Care Tips For Naturally Straight Hair
Just because you have the naturally straight hair other women lust after, doesn’t mean your hair care routines are a walk in the park.
In fact, your hair may even require a little more day-to-day maintenance, since straight hair is more susceptible to oil, dirt, and moisture.
Here are 8 of our care tips for ladies with naturally straight hair – and how you can get the shiny strands of your dreams:
You Need Regular Shampoos
Perhaps more than any other texture, straight-haired mavens need to stick to a regular shampoo schedule.
“Curlier, thicker hair tends to be drier and therefore does best with fewer washes and benefits from the buildup of natural oils,” explains Huffington Post’s beauty editor Ellie Krupnick. “But the minute my fine hair gets oily, it gets weighed down and screams out for a wash. More grease makes it limper.”
Wash every other day with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to keep from drying out your strands, and use a clarifying shampoo once a week to keep your hair from getting weighed down by product build-up.
You should feel squeaky clean and ready to style.
Try Dry Shampoo Between Shower Sessions
Because your hair and scalp may be on the oily side, use dry shampoo between your showering sessions or after a workout to cut down on sweat, dirt, and product buildup.
“Use your fingers to loosely lift and section the hair, and focus on spraying the root area,” hair stylist John D. told Glamour. “Keep the can six to 10 inches away from the scalp when applying. This way, you distribute it not just on but also around the roots.”
Once the dry shampoo has worked its magic sucking up dirt and oil, you should be able to massage your scalp, run your fingers through your hair, and sail out the door.
A word of caution: dry shampoo shouldn’t take the place of your regular shampoo.
It’s great in a pinch, especially for creating volume, but it builds up over time on your scalp – just like any other product!
Especially if you have fine, thin hair, you may be in need of a volume boost. Create lift by using a texturizing spray, then blow drying your hair upwards from the roots.
But be careful about which type of products you use, beauty editor Jada Wong advises.
“Naturally, volumizing products that promise lift and height sound like an easy solution, but…certain types of these products can be too heavy and will only weigh down hair,” writes Wong at Refinery29.
“Instead, try a dry texturizing spray,” she suggests. “Since these sprays add thickness all over, they won’t create unnecessary weight at the root, which is a recipe for limp strands later on.”
Be Careful With Conditioner
While women with coarse or curly hair can use the extra boost in moisture, some straight-haired women can easily overdo it when it comes to applying conditioner.
This is especially true if you have fine or thin hair, and you should be extra careful of the formula you purchase, says beauty editor Rachel Krause.
“Steer clear of thick, creamy formulas and opt instead for a lighter approach,” she writes at StyleCaster. “[The] best lightweight conditioners will give just the right amount of nourishment your hair needs without weighing it down or exacerbating oil production.”
Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair first, combing upward with your fingers. Never apply conditioner directly to your roots or scalp – unless you want to wind up with a greasy mess on your hands.
Give Your Blow Dryer’s Heat Settings a Workout
No – we don’t mean crank up the temperature. While you will need heat to get your volumizing sprays to do their thing, cool air can also help tame breakage or frizz.
First, says hairstylist Mark Townsend, rough dry your hair with your fingers, then apply a little bit of heat at your roots.
“Almost all volumizers you need to use a blow dryer with heat to activate them,” Townsend explained to Self.
Since too much heat can damage your hair, causing breakage or frizz, always finish your blow dry with a blast of cool air.
The cool air should help to set your style and add a healthy sheen to your locks.
Learn How to Battle Frizz
While curly-haired gals have to fight this battle, too, you’re not unfamiliar with frizz – especially when there’s humidity in the air.
Make your hair behave with a little dry oil, advises Cosmopolitan beauty editor Carly Cardellino.
“Keep straight hair from getting frizzy by brushing dry oil through it with a mixed bristle brush,” suggests Cardellino.
“While your hair is still wet, apply a moisture-locking dry oil…from your ends to midway up your hair shaft; oil acts as a barrier, keeping liquids from penetrating,” she explains.
Frizz halos, be gone!
