Straighten Hair Naturally

After reading 6 ways to straighten your hair naturally by Katherine Martinko @feistyredhair on TreeHugger, I had to write this response, simply because of the missing information:

I totally agree with Katherine Martinko when she says, “…many of the tools used to straighten hair, such as heat and chemical straighteners, are really bad for your hair. Over time, they dry it out, split the ends…” For me beautiful straight hair begins, with: A good hair cut. Correctly cleansed & conditioned hair. A perfectly executed blow-dry.

Healthy Hair, hair that is in really good condition, tends to be easier to keep straight than damaged hair! Damaged ends are often slightly curly. Have a gander at: My Top Ten Hairdressing Tips.

Read Katherine’s article, then you’ll understand my response.

Straighten Hair Naturally – SlashHair’s Tips

  1. Brush wet hair until it dries:
    After washing and conditioning your hair (see: The secret of perfect hair), give it a perfectly executed gentle blow-dry. That means take your time, small sections; point the hair-dryer down the hair shaft (from root to end); throw away that fucking heat concentrating nozzle; use a good quality hairbrush like a Denman Brush. Tip: always comb hair after washing and conditioning as brushing can rip wet tangled hair.
  2. Wrap wet hair tightly:
    Wrapping hair is not that easy, there’s a certain technique needed to get it smooth. The idea is to use ones head as one great big hair roller; the problem is: the hair needs to be re-wrapped in the opposite direction, maybe two or three times, during the drying process; otherwise the hair will be bouffant on one side and flat as a witch’s tit the other! You’ll need one or two big rollers in the crown. Tip: don’t secure the wrap with bobby pins, it will cause marks, use a triangular hair net instead.
  3. Set your hair in large hair rollers:
    Depending on your hair length, I’d recommend 76mm (3″) hair Rollers. Katherine is absolutely right, your hair must be completely dry before you remove the rollers (BTW, it’s the same when wrapping your hair. And it could take 12 hours to air dry depending on thickness). Tip: use a combination of blow-dry mousse and a few drops of Argon Oil as a setting aid; after removing rollers brush your hair well in all directions and conclude by giving your hair a light, warm blow-dry (same when wrapping).
  4. Use overnight hair hands:
    Don’t do what Katherine suggests, in the end it’ll damage your hair because even non-metal hair elastics exert a stress! It would be better for your hair to have one thick low plait (braid) fastened with a soft ribbon at the end. Obviously, your hair will not end up being straight, it’ll be wavy. Tip: use a few drops of Argon Oil to keep fluffy ends under control before plaiting.
  5. Twist hair into a bun:
    Steer clear of this because in the end it won’t work. Not only that, but it may actually damage your hair due to extra stress caused by the hair elastic! Straightening the hair with a ‘twisted’ chignon takes quite a lot of skill. Very difficult to do on ones own hair, challenging for a hairdresser. Requires the use of a hair product. Tip: the continual use of hair clips, pins, elastics and ribbons (regular point of contact) is bad for your hair.
  6. Make a natural straightening mask:
    Sorry, but a natural straightening mask is absolutely, totally Bollocks. It’s a con. It will not work. Save the milk and honey for your bedtime drink. As I said at the start, keeping your hair in good condition is a prerequisite to good looking hair. Tip: How To Get Super Shiny Hair.

Maybe it sounds like I didn’t like Katherine Martinko’s article, that’s not true! Actually I liked Katherine’s article, straighten hair naturally, I just wanted to clear up what I thought were a few caveats.

The secret of perfect hair: shampoo it CORRECTLY!

Model: Anik, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London - Willie Christie's Studio

The other day a client told me about an article she had recently read: The secret of perfect hair: Use conditioner BEFORE you shampoo – Of course I had already read it!

The article basically explains the method of conditioning the hair before shampooing (I was going to summarise it, but please read it yourself) – By-the-way, it’s not a new idea, remember those hot (warm) oil conditioning treatments of the 1960s and 1970s?

You should also read Siobhan O’Connor’s article: How to Wash Your Hair Backwards. Have You Ever Tried It? – She gives an excellent quote by the late Horst Rechelbacher:

When you wash your hair, try using your conditioner first. If you want to go all the way, put oils on your scalp, give yourself a nice massage, and then comb it through. Next, wet it down, put conditioner all over your hair and then also all over your body. Wash yourself with the conditioner, then rinse it all off. Then, you use shampoo. Rinse it off as well, and you won’t need conditioner again. If your hair is tangly, put a little oil on your hands and then comb it through – that’s it. You will feel very pure. – True.

I have been in hairdressing all my life, I’ve heard and read a lot of bollocks about shampoos, shampooing, conditioners and conditioning, so here are my thoughts on this complex subject!

