Friday, January 9, 2009

Completely shallow post about hair

I need your help. And yes, it's frivolous and superficial and hair-related.

I've been thinking about straightening my hair recently. Not permanently, not chemically, but, you know... just to mix it up a little. I love the curls, and for a long time I've worn my hair short, but I think it's time to start growing it out a bit, and if I'm going to do that I'm going to need other ways to mix it up.

So, here's the thing. I love the way my hair looks when my stylist straightens it. Let's illustrate:


But I've never done it myself. And the few times I've had a friend do it, it's turned out pretty well but it has taken forever. And that's still by someone who can easily reach the back of my head.

And I do love the curls. So, I don't know. Is this something I should try to figure out? If so, how do I even go about it? Do I need a ceramic flat iron, or is there something else I should be using? Will this stuff damage my hair? What products do I need to make sure the straight thing stays? Or is this just a waste of time and money that will turn my natural curls into a frizzy half-straight mess?

57 comments:

  1. I have curly hair (not as curly as yours) but I have a pretty good ceramic straight iron (get an expensive one. You get what you pay for). But really if the weather is at ALL humid then it frizzes like crazy. I use a product called friz-ease sometimes but it's kind of expensive for just small little bottles. I straighten my hair about twice a year because it takes like, half an hour! (Then again mine is really long)

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  2. Yet another thing we have in commons - bountiful curls! When I straighten it (which isn't very often because it is a big royal pain in the ass), I have product to help straighten it (expensive product, too ... gah!). Then I blow dry it, section by section (starting at the bottom and working my way up). The back is definitely hard and I have no advice to make it easier. Then I usually flat iron it ... because my drying skills are not perfect. I don't think the flat iron is so bad for your hair IF you use it once in a while and IF you use it on a somewhat low heat setting (same holds true for your hair dryer, I guess). You better show us pictures when you try it for yourself!!!

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  3. Ooh! Ooh!! I can answer this!! How handy that I am a hairstylist who reads your blog! It's the one time I think I have ever been able to be any use to you!

    First, I highly recommend spending the money and getting a good flat iron. A Chi iron is expensive, but worth the money. The heating element heats evenly and the actual iron is made so that your hair won't get caught in the plates and get broken off. If you don't want to spend the money on a Chi iron, make sure you do get one with ceramic plates and use it as little as possible.

    Second, use some kind of a spray to help straighten your hair. There are all sorts of flat iron sprays, smoothing sprays, heat protective sprays and all that stuff on the market. I highly recommend Paul Mitchel Worked Up for straightening though. It is a styling spray, so it won't be all stiff and too hold-y, and it works better than any of the (many) other kinds I have tried.

    Third, get a decent comb and practice following the flat iron with the comb. Your hair is still hot once you've made a pass with the flat iron, so the comb will help straighten without having to make quite as many passes with the iron, thus saving you some damage.

    Fourth, yes you will damage your hair. Heat is always bad. What I usually do is keep mine curly the first couple of days after a shampoo, then straighten it the last day or two before I shampoo again. The dirtier the better when straightening! (If you are shampooing every day, you are shampooing way too much.)

    And last, be patient with yourself. learning to navigate a flat iron on your own takes practice. you have to find a way that is comfortable for you. You will cuss and throw the comb and it will take forever the first few times you do it, but eventually you will learn. And it's worth the frustration for the versatility!

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  4. wow. that was long. sorry for hijacking your entire comment section.

    twice.

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  5. I just have a regular straightening iron - and I have long, thick, wavy/curly hair - so what I do is I put all my hair except for a section in a ponytail and then just do that section. After I straighten it, I use the herbal essence dangerously straight "flat iron finishing spray" on each section. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    A few hints: Do on dry hair and give your hair a break from the heat, of course :P

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  6. I don't really have any advice but just wanted to say that I love the straight hair look on you. Very cute!

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  7. It looks good. I have curl envy though, so I love it curly!

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  8. I was hoping Tara would comment on this one for you!

    I second everything she says - and I was going to say, make sure you use a spray before you straighten it. They make ones that aren't for hold, just to stave off the heat damage & they'll really help.

    Good luck!

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  9. i think it's worth it to learn to style your hair in different ways.
    i think tara summed it up best - but here is another product that i have read great things about (http://sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P230423&categoryId=C7244&shouldPaginate=true). also, a big thing i agree with tara on - don't wash your hair everyday. it will do wonders for your hair!

