A Feature From Martha Stewart Living Online:
"A Breakdown of the Most Common Hair Straightening Treatments—Plus, the Best Method for Your Texture"
Those with straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair textures all care for their hair using a different approach, and this includes straightening treatments. According to Psyche Terry, the founder of Urban Hydration, it's important to keep in mind that straightening techniques are not one size fits all. "Each curl type and moisture [level] will absolutely respond differently to different straightening processes," she says. "The denser your coils are the more heat or processing your hair needs. The finer the coils, the less stress your hair can take—meaning just a hot setting on a blow dryer with a low setting on a flat iron may do the trick."
In addition to using heat protectants, wrapping your hair at night, and following manufacture instructions when undergoing these treatments, you should also keep up a consistent wash regimen to treat your hair with the utmost care. "No matter which option you choose, it's important to maintain moisture in your hair and deep condition regularly," says Brittany Johnson of Mayvenn Hair. "Use the right shampoos, conditioners, and products to maintain your hair and the treatment, and get regular trims to keep ends fresh and prevent any splitting up the hair shaft." You can boost hair strength through your diet as well, Johnson says, noting that biotin, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, protein, and plenty of water are ultimately what you need to keep hair healthy and growing naturally. Deena Von Yokes—master stylist, Redken artist, and owner of Studio Savvy Salon—says that protein is arguably the most important; you can get it avocado, salmon, nuts, sweet potatoes, tuna, almonds, sunflower seeds, and eggs. Ahead, some of the most common straightening treatments—and more steps to protect all hair textures in the process, courtesy of our experts.
While this method is widely known, and most recommended for straight hair textures, there are several steps to take to ensure hair stays healthy when under the heat of a flat iron. This technique includes gliding the tool in slow and controlled motions on small sections of hair until all strands are smooth and straight. To prep hair beforehand, Terry says to wash and condition and then moisturize the scalp and hair with a protective serum, like Honey Health & Repair Hair Grease and Pomade Balm ($8, urbanhydration.com), before blow drying.
Following this step, she highly recommends using a heat protectant, such as Honey Health & Repair Heat Protectant Serum ($8, urbanhydration.com), ahead of flat ironing. And be sure to watch your temperature settings, Terry notes. "I say no hotter than 340 degrees, and I'd start at 290 and start heating up after small strand tests," she shares. "This will ensure the hair isn't overstimulated and broken from too much heat." While everyone's hair can respond differently, she notes that finer and more porous strands don't take well to excessive heat.