hair can be warmed under a bonnet dryer, using a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment, or by wrapping the head in towels heated in the clothes dryer. After 20 minutes of warm conditioning, simply rinse the hair with lukewarm water, followed by a cool water rinse to help seal the cuticle layer.
If, after a few weeks of conditioning, you still have trouble getting sleek and smooth hair from straightening, then you should look at the appliance you are using. Some hair types DO resist straightening. If your hair won't straighten, you may need a better flat iron.
There are a lot of women and men who have had tremendous success with the newer Ionic flat irons. The major drawback to these irons is that they do tend to be more expensive than the older conventional models. However, the results make the expense worthwhile for those individuals who have hard to straighten hair.
Your best bet for finding a great deal on an Ionic iron is to do an online search and compare prices, features and customer feedback on the various models. You can then look for the model you want at a local retailer or order it online if you can't get a better price at a local store.
See also:
Heat styling
Flat iron styling
How to choose a flat iron that meets your needs
What is the difference between ionic and tourmaline flat irons?