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  10. Yeah, it's a total pain in the ass, but i straighten my hair occasionally. Not very often, and always if i shower at night rather than in the morning because it just takes too long to do before work.
    First i let it dry naturally, or blow dry it with a round brush (in sections starting with the back and working my way forward).
    Then it's usually all puffy because i can't blow dry my own hair like the hairstylists do it, so i go over it with the iron. My iron is not very good, and was not very expensive, which is another reason why i don't do it very often. But again, i do it in sections, starting with the back, and clipping all of the un-ironed hair out of the way until i get to it.
    It's worth it if your going to do it every once in awhile, but i wouldn't suggest it for everyday. Flat irons = heat damage.

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  11. I have hair that can be either curly or straightened (tho not as curly as yours). I bought an expensive straightener a few years ago and love it. Its worth the money and defintely use some sort of protectant. I use one from Aveda.

    Love the straight hair!

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  12. I wash my hair every other day (unless I sweat excessively during exercise! How do you guys handle the greasiness??) Then sometimes I blow dry or let it air dry, depending on what kind of mood I am in. If I don't blow dry I HAVE to flat iron or else my hair dries in a weird curly/wavy mess, if I go to bed with it damp.

    Your hair looks awesome straight and I can't wait to see more pictures after you try it yourself! :o)

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  13. The straightened hair looks so pretty on you! I would say definitely give it a try. I don't have any advice on how to go ABOUT that...but definitely try it!

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  14. I always wonder why it is that women with beautiful curls would ever aspire to flat, limp straight hair? Us straight-hairs are cursed, I believe.

    Although the photo does look pretty cute.

    I have no input, but will say that if it's so much of a p.i.t.a, then embrace your curls and save the straightness for your stylist.

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  15. I have no advice for you, having stick-straight hair myself. (It amuses me that people have actually asked me, "How do you get your hair so straight?" Um, this is what my hair DOES. The question would be how can I make it curly??)

    So. No advice, but I will say that the photo of you with the straight look is lovely!

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  16. ooo...I love your hair straight! pretty!

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  17. I hope you get the help you're looking for! I have curly/wavy hair so it's never straight and smooth.

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  18. i don't have any advice for you since i don't have curly hair, but i do *love* the way your hair looks straightened.

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  19. i'd definitely get a NICE hair straightener. The CHI brand is really good but it will cost you about $150. then, i'd get some heat protection spray for your hair and then just go at it! maybe do it on a saturday morning and wear it like that for the weekend and see how you like it. then you won't be in a rush and can figure out how much time it would take if you had to work that morning.

    i straighten my hair almost every morning, but my hair isn't really curly to begin with so it only takes me about 10 minutes.

    good luck!

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  20. I have curl envy because my hair is straight as a board everyday of the week. Nothing will curl this blonde massive mess.
    My niece has natural curls that she straightens. She has the expensive Chi iron which is what I've heard is a great one to use. It isn't so harsh on those fabulous curls you have...love them! BUT the picture with straight hair on you is beautiful!

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  21. You look adorable either way. I have curly hair but never, ever wear it naturally. I find dealing with the mane harder than blowing it out.

    While I have a hair iron, I always feel pretty guilty after using it. Also, I don't look great with completely straight, completely flat hair.

    Is it weird that I find this shallow hair talk to be completely invigorating?

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  22. Im sure others have said this already, but I just wanted to say to be sure to buy a really good (expensive) iron. The cheaper ones do nothing really. Oh, and be sure to have some sort of moisturizing something so that it doesnt dry out.

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  23. Straight hair looks great on you. I think it would be fun to have multiple hairstyles to chose from.

    I can't offer much advice since my hair is fairly straight, but I always blow dry with a big round brush to get volume and straightness. Then I only have to use the straightener to touch up the areas that aren't as straight as I want them to be.

    You could also use the straightener to flip up the edges. I think that would look cute with the length your hair is. Good luck!

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  24. Oh boy. I too have curly hair (not cute curly like yours, more like wfooz curly) and it's a pain in the a** to straighten. But it must be done. Get a good blow dryer (i use t3, expensive but awesome) and a good straightener (chi?). Small sections and patience. And some anti-friz stuff. Blah, it takes me forever, BUT it lasts for three days (four if I really push it). I love your hair curly, but that pic of it straight is AWESOME.

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  25. You have pretty hair. But, yes, it's nice to mix things up.

    You'll need a good straightener. I have a chi, which I DON'T recommend. It causes major hair breakage when strands get stuck b/t the plates. For more useful info, see this article: http://www.slate.com/id/2164776/

    About damage: straightened hair can go 2+ days (you can always baby powder your roots too). Since you have such curly hair, I'm going to assume you've already gotten the memo about not washing every day.

