Stubborn. I guess that’s the word for it because I have no other way to describe it. I keep trying to straighten my hair until it is laid to the gods and it keeps coming back with heat damage. Yes, I have now, to date, given myself heat damage more times than I can remember. There isn’t a stylist to blame or even a lack of knowledge on my part. I knew better and still wound up damaging my hair while straightening it.
I’ve been wearing my natural hair straight more often recently. My straight hair calls for a totally different routine than the one I would use for my hair when it is shrunken and curly. My main objective for my straight hair is to keep it looking fresh while maintaining moisture levels. Some naturals find this hard because our hair can revert back to curly so easily.
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Hair that is moisturized looks and feels so much better after using direct heat. I still moisturize and seal my hair while it’s straight but I’m also aware that starting the straightening process with a moisture based deep condition is key. I also use grapeseed oil to seal in the moisture from my leave-in conditioner prior to air drying, roller setting or blow drying my hair. Ever since I added the grapeseed oil to my flat ironing regimen, I have noticed that my hair feels softer and more supple after straightening. The oil also helps to give my hair a smoother finish without having to use extremely high temperatures.
Once my hair is straight, I continue to moisturize it using a leave-in conditioner. I’m currently using Herbal Essence Touchably Smooth Split End Protector*. The trick here is to use just a little bit so that it doesn’t wet my hair. I split my hair into two sections and then apply a dime size amount (or less) to one section. I then use two to three drops of grapeseed oil to seal in the moisture. I don’t have to do this every day that my hair is straight because the oil does such a great job of locking the moisture in.
My straight natural hair isn’t perfect though. I still get fuzzy edges from when water seeps in underneath the edge of my shower cap. My nape area also tends to revert back way before wash day but I’ve learned to just live with it. I usually wear it straight for about a week but would like to start stretching that to two weeks in the future.
*Formerly and currently known as the Long Term Relationship Split End Defense Cream depending on which packaging is available. (UPDATE 2019 – Currently using Paul Mitchell The Conditioner Leave-in)
|My straight natural hair|
After spending several months wearing heat free styles, I decided to wear my hair straight for a few weeks. A couple of months ago, straightening my hair seemed silly because I would only get to wear the style for a short period of time. My psoriasis was in high gear so my scalp needed attention every couple of days. This meant cleansing my hair and scalp multiple times each week. At the time, it seemed necessary because my scalp was sometimes unbearable and had to be dealt with. Once my psoriasis calmed down, I decided that I would finally straighten my hair.
Wearing my hair straight during the summer heat may also sound silly but I can get away with it here. In Colorado we have a very dry climate so there is little to no humidity on most days. Still, reversion is always possible with straight natural hair. I have been hearing about the Beautiful Textures Texture Manageability System or TMS. This product claims that you can use it on natural hair to help with straight styles over a 4-6 week period. After a few weeks and multiple washes, the hair will supposedly return to its natural state. Well, after reading this article by The Natural Haven blog I’m not so sure.
|Half up half down style
on my straight natural hair
The article gives a breakdown of what happens to the hair structure when using the product. It appears as though the hair bonds are effected but not permanently broken. So yes, the hair does return to a textured state after using the product. However, the product also seems to slightly change the protein bonds. This makes me wonder what would happen after using it multiple times.
|Back to curly after wearing it straight|
It would be nice to have straight natural hair that lasts longer but I think I’ll stick to my current routine. I use several heat protectants including grapeseed oil, IC Fantasia’s Heat Protectant serum and Tresemme’s Heat Tamer Spray. The serum helps to combat reversion while the spray and grapeseed oil protect my hair from heat damage. While it’s straight I use things like Herbal Essences Split End Protector to moisturize and grapeseed oil to seal. I also do either pin curls or wrap my hair at night to preserve the style. When I’m ready to go back to curly, I use Aphogee’s 2 Minute Reconstructor to give my hair a light protein treatment. My curls seem to always bounce back just fine with this routine so why change now?
What are your thoughts on the TMS system by Beautiful Textures? Please share below in the comments section.
|I use an old Hot Six Oil bottle
to store my Grapeseed oil
In the natural hair world we always hear about using oils for our hair but I’m beginning to learn more about how they work. I’ve mentioned in recent posts how coconut and olive oils are both light enough to actually penetrate the hair shaft. For this reason, they tend to make great moisturizers but not sealants. It’s important to moisturize the hair and then seal it in with something heavier.
In the past, I reached for castor oil to seal with because it has a very thick consistency. However, it left my hair feeling really heavy so I thought I would give grapeseed oil a try. Grapeseed oil is heavy enough to use as a sealant after moisturizing but is lighter than castor oil. An added benefit for me though is that it has a high smoke point meaning I can use it when I use heat on my hair. Now, I’m still not sold on the idea that it can protect against heat damage, but I have noticed a difference.
|My straight natural hair after
using Grapeseed oil and a serum
for protection against heat
I recently used it when I straightened my hair and I was very happy with the results. Sometimes after heat styling I’m left with hair that is dry and crispy feeling but I didn’t get that when I used the grapeseed oil. My hair felt very soft and moisturized after using my flat iron on a heat setting ranging from 370 to 400 degrees.
The only drawback is that I’ve read that other naturals noticed that their hair reverted quicker after using the grapeseed oil as a heat protectant. For this reason, I also used a silicone based serum by IC Fantasia to help keep my hair straighter longer. I was able to go a full ten days and probably could have gone longer but it was time to cleanse my scalp.
I‘ve decided to continue using the grapeseed oil in my hair routine for oil rinses, sealing in moisture and for added protection against heat. I prefer the Napa Valley Naturals brand which I found at a local health food store. If you haven’t tried it I say give it a go!
I sometimes get discouraged with my hair when I see those little tiny fairy knots on the ends. Single strand knots (SSKs) can cause a lot of trouble because they tend to catch on hair strands and cause tangles. Since I won’t be doing any major cuts on my hair this year (fingers crossed) I figured I should try my best to keep the knots to a minimum.
Since I sometimes use heat on my hair I can tell it still has lots of curl and shrinkage but is slightly more manageable than if I had skipped the heat altogether. I tend to think that this factor has contributed to my success with roller setting lately. The drying time is still the same but I can sometimes get away with using larger sections than I used to. I thought maybe I would put my theory to the test by doing a ponytail roller set using only a few ponytail sections. Instead of doing 4 ponytails down the middle (like a mohawk) and 4 more sections along the sides, I just used 4 large ponytail sections; 2 in front and 2 in back. I then split each ponytail in half and rolled each section. I also placed 2 individual rollers for the bangs. My new method only took 4 ponytails and 10 rollers which is much easier and still gave me great results.
Since my main objective right now is to keep my hair stretched this method will work just fine. It keeps my ends smooth so I don’t have to worry about them knotting up on me. Not only that, it also takes a lot less time to get all of the rollers in. Now that I have this figured out I can use this method to stretch my hair before doing protective styles like buns and up-dos.
|THEN: Ponytail rollerset using more sections|
|NOW: Fewer ponytails still worked fine|
|What I used to get the look:
Creamy Leave-in Conditioner
Heat Protectant serum (to minimize frizz)
Plain Water (to re-wet each section)
|Goody Ouchless Ponytail Holders|
Stretched hair with smooth ends