Get the Right Brush
To prevent breakage, you’ll need the right brush at the right time. And for straight-haired ladies, that tool is a paddle brush.
“The flat surface makes this a great tool for smoothing, frizz, and static-fighting,” explains Sable Yong at StyleCaster.
“Plus, with its wide flat shape, it can fit more bristles on it and detangle your hair quicker and with less passes—so less shedding for you,” she adds.
But remember: never brush thick, straight hair with a paddle brush right out of the shower. You could wind up pulling, tangling, or breaking hair when it’s at its most fragile.
“To prevent shower-induced snarls, give your hair a brush before hopping in,” advises Renee Loux at Women’s Health. “If you like to comb in the shower, apply conditioner, untangle strands with your fingers, then use a wide-toothed comb before rinsing.”
Your hair will be happier, healthier, and shinier ever after.
See Your Stylist
Straight hair comes in all textures and densities, and it’s important to remember that your straight hair isn’t the same as someone else’s.
A good stylist will understand this, and give you a cut that caters to your particular texture. Your texture will also affect how often you head to the salon to keep your ends trimmed and your hair healthy.
While ladies with heavy, straight hair may be able to push their salon appointments to 8 weeks or more, women with fine hair aren’t so lucky.
“The challenge with fine hair is the need to constantly reshape it without cutting too much off,” stylist Nathaniel Hawkins told Allure.
According to Hawkins, you should wait at least 4 weeks to trim fine hair, but at 6 weeks, your hair will start to misbehave.
While your stylist can help you define – and tackle – your texture, you can learn more about your hair type at home by reading up on PopSugar’s natural hair type check list.
Which kind of texture do you have?
Don’t let straight hair fool you – it may look simple and straightforward to style, but naturally straight hair takes plenty of care and upkeep.
From mastering your shampoo and conditioner routine to zapping frizz during styling, there’s plenty you can do to make your naturally straight hair happy and healthy.
How to change your hair care routine after straightening your hair
Permanently straightened strands, especially the care required after straightening hair, can be hard work. But when you are battling frizz and humid climates on the daily, a long-term solution can be a godsend. While everyone has their own reasons for opting for chemical straightening, the rules for the aftercare are universal. You may have nodded along dutifully when your hairstylist warned you against using sulphate shampoos, but to get the most out of your treatment, you should understand how it works first. We brought in celebrated Delhi-based hairstylist Rod Anker, and Mumbai’s renowned skincare specialist Dr Harshna Bijlani, to help you cover your basics.
What are the different types of chemical hair straightening treatments?
In ascending order of permanency, your options range from Cysteine treatments to Keratin and Olaplex, and finally, rebonding. The latter will provide you with aggressively straight locks—by breaking the natural bonds in frizzy hair, and replacing it with bonds in the desired structure.
“The strong chemicals used in these treatments penetrate your hair and break the bonds, which changes of the shape and texture of your hair,” says Dr Harshna Bijlani. “While this is what you want from a straightening treatment, it also damages your tresses. Contrary to popular belief, all straightening solutions are not the same. Ideally, you should go for a consultation with your hair expert to examine your hair’s porosity, texture, density, curl pattern in various areas, and its overall health, and then determine the right treatment for you with his or her help.”
After hair straightening: The products you can use
“Any shampoo with sulphates is a big no-no, as it is extremely harsh on the scalp,” explains Rod Anker. “Switch to sulphate-free hair products to avoid further eroding the health of your locks.”
“You can also try to shampoo less frequently, maybe once in two-three days. You can condition more often if you need to, though. Opt for a hair spa once every two weeks to salvage your hair from the sun and pollution damage,” adds Dr Bijlani.
Does straightened hair get damaged by the environment?
“All hair gets damaged by the environment, especially straightened hair,” says Dr Bijlani. “Your hair has been stripped of its natural oils and been exposed to chemicals. This leaves your locks more sensitive to environmental elements, like the sun, weather changes and pollution. This is what makes it essential to implement a good haircare regimen after opting for a permanent straightening treatment, to prevent hair fall.”
What should my at-home haircare routine look like if I have straightened hair?