    If you don't dye your hair, heat styling a couple days of week isn't going to do major damage. Still, I like to smooth my ends with a touch of jojoba oil (you can find it for cheap at natural food stores).

    Likelihood this comment will inspire a post on my blog: very high.

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  26. About 10 years ago I had short hair (and curls, as you know), and I wore it straight as I grew it out. I used a round brush to blow it dry and a big curling iron, but nowadays there are way more tools that make it easier...

    You look great with both curly and straight. You have options!

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  27. I like it straight! Of course I love the curls too, so maybe you could reserve straight for special occasions? It sounds like a lot of work.

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  28. omg i am SO no help here. not only do i not have curly OR thick hair, i am also super lazy and cannot ever see myself doing something to my hair that would take 30 minutes. unless it's sitting around with dye on it :-)

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  29. I highly recommend a flat iron and a protecting spray (I personally like the "Protecting" spray from Pantene Pro-V, it's relatively cheap, smells good, and does a nice job). I blow dry as straight as I can, and then just pull my hair through the flat iron (you get better with practice, the back of my head isn't too hard to do anymore). Also, my girlfriend turned me onto the Sunsilk Curl Creme, and I actually use it when I straighten like a light pomade/wax...same effect for me as Frizz-Ease, but cheaper.

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  30. I think your hair looks super cute either way, but maybe if you reserve the straightening for times when you have a little extra leeway in the morning? It is quite a process.

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  31. Oh man, I'm practically an EXPERT on this topic. I straighten my hair basically every day (or nearly every time I shower, which is, um, not necessarily every day). I blow dry, then use Rusk's Sheer Brilliance. Then straighten with ceramic iron. I got a cheap one first, to see if I would keep doing it. Then I bought a pricey one (about $100), which I've had for a like 4 years and it still works.

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  32. Wow...I love your hair like that! I have no clue about straightening hair because mine is short and straight.

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  33. If you decide to straighten your hair you really to invest in a good flatiron. I have a CHI that I love and it does the job. It takes some time but it's fun to have a new hairstyle now and again.

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  34. My hair is, as a rule, straight, so I have no advice. Your hair sure does look cute straight though....

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  35. The expensive straighteners are totally worth the price. I'd recommend chi or sedu (get the 1-inch). Also, when straightening your hair, do it in layers, sectioning off pieces at a time.

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  36. I am of no help- I have mostly straight, slightly wavy hair and I don't have the patience to straighten my hair.
    But it looks awesome! Good luck

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  37. My hair is no where near as curly as yours and I have a hard time straightening the back - BUT - OMG! This is the MOST flattering look on you! I ABSOLUTELY ADORE IT!

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  38. I've got curls too, and my stylist has told me that straightening curly hair too often (I don't actually ever straighten it but I did ask out of curiosity) will damage your "curl pattern."

    But, if you are going to straighten it, your best bet will most likely be a anti-frizz serum, a round metal brush, a blow dryer, and a ceramic flat iron.

    I often blow out my friend's curly hair for her, and here's how I do it:

    1) towel try it and apply an
    anti-frizz serum (John Frieda works well for curly hair)

    2) Comb through your hair to evenly distribute the serum.

    3) Pin up all but the bottom layer of your hair and blow dry it using the round brush.

    4) Then, unpin the next section of your hair and dry that. Continue until you've blown out all of the sections.

    5) Then, starting with the bottom layer again, use a flat iron to straight the bottom layer. Continue working in small sections until you've straightened all of your hair.

    If done correctly, it'll come out looking like your hair was done in the salon.

    The thing with the flat iron is that it'll make your hair stick straight and take out some of the body/style. It depends what look you're doing for. Judging from the picture you have up of your straight hair, it doesn't look like the stylist used a flat iron.

    Good luck!

    (by the way, I think your curly hair is gorgeous and doesn't need to be straightened!)

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  39. I've got a GHD straight iron, which was VERY expensive but I've got difficult, frizzy hair and the GHD works beautifully. I think they have them at Sephora?

    Plus - they have a limited edition purple iron - it looks so cute!

    www.ghdhair.com/us/

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  40. Tara's comment echoes everything I've ever heard from my mom, who used to be a hairstylist. I've only ever straightened my own hair once, although it seems like I'm always meaning to do it again...but now it is super long and it just seems like it would take forever. My hair is about as curly as yours when it is shorter. Right now the length is softening the curl a bit, which has been nice. But I'm bored. Maybe I should make a point to try to straighten it again soon just to mix things up. You know, for all those afternoons when I have 3 hours free! ;)

    I'll second the frizz-ease serum recommendation. I don't find it too terribly expensive because one of the little bottles lasts for quite some time. I use it when my hair is shorter (even if I'm wearing it curly) because hello, humid? I live in freaking Seattle!

