By Terez Howard

Natural hair is wonderfully versatile.  You can wear it in braids, twists, Bantu knots, cornrows, a big fro and even straighten your hair.  I personally do not recommend straightening hair because direct heat on natural hair can cause irreversible damage that can only be solved by cutting the hair and starting over.  In my opinion, the cons outweigh the pros.  However, if you choose to occasionally straighten your natural hair, you should be aware of natural hair straightening products that will help you to avoid hair damage.

To straighten black natural hair, you can use direct heat in the form of a pressing comb, flat iron, blow dryer or other styling tool that sits directly on your strands or indirect heat in the form of a hooded dryer, which does not come into close contact with your hair.  Direct heat can permanently straighten your hair.  Healthy, black care includes knowing how to prepare your hair for the straightening process.  A hot oil treatment, olive oil and other moisturizing products can be used strengthen your natural hair.

Natural Hair Straightening Products To Use Prior To The Straightening Process

Before straightening hair, do a deep conditioning treatment. This will penetrate the hair shaft, restore and seal in moisture. A deep conditioning treatment also replaces natural oils that may have been lost. You might want to sit under a hooded dryer with your conditioner on your natural hair under a plastic cap. Then, thoroughly rinse your hair. If you fail to rinse thoroughly, you will have hard, crunchy hairs that will be prone to break.

Good deep conditioners include:
Clairol Herbal Essences Replenishing Conditioner for Colored/permed/dry/damaged Hair, with Rose Hips, Vitamin E,
and Jojoba, 12 Fl. Oz

Dove Damage Therapy Daily Moisture Conditioner, 25.4 Ounce (Pack of 2)

Mizani Moisturfuse Conditioner 30oz

Nexxus Humectress Hydrating Treatment Deep Conditioner 5.5 oz (156 g)

Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner 10oz

Creme of Nature Nourishing Conditioner: 15.2 OZ

If you do not wish to do a deep conditioning treatment, you could do a hot oil treatment, or do a hot oil treatment prior to deep conditioning. Heat your oil, and use a pastry brush or cotton balls to saturate your hair section by section. Massage the scalp, and place a plastic cap on your head for 45 minutes or even overnight. Rinse.

Some oils you could use for a hot oil treatment include: olive oil, jojoba oil, castor oil and avocado oil.

The wonderful thing about a hot oil treatment and deep conditioning is that these processes promote proper black hair care and will strengthen your hair, whether you straighten it or not.  They will keep you from getting dry hair or other hair damage.

Natural Hair Straightening Products To Use During The Straightening Process

Before I went natural, I straightened my hair by blow drying, then using a pressing comb and lastly, a curling iron.  After I went natural, I air dried my hair in twists or rollers or sat under a hooded dryer.  Then I unraveled each section and began flat ironing.

No matter which form of heat you choose to straighten your hair, always be sure that it has a temperature control setting.  Start the temperature low.  Remember, natural hair is fragile, and heat can and will burn it out if the temperature is too high.

The best course to take is to include the least amount of heat as possible when straightening a kinky hair texture.  That way, your tender hair will have less exposure to the drying effects that come from heat.

A list of natural hair straightening products that you may or may not want to use includes:

  • Blow dryer
  • Flat iron
  • Pressing comb
  • Curling iron
  • Hooded dryer
  • Hot rollers

To get smooth hair, you should apply a setting lotion, pomade or gel to your hair, either before you straighten or while you do so.  Be careful to not over apply because if you do, you will have a flaky scalp.

Remember, that water will make your hair revert.  So, all natural hair straightening products should not be water-based.

Definitely, wear a satin scarf or sleep on a satin pillowcase at night to keep your style maintained.

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