“Stick to your normal haircare routine—wash every two-three days, condition just as often, or more if required. Straightened hair tends to be drier and brittle, so try to include deep conditioning once a week or every 10 days. A good tip to retain moisture after straightening your hair would be to use a good quality leave-in hair serum after you shampoo it. Start incorporating hair vitamins into your diet before you go in for the straightening session—this will help strengthen your hair, while preventing hair fall and thinning. Apart from this, try to maintain a healthy diet that is rich in antioxidants and good fats to strengthen your tresses,” adds the dermatologist.
Anker says, “Since chemical hair straightening is a harsh treatment, you need to observe certain precautions. You can’t do whatever you want to it, and still expect it to feel soft. Stay away from heated styling implements.” Bijlani adds, “If you absolutely must use a blow-dryer, opt for the cool mode to avoid damaging your hair with heat. Right after the treatment, avoid swimming or going on a vacation that will leave your hair exposed to the sun for long periods.”
How long will straightened hair last?
“Keep a razor-sharp eye on the condition of your hair, and opt for a trim every six-eight weeks. This will help get rid of any split ends and damaged edges. Alternatively, you may also find that getting a Keratin treatment is a better option in the long run for the health of your hair. While it merely relaxes the hair and doesn’t make it poker straight, it doesn’t grow out and leave behind curly roots and flyaways either, like the others,” says Anker.
“If you’re looking to get a hair colour job as well, make sure you go for your straightening treatment first, as most processes start with a clarifying shampoo that may wash away your colour,” says Dr Bijlani.
How do I decide between temporary and permanent hair straightening?
Take an objective call on which treatment provides results that better align with your lifestyle choices. “Chemically straightening your hair will ensure manageable tresses for a longer period of time. You won’t need to invest time or money in temporary hair treatments that utilise heat and damage your hair on a daily basis. On the flip side, it alters the bonds of your hair, and can cause long-term repercussions by making your hair coarse and brittle. The harsh chemicals used can also actively contribute to hair fall and hair thinning,” explains Dr Bijlani.
“Temporary hair straightening treatments are actually kinder to your strands, and don’t alter the natural bonds on your hair. However, they may not hold up against extremely frizzy or curly hair, and might require regular upkeep and maintenance, which will involve both cost and time,” she adds.
How to Establish the Right Hair Care Routine for You
Getting into a hair care routine is just like embarking on a skin care one. Once you’ve found one that works for you, you’ll rarely stray.
But the process of finding that routine can seem a little daunting, especially when there’s numerous options for people with the same hair type.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know to find the hair care ritual that’s right for you.
Our individual routine ultimately depends on a few factors
From the feel of your hair to the styles you prefer, these elements will all alter the routine you end up choosing.
Your natural hair texture or type
Hair types tend to be fine, thick, or coarse and fall into one of four categories:
Each has its upsides and downsides. For example, straight hair usually looks and feels greasy quicker than curly hair Trusted Source due to oil speedily making its way down the hair shaft.
Whether your hair has been bleached, dyed, or otherwise chemically processed
If your hair has come in contact with dye, bleach, or chemicals, you may have to think extra hard about your routine.
People with dyed hair are advised not to wash it every day to prevent premature color fading and dryness.
And bleached hair may require some extra nourishment in the form of conditioner or hair masks.
How you want to wear your hair on a daily basis
Do you like to straighten your hair? Curl it? Leave it completely natural?
It’s another thing you’ll have to consider, especially if you’re a fan of using damaging heat tools.
Whether you have specific concerns that you want to address
It’s normal to find at least one aspect of your hair problematic, whether it’s frizz, a flaky scalp, or dry, damaged strands.
Knowing what the problem is, is half the task. The rest involves finding the best solution.
However, every routine shares a few basic components
Although your hair type and concerns will alter your hair care routine in some ways, there are a few basic steps that every person can benefit from.
Cleansing is a balance between removing things like dead skin and product residue Trusted Source without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
Without a good wash, sebum will build up, leaving unwanted oiliness.