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  41. I'm sure it's been said, but a CHI is a MUST. My hair is kind of like Kimi Gibbler's, but just one pass with the CHI will do the trick.

    I looooove your hair straight! Great pic!

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  42. as a hairstylist, i don't find your post shallow or superficial at all! =)

    everyone has pretty much already said everything i was going to say, but if you want to get a good deal on a flat iron, i've seen professional brands at Bed Bath and Beyond, of all places, if there's one near you. whichever brand you buy, just make sure it's a ceramic iron.

    and redken makes a bunch of really good products that are all heat-protectant, they all come in bright pink packaging and should be fairly easy to find at retail stores.

    good luck!

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  43. i think that its nice that you can do both! and i bet the more you practice the more you will be able to nail down the straightening part.

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  44. I have curly hair too-- you can totally do it straight!

    Like Lisa said, get an expensive SKINNY flat iron. I wouldn't recommend one of those straightening shampoos/conditioners b/c they weigh down hair. I like to have volume if I'm doing my hair straight. I use the shampoo from Bath and Body works and it's amazing. The volumizing one is great too if you want a little umph.

    When you wash your hair just turn your head upside-down to dry it at first. I'm sure since you have short hair it doesn't take that long to dry. It will already be straighter than usual, but then all you have to do is run the flat iron through it once and it should be good. If you don't try to do big chunks it shouldn't take that long-- it's all about not trying to do too much at once. Good luck!!

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  45. oh! I forgot to say to comb out your hair while it's wet! it helps A LOT

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  46. Not knowing your hair I won't give any advice. My suggestion would be talk to your stylist. Ask her what products she uses to get the effect that you like and have her recommend a few brands of straigtening irons so that you can decide which you think will work best for you.

    There are a ton of different products out there, but it's really based on hair type as to what will work best.

    It will definitely take you awhile to get used to working on the back of your head. I have real issues doing anything with the back of mine because I feel very dyslexic when I'm working in a mirror on my own hair.

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  47. You can get a good deal on a CHI hair dyer on Overstock.com. They threw in a free CHI flat iron when I bought mine.

    I blow dry my hair every couple days. It takes awhile to become "blow dryer proficient" but its worth the learning curve because it can last a few days.

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  48. Ok! Something I actually know about. I have crazy curly hair, but occasionally like to mix it up by straightening it. It takes time and patience but pratice makes perfect. You can either wash it, clip it off into sections and blow dry each section, and repeat. Or you can let it air dry, split hair into sections and straight iron it. I have 2 kinds--one with a rounded edge which helps with a flip at the end or just a regular straightening iron (mines revlon ceramic.) frizz ease or similar products help!
    Have fun!

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  49. I have hair like yours, but longer. It took me a while to learn to straighten it, but I love the results. I don't do it too often (damage = bad) but I do use a ceramic flat iron, because it's less damaging to hair. Also? I think you look gorgeous with straight hair. Very sort of careless chic. Go with it!

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  50. I forgot - it used to take me an hour to straighten my hair (not even worth it, right?) but now, after much practice, I can do it in under 20 minutes. And it's past the middle of my back, so. Just thought you should know it gets easier.

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  51. Oooh, Nice hair - although you still have the nicest curls I've seen. When i want to straighten my hair I blowdry my curls dry, and straight with a hair dryer and a paddle brush, then I section it off and run the irons through. If your hair is already dry then just use the irons, and small sections of hair.

    the back is always a total pain to do (more so if it's shorter) but with practice and patience you'll be fine.

    Just remember to let it dry naturally sometimes (to give it a break) and to use heat protecting spray.

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  52. Ooooh. I wish I could help you but I have super curly hair, and unless someone else straightens it (RARE) then curly it remains!

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  53. Oh, one more thing. I noticed that there are a few comments raising the question as to why anyone with curly hair would want to straighten it.

    I hear this a LOT and would love to take the chance to respond. Mind you, I may straighten my hair twice a year at the most: if I happen to get it cut on a day that's not humid then I have the stylist do it. I never fail to hear Why would you straighten your hair??//Don't you like it?//There are tons of people out there who wish they had curly hair."
    I like my curly hair. But I occasionally wear it straight for two days for the same reason people with straight hair want to curl it now and again: It's just nice to have a change.

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  54. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Joyce

    http://www.videophonesguide.com

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  55. in some ways, i think it's easier to straighten when you have curly hair b/c you can easily see where you missed a spot. i say go for it!

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