Blow Dry Hair StraightQ: I have invested in purchasing all the salon-quality products, such as shampoo, conditioner, Chi leave-in products and a ceramic hair dryer and flat iron. I cannot blow dry my hair straight to save my life. I have researched on how to hold the hair dryer about 6" away from the hair, aim the dryer downwards so it closes up the hair shaft so it lays straight.
I was also told to try my hair using cool air, which of course does not work, because cool air cannot dry something. Is there something I'm missing here? I use a round brush and I've tried to use a flat paddle brush, all trying to dry my hair straight, but no matter what I do I end up getting a wave in my hair and it's super frizzy. Please help.
A: The level of results you can achieve with blow-dry straightening depend largely on the starting wave pattern of your hair. Hair that is very curly usually cannot be made “completely” straight, rather you strive to remove as much curl as possible.
However, part of what you describe sounds like you may be missing some key tricks in making the hair straighter using a blow-dryer:
• Make sure you apply your styling product to your damp hair before drying it and make sure to comb it through to evenly distribute it. For very curly hair, be sure to use a strong hold styling gel.
• You do need to use cool air to dry the hair (and you can dry using cool air, but it takes a lot longer), but the “cool” air should be used after the hair has been heated with warm air, and while the hair is being passed through the brush. The goal here is to use your brush and dryer on warm to dry the hair mostly dry, then use alternate hot and cold to reshape the hair’s wave pattern. Hot will break the physical side bonds and cool will reset them into the new configuration. (Of course, this means that your dryer needs to have a “cool shot” button.)
• Also, if you have long hair you want to use a flat paddle brush, since a round brush will smooth the hair, but still creates some bend. In addition, the brush needs to have sufficient teeth/bristles in order to create enough tension to pull the hair straight and keep it semi-taught while it is being dried/heated and cooled.
• The dryer does need to be directed downward, but more specifically, it needs to be aimed in the direction of the hair’s growth. This means that the airflow is less likely to disturb the tension in the hair and will make for less frizzy results.
And once you’ve gotten the hair fully dry, and as straight as you can make it, you need to go back through the hair and flat iron it. This is most readily accomplished by dividing the hair into sections and passing the hair in thin slices through the preheated flat iron. Work from the bottom upward, and for very curly hair, be sure to lightly mist the hair with hairspray before you pass the section through the iron.
Use a smooth, even and steady motion to pass the iron through. This should give you the best results. Just remember that this amount of heat styling means you need to make sure to care for your hair properly to maintain its moisture balance and condition. For more information on heat styling, click here see our articles on the subject.
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