So will dead skin if not removed. The skin renews itself around every 28 days Trusted Source, and this may be noticeable if the hair is not clean.
And, if you’re an avid swimmer, you don’t want to leave chlorine on your locks. The longer it sits, the more time it has to strip hair of its natural elements and cause damage.
Conditioners have myriad benefits. The main one is moisturizing, but others include detangling, shininess, and frizz reduction.
The main ingredient of a conditioner is called a cationic surfactant.
When hair is wet, this sticks to it, coating the strands to replenish the moisture that shampoo may have removed.
Moisturize and seal
To add further hydration to the hair, you may want to embark on a two-step process known as moisturize and seal.
This can be particularly useful for kinky or coily hair that tends to be dry.
The aim is to seal in moisture, not to lock in dryness, using a hydrating product and sealing oil.
Detangling is essential for stopping breakage and for making your life a whole lot easier.
But you need to use the right tool, such as a wide-tooth comb, to avoid pulling hair out by mistake.
Depending on your hair type, you may need to detangle every day or much less often.
Style and protect
Thanks to a number of tools and tricks like volumizers and gels, you can style your hair practically any way you want.
But if you’re a fan of heated tools, you’ll need to protect those strands with a heat protection spray.
Spot-treating hair simply means picking out a particular area that’s bothering you and doing something to remedy it.
For example, you’re fed up with how frizzy your hair is, so you try a protein treatment.
Or you’ve noticed that your scalp is feeling extra dry, so you apply a super nourishing product designed for that area.
The products and tools used in each step vary widely
Although most people religiously stick to the above steps, there’s no set product or tool that you need to abide by.
Instead, experiment to find the ones that work for you.
Cleansing and conditioning
- Clarifying shampoo. A deep-working shampoo, clarifying formulas work to remove buildup from the hair. Restrict use to around once a month, as they can remove natural oils.
- “Daily” shampoo. Used for regular washing, this shampoo may not need to be applied daily as the name suggests, but whenever your hair feels like it needs a good cleanse.
- “Daily” or rinse-out conditioner. The conditioner that you use the most is likely to be one that rinses out after a couple of minutes. It’s best applied to the middle and ends, as root application can result in a greasy-looking scalp.
- Leave-in conditioner. With this kind of conditioner, you apply it in the same way but don’t rinse it out. This allows for an increased level of nourishment.
- Deep conditioner. For even more hydration, try a deep conditioner. Great for hair that’s prone to dryness, these conditioners are designed to be left in for longer.
Moisturizing and sealing
- Hair lotion. Once hair is cleansed and conditioned, a cream-based lotion can offer further protection from breakage and dryness. It also provides a light, non-stiff hold.
- Oil. When it comes to oil, a little goes a long way. Enhancing your hair’s natural oils, it locks in moisture and strengthens strands.
- Comb. Wet hair can break more easily when brushed, although this doesn’t apply to textured or tightly curled hair types. A wide-tooth comb can be a less damaging alternative.
- Brush. Different types of brushes exist. Some find bristles to be too hard on their hair, so opt for a plastic version. Try not to brush your hair too much. Once a day is usually sufficient.
- Spray. If you find tears welling up when brushing or combing, apply a detangling spray beforehand.
- Serum. A richer way of managing those knots, a detangling serum can further condition hair and make it softer so combs seamlessly work their way through.
Styling and protecting
- Mousse. It sounds super retro, but modern mousse adds texture and volume to hair and can even enhance curls. What’s more, it doesn’t leave behind a sticky or clumpy feel.
- Wax. A thicker product, hair wax provides more of a hold while increasing shininess. Plus, it shouldn’t leave strands feeling stiff.
- Pomade. For a long-lasting, super shiny look, opt for pomade. This styling product should be used on damp hair, as it doesn’t dry, leaving you with a sleek finishing touch.
- Gel. Styling gel can give hair anything from a light hold to a super strong one, depending on the product you use. All gels, however, provide a noticeable texture and shine.
- Dry shampoo. If your hair gets greasy pretty quickly but you don’t want to wash it every day, a little dry shampoo can get rid of unwanted oil. But it does tend to build up on the scalp, so try not to use too much.
