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Straight Talk - Confessions from a Former Head of Curls

Most young women today would laugh at the trouble their mothers went through trying to straighten their hair in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Women with curly hair have envied straight haired beauties for ages. With no appliances available at the time for hair straightening, women were forced to use things like a clothing iron to get the look they desired. Although an iron is dangerous and can really damage hair, women of the past saw no other option. Today however, there are many appliances and products women with curly hair can turn to for a different look.

Getting straight hair is not always an easy task, especially if your hair is extremely curly. It is however attainable. If you have thick or long curly hair, then it could even take hours to get the look you desire. So, keep in mind that this is not a quick style change to try before a first date. Before you even pick up any straightening appliances, there are a few steps you can take to make the whole process a lot smoother.

Begin by washing and conditioning your hair. You should use a deep conditioner if you plan on straightening your curly hair. Sometimes straightening hair can leave it dry and damaged, so by deep conditioning before hand you are making sure your hair will be silky and shiny. Towel-dry your hair and apply a straightening gel. The gel will help prep your hair for the process. Allow your hair to air dry a bit and then bring out your hair dryer.

Pin the top portions of your hair up on top of your head. You will only be working on one section of your hair at a time. After pinning, use a flat paddle brush or a round brush if you prefer, to pull a small section of your hair straight while drying it with your hair dryer. Repeat this process, section by section, until all of your hair is dry. If your hair is really curly, it is likely you will experience a bit of frizz. Don't worry; this will not exist after the process is complete.

The best tool to use when trying to straighten curly hair is an appliance called a flat iron. These appliances come in several different widths. Although you may be tempted to purchase a wider flat iron, it is best to stick with the flat irons that are approximately 1 ½ inches wide. This is true even if you have really long hair. The smaller versions are easier to work with and just do a better overall job than their larger counterparts.

You can purchase a flat iron at most general merchandise stores or beauty stores. Your stylist can also provide you with information on brands they like best. You want to look for ceramic versions if you have stubborn curly hair that is difficult to straighten. You can even get a flat iron that allows you to straighten your hair while it is wet. This is something that may not work as well if you have difficult curly hair however, so beware of these combos if you think you may have tough to deal with hair.

Most good flat irons also come with different temperature settings. These settings should be detailed in a booklet that comes with your appliance. You should always use the lowest setting that works for your hair. If you have fine hair, begin with the lowest setting and work your way up in temperature until you get the results you long for. It is always better to start too low, then to start too high and singe your hair. Different types of hair respond differently to heat so you will need to go with your instinct on the initial setting.

If you are unfamiliar with flat irons then you will probably be shocked that most cost between $30 and $200 each. Don't be tempted to splurge on the most expensive flat iron, unless you have tried everything else first. Sometimes the cheaper versions work just as well. Remembering to prep your hair well before you begin straightening is the most important key to straightening success. If your hair is prepped well, then any reputable flat iron should work to get you the smooth and frizz-free look you desire

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