I have been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now because I figure why not tackle the subject of straight hair now, when we are headed into “flat iron season”.
I read a post the other day from a friend, email and blog guru Shelli over at Hairscapades, where she said she was now a straight haired natural.
She details her reasons in her post which I understood but I also know that the concept of women with natural hair having their hair predominately straight regardless of the season is nothing new.
In my experience I find that women who have successfully grown their hair out will opt to keep their hair stretched most of the time to avoid tangles. However some might go as far as keeping their hair straight, bone straight or slightly bone straight to avoid over manipulation, tangles and fuss.
Other than those physical attributes some women do not have the same hang ups a newer natural might have about perfect curls, so opting for straight hair permanently is no big deal. Shelli said it best:
I’ve been natural for 15 years, big chopped twice, and have nothing to prove. I love my natural curls. However, right now, I love the convenience and ease of straight hair a lot more! And, sometimes, that’s really all there is to it.
The question is, if you are a straight haired natural, can you retain more length and avoid heat damage? Is it possible?
Why retaining length is easy while straight
The reason retaining length is easy while straight is simple, you avoid tangles that break the hair. Women who wear their hair in its naturally curly or kinky* state will do things to avoid snags, hair balls and knots because those are what cause the most damage to the strand.
Don’t get me wrong straight hair can break just as easily as curly hair if the strand itself is thin from too much heat and you are not doing what you need to do to maintain your hair between straightening sessions.
Changing your regimen
Regimen is critical if you want to maintain straight hair, keep your curls in tact with no heat damage and retain length.
Your routine has to change! If you wash weekly do not think you can do that and just add straightening to the mix, the only way to do it safe is reduce washes to every three or four weeks.
Every wash has to include some protein whether you are protein sensitive or not. The reason protein is important is because you will lose plenty of protein in three weeks, without a wash, which has to be replaced.
What does a typical regimen for a straight haired natural look like?
Everyone’s regimen is different based on their hair needs but there are some key things you must have in your regimen or this to work. I loved Shelli’s regimen because it was complete from start to finish and a perfect example of what you need to save your hair from heat damage.
Pre-poo to moisturize (use oil or protein based conditioner)
Clarify to start with a clean base
Protein treat to strengthen
Deep Condition to moisturize
Apply a leave-in conditioner*
Apply a heat Protectant*
Air dry your hair in a stretched state instead of blow drying your hair
Bone straight hair is optional and most often not recommended if you want to absolutely avoid heat damage and do this on a permanent basis. Use a quality flat iron* when you start to straighten your hair and use small sections at a time to avoid damage.
Another great tip is to use lower temperatures if you just want super stretched hair and not bone straight hair. Lowering the temperature helps you to avoid heat damage during this process.
How to preserve your hair for 3-4 weeks in order to retain length
Have you ever heard the odd statement from women who say that straightening their hair is kind of a protective style for them and wondered how does that work?
The reason they say that is because when their hair is straight, manipulation is considerably lower, they would opt for buns most of the time until it is time to wash and deep condition again. (3-4 weeks at a time)
To maintain the hair for the gym, keep the hair wrapped, covered, and allow it to dry fully before taking down the hair in order to avoid reversion.
If you work out a lot and your sweat in your head, to be perfectly honest, this regimen might not be for you because one of the things to consider is scalp build up. If you are prone to scalp build up from sweat or just over production of sebum you might be better off washing more often that a woman with straight hair would.
Preserving your hair at night
Wrapping when you first get your hair straightened is easier than it is in your second or third week. You can then incorporate pin curls, flexi rods* or do a good old braid out for styling. Keep the hair covered with a satin scarf at all times and use a shower cap* in the shower.
If you want to avoid blow drying or even flat ironing, you can choose to roller set your hair and maybe flat iron* the roots to keep the hair flat. Roller setting is the safest way to get straight hair without heat damage and a viable option for stretching your hair.
Another option is maintain your hair with a stylist who you trust especially if you have a busy lifestyle. Going to a stylist can preserve your curls as well as help you to meet your length goals.
Can you grow out your hair faster when it is straight
The answer is your rate of growth wont change but you will see more length with your hair straight. The huge thing to remember is regardless of how you decide to retain length your regimen is what determines the ultimate fate of your hair. You have to take care of your hair to see the benefits of straight hair.
If you are interested in becoming a straight hired natural we have some reading materiel for you, check out this post, this one and this one then read about the best flat irons here. Read about Shelli’s regimen here as well to get an example if you need one.
Comment below and let us know if you are a straight haired natural?