- Volumizer. Hair looking limp? Volumizers lift hair away from the head to make your do look thicker while still feeling lightweight.
- Texturizer. This category can encompass everything from salt sprays to curl definers, and is designed to add texture to the hair and preserve styles.
- Shine serum or spray. These products sit on the surface of the hair, resulting in that smooth, glossy look. Apply from the ends up to the middle.
- Hair spray. Today’s hair sprays come in various holding strengths and can even target concerns like frizz. Unlike years gone by, they don’t leave hair super stiff.
- Heat protection spray. Whether you’re using a hair dryer, straightener, or curling iron, you need to protect those strands. These sprays create a barrier to prevent exposure to extreme heat.
- Scalp treatment. An exfoliating scalp treatment can unclog follicles, stimulate circulation for growth, and calm issues like itchiness. Use once or twice a month.
- Protein treatment. Frizzy or broken hair may need an extra dose of protein. These monthly treatments fill in gaps in the cuticle, strengthening and smoothing strands.
- Targeted mask. Often infused with nourishing ingredients, hair masks tend to be left on for several minutes to deeply replenish hair and remedy dryness, split ends, or frizz.
The order of your routine matters and consistency is key
You’re not going to notice dramatic results overnight — although the effects of masks and certain styling products can be immediately noticeable.
It takes time for your hair to get used to new products. In some cases, this may be a week.
But dry or damaged hair may take at least a month to reap the benefits.
The order you apply products can also make a difference. While this does depend on your hair type and texture, there are a few general rules.
Shampoo, conditioner, and any in-shower products should be applied first, followed by heat protection, a volumizer or mousse, and shine serum.
Then you can dry and style your hair, setting it with a gel (or similar product) and hair spray.
Make sure your final styling product is one that seals in moisture and helps keeps hair healthy.
But when it comes to frequency of use, it’s best to consult a professional
There are no hard rules for how often you should use each product.
Some people wash their hair three times a week, while others cleanse once a week. And some do it even less.
When in doubt, ask a hair professional for personalized advice targeted to the products you use and the needs of your hair.
Your individual hair needs will naturally change over time
There’s a saying that hair changes texture every 7 years. Unlike most of the rumors floating around the internet, this one does have an element of truth behind it.
Hair grows in bundles, and these bundles start again every 7 years or so.
Over time, less strands appear, resulting in the thinning, weaker hair often associated with aging.
Hormones can also alter hair.
During pregnancy, for example, rising estrogen levels can slow down hair shedding, resulting in thicker-seeming, shiny hair.
When levels of these kinds of hormones drop, hair loss can occur. Menopause, for example, is often linked to such hair issues.
Noticing these changes and responding appropriately can keep your hair looking healthy.
A good rule of thumb is to swap products as the season’s change
You may also need to change up your routine at certain parts of the year.
When the winter months hit, many need to opt for products with extra hydrating properties. Thicker creams are also favored.
But in the warmer summer season, you may want to choose more lightweight formulas to help hair stay bouncy in the face of humidity.
Some general tips and tricks that benefit all hair types
Lastly, it’s worth knowing a few handy things that apply to any hair texture and concern.
Get regular trims
If your hair is looking unhealthy, it may be because it needs a snip.
Getting hair cut every 6 to 8 weeks is considered to be beneficial for reducing breakage and split ends as well as growth.
Use warm, not hot, water
Dousing hair in hot water can dry it out and, if dyed, can quickly fade color.
You don’t have to endure a freezing cold shower or bath. Just switch to lukewarm water instead.
Make sure you’re getting these nutrients in your diet
Even your diet can benefit your hair.
Protein — also known as hair’s building block — will only reach the hair if enough is consumed.
If you’re lacking in it, expect to notice brittleness and dryness.
Iron is also an important source of life for hair. When the body doesn’t have enough, hair growth can be affected.
Vitamins A and C are worth looking out for too. The former is needed to produce hair’s natural oils, while the latter aids collagen production, thereby strengthening hair.
And don’t forget omega-3 fatty acids. These are needed for hydration and overall scalp health.
