News & Politics

Great Hair: Straighten Like a Pro

Forget chemicals. Here's how to have smooth hair in six easy steps.

Washingtonian Great Hair > Straighten Like a Pro 

My hair wants to be curly–not beautiful Keri Russell ringlets but frizzy, untamed curls. I recently worked up the courage to get highlights, so I certainly am not ready for anything as drastic as chemical straighteners.

In pursuit of sleeker hair, I asked Eclips stylist Char Chung how I could straighten my own hair.

• First, shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo and condition. Chung recommends Shinbi or Grund's moisturizing shampoo and conditioners, particularly Grund's Tiger Masque conditioner. She told me to not rinse all of it out. "Leave a little in, and when you blow your hair out it will make it super smooth. You can't do that with most conditioners or you'll get buildup."

I tried the Grund mask–leaving a little in one day, washing it all out the next. I loved the subtle coconut smell and how soft it made my hair, but Ididn't think leaving a little in made a difference.

• Next, apply a smoothing agent from roots to ends. Chung mixes two to three squirts of Blowmake, a smoothing product from Shinbi, with a nickel-size amount of a styling gel like Brocato Holdon Gel. I used a mixture of what was in my medicine closet: Aveda's Elements smoothing lotion and L'Oréal's Straight-Up Gel.

• Ceramic flat irons are a good tool for straightening hair, says Chung. "But over time, especially if hair is colored or highlighted, it's not the healthiest thing for hair. We don't recommend you use one every day."

• Instead, divide hair in half and clip up the top layer. Starting with the bottom layer, use a round brush and dry hair with the air blowing downward.

• If you have curly or frizzy hair, use a boar-bristle brush, says Chung. Boar bristles bring out the natural oils in hair, which makes it shiny.

• Finish drying with the cool setting, which closes the hair cuticle and helps prevent frizz. The whole process–shampoo to drying–was less work than I imagined when Char was describing it and added only a few minutes to my morning routine.

• Run a pea-size amount of a smoothing serum like BioSilk Smoothing Solution through your hair and spray lightly with hairspray. "Don't hold the spray three inches from your head or it will get goopy and crispy," says Chung. "Hold it at arm's length and let it mist."

I skipped this step–I had enough product in my hair already–and headed off one day to a barbecue. Even after sitting outside for a few hours, my hair was frizzless.