Sometime around the aughts, the flat iron became an essential item in nearly every hair care toolkit. From Britney Spears's stick-straight locks of yesterday to Lucy Hale's sleek bob of today, super straight hair seems to always be on trend. The look is achievable at home, but you should get to the salon if you want it to last.
How to Do a Blowout
One of the simplest ways to get super straight hair is a blowout. A professional blowout can be a real treat, but it's not necessary. Do it yourself and do it well, and it can last several days; just avoid washing your hair, and get cozy with dry shampoo in between washes.
Here's how to DIY a blowout:
• Shampoo and condition your hair.
• Towel-dry your hair as thoroughly as possible until it's barely damp; this cuts down on drying time.
Instead of a regular towel, use a cotton T-shirt, which is meant to be gentler on the hair and may potentially reduce frizz.
• Apply a straightening balm like Bumble and Bumble Straight Blow Dry ($32). Start by coating your ends, working your way up the hair shaft.
• Divide the top and bottom of your hair into two separate sections. If you have thick hair, you might want to do four sections. Pull the top of your hair into a bun and secure it with a hair tie or clip.
• Grab a paddle brush like Moroccanoil's Ceramic Paddle Brush ($28), designed specifically to smooth hair.
• Use a nozzle on your blowdryer to help direct the heat. Start drying the bottom section of your hair. Pull your hair taut with the brush as you run the blowdryer, along with the brush, down the length of your hair. Always point the dryer's nozzle downward.
• Repeat on the top part of your hair.
Tricks for Getting Perfect Sleek Straight Hair
Straightening Hair With a Flat Iron
Sometimes all you need for straight hair is a blow-dry, but following that with a flat iron can smooth your locks out like butter. Before further heat styling, apply a heat protectant like TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray ($6).
Flat iron half- to one-inch sections at a time. It can be helpful to run a fine-tooth comb through each section first so that all the hairs are lined up perfectly.
Permanent Hair Straightening
If you'd rather not with the constant blowouts and flat ironing, you can get super straight hair that lasts three months to forever. You've got a couple of options:
- Relaxer: Also known as a straight perm, hair relaxing is the opposite of a curly perm. This treatment is best done in a salon but possible to do at home. No-lye relaxers are available at your local beauty supply store; these are gentler than the formulas used in salons but not quite as strong. As the name suggests, a straight perm is permanent (until your hair grows out).
- Brazilian hair straightening: You might know this keratin hair treatment as the branded Brazilian Blowout. It's extremely popular because it leaves locks so smooth and shiny. However, it does involve exposing hair to harsh chemicals, including ones that release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen when inhaled. If you must do it, make sure the salon is well ventilated. Also be prepared to not touch your hair for a few days after, as doing so could spoil the final results.
Let's get it straight (pun intended)—sleek isn't the only beautiful way for hair to be. Straightening might give the illusion of healthy hair, but the truth is, constant heat styling and chemical treatments may be really damaging. Take care of your tresses and they'll love you back. Three words: deep condition often.
Pierce JS, Abelmann A, Spicer LJ, et al. Characterization of formaldehyde exposure resulting from the use of four professional hair straightening products. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2011;8(11):686-699. doi:10.1080/15459624.2011.626259