Go natural where possible
Letting your hair breathe can work wonders. This can involve restricting heat use by letting it air-dry and avoiding straighteners and curling irons.
Even putting hair up in a tight ponytail can cause strain, so leave it down to stop the pull.
And if you don’t need to use a styling product, don’t use it. That way, you’ll reduce residue buildup.
The bottom line
Figuring out a hair care routine may take a few days, if not a few weeks.
But once it’s sorted, you’re well on the way to getting the hair you deserve.
Most Common Mistakes To Avoid When Caring For Naturally Straight Hair
Hair woes — everyone has ‘em. Curly or straight, natural or relaxed, long or short, each one comes with its own set of challenges and unique characteristics. Yes, even straight hair has its quirks. There seems to be this notion that straight hair is “easier” to deal with, which often means that women with straight tresses never go through the trouble of learning how to care for it. As an unfortunate results, those women end up making straight hair mistakes because they didn’t know to avoid them in the first place!
Straight hair is not a monolith, of course. For some it’s thin, and for others it’s thick. Some have oily locks, and others have dry ones. The one thing that all straight hair does have in common is its texture, and that texture creates some unique difficulties when it comes to the proper way to care for it. While they may pale in comparison to the challenges of your curly-haired sisters, never let anyone tell you that your straight-hair struggle isn’t real. The struggle is real, my friend.
You already have a lifetime of experience taking care of your straight locks, and everything you know is invaluable. But here are some things to add to your haircare regimen to help your straight hair look (and be) as healthy as possible.
You’re Using the Wrong Products
Heavy products may be great for curly hair, but, as NYC hairstylist Adam Maclay told Bustle, they can weigh down straighter, finer hair. Maclay advises straight-haired women to look for a lighter product to keep your tresses from looking flat or greasy. And, to avoid dryness, he suggests steering clear of products with alcohol in them.
You Put It in A Ponytail Too Often
Throwing your hair into a ponytail especially when it’s still wet – can cause major strand breakages. But that doesn’t mean you have to be done with this easy up do. Stylecaster has plenty of tips on how to rock a ponytail without ruining your hair.
You Brush Your Hair from Root To Tip
Straight hair needs to be handled with care, particularly when it’s wet. Celebrity hairstylist Kevin Mancuso explained to Huffington Post that brushing or combing your hair from the root first and can actually make tangles worse and lead to breakage as you try to tear through the knots. To avoid damage, Mancuso recommended combing your hair tip to root with a paddle brush or wide tooth comb.
You’re Using Too Much Product
Since straight hair lies closer to your head, it’s more likely to look heavy and oily if you add too much product. Remember the adage that “less is more.” You can always add more later if you need it.
You’re Afraid to Try Bangs
Straight hair is perfect for bangs. You don’t have to go through the process of styling them every morning when your hair already lays flat on your forehead. If you’ve never given bangs a shot, why not switch it up? You can always grow them out if you hate them.
You Wrap Your Hair in A Towel on Top of Your Head After A Shower
The towel turban, while timeless, can be quite damaging to your locks. Instead, Mancuso suggesting “squeezing the hair with a towel rather than rubbing and matting hair into a tangled mess.” And, as always, be gentle to avoid any additional knots or breaks.
You Have Unrealistic Expectations About What Your Hair Can Do
Many women with straight hair spend our lives dreaming of a head full of curls. And while there are ways for straight-haired ladies to achieve some curl, the truth is that your hair does what it does. Understanding what your hair will (and won’t) do is the key to loving it and learning how to style it. Embrace what you’ve got!
Thick hair is often viewed as the ideal type of hair to have, but those who were born with a full head of thick, luscious locks are definitely familiar with the struggle of managing their mop. Sure, having volume is great and there are tons of options for creating versatile hairstyles, but what about the constant frizz and the time it requires to style that hair? If you’re struggling with the upkeep of thick hair, not to worry, we have crafted an entire guide of everything you need to know about caring for your thick mane. From products to accessories and healthy habits, follow along for the ultimate thick hair care guide.