Firstly, there are a lot of variables, here are a few of the obvious:

  • The Water [hard-soft/temperature/pressure/pollutants].
  • The Shampoo and Conditioner [the multitude of formulations, PH etc., application/quantity and distribution, development time].
  • The Hair Type [Length (short-long), Density (number of), Diameter (thickness), Texture can mean: Afro-textured hair/tightly coiled/kinky, curly, wavy or straight (natural or chemically processed) and the degrees thereof; and within those groups there are three types of texture, coarse, medium and fine. Colour (natural or chemically processed). Condition (greasy-dry/healthy-badly damaged). So, for example you could have: long, thin, naturally straight, fine, tinted blonde, greasy and badly damaged hair].
  • The Dirt [natural body oil (sebum), styling products, environmental pollutants]
  • Your Modus Operandi [technique/frequency/etc.].

How to wash and condition your hair

You’ve got to pick the correct shampoo for your hair type! Put a small amount (about the size of a ten pence piece, more is not better) of shampoo on the palm of your hand, rub hands together and apply evenly to the dry (not wet) hair. Massage the hair and scalp gently and thoroughly. Rinse very well with fresh clean warm water (hot is not good and definitely not bath water). Repeat using slightly less shampoo. Rinse very well with fresh clean warm water. If the shampoo didn’t lather on the second application, repeat a third time using even less shampoo, it should lather this time, if not, do it again because your hair is obviously dirty. Rinse very well with fresh clean warm water. Never leave shampoo on the hair to process unless there is a specific requirement.

For the best hair day you’ve had in months: After shampooing and before conditioning, use a citric acid rinse. Prepare the rinse in a plastic measuring jug by completely dissolving approximately 1/2 (half) teaspoonful of citric acid crystals into 200ml of boiling water. Add 300ml of cold water (you’ve now got 500ml of warm citric acid solution) – give it a stir. You could use an organic cider vinegar rinse instead if you want. Carefully pour the citric acid rinse over your hair, avoid getting it in the eyes, leave it on for one minute, rinse off well with cool-cold water.

If your hair is not squeaky clean do not condition it, re-wash it! You’ve got to pick an hydrating conditioner that is harmonious / compatible with your shampoo type and brand. Put a minuscule amount of conditioner on the palm of your hand, rub hands together and apply evenly to the to the hair – where required, often to the ends only. The quantity of conditioner used is actually determined by the hair type (the size of a ten pence piece is far, far too much). Comb the conditioner gently through the hair. Leave on for the required time – 1-3 minutes. Rinse off very well with warm/cool water.

After washing, rinsing and conditioning pat the hair dry. Apply a microscopically small amount of oil to the scalp (1-3 drops fine hair to 1.5ml on thick wavy hair). Put two drops of oil, say, into the palm of your hand; dip in fingertips from your other hand. Touch both sets of fingertips together for an even distribution and massage gently into the scalp – Not the hair! The oil will move down the hair shaft quickly and naturally.

Washing the hair three times a week is normal, however your lifestyle may change this?

Obviously that is not the end of the subject, there are a number of individual problems. Washing your hair in reverse, reverse shampooing, may seem to solve the fine, greasy, lank hair problem in the short-term (because, it is common for people with fine, lank hair to over condition and have problems with product buildup), but I think you will find that in the long-term, reverse shampooing may damage chemically processed hair to the point of no return.

If you think you have a problem with your hair, the only way to determine its true condition and identify the proper course of treatment that is right for you and your hair, is to talk with your hairdresser. I can help you to achieve and maintain, healthy, beautiful and shiny hair that will grow stronger and live longer. I can also teach you how to safely use the different styling tools, like straighteners – that can potentially wreck your hair, so you can recreate a professional looking finish without buggering it up.

How To Get Rid Of Static Electricity In Your Hair This Winter

© Model: Penelope Savalas, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981-ish, Hair: Ian Robson. London

I was with a client this frosty December morning and she asked the question, “When I brush my hair, especially after straightening, my hair turns static and I can’t do a bloody thing with it; how do I cure it?”

OK Katherine, well you know what it’s like when you walk across the carpet in a department store, step on the escalator and touch the handrail, Zap! You get a shock created by static electricity. The electric charge is generated by two materials rubbing together, you and the carpet, and discharged, usually from the fingertips, via the handrail!

It’s basically the same with the hair; when you brush your hair it causes the hairs to have the same charge and they repel each other, just like two magnets, the same poles repel. In hair, the same charge repels – it’s normally positive (+).

The cold frosty mornings of winter are usually the worst times for static electricity to occur in your hair, it’s caused by the lack of moisture in the air so the electrons move more freely.

How To Fix It

Add some moisture by washing your hair with a hydrating shampoo like, Redken’s Clear Moisture Shampoo. Always condition; use a compatible conditioner i.e. Redken’s Clear Moisture Conditioner. If you want, you can use an extra rich conditioner twice a month.

For your thick wavy hair Katherine, use up to 1.25ml (1/4 tspn less is better) of grapeseed oil applied to wet hair after washing and conditioning and before drying.

Blow-dry your hair with an ionic hair dryer, which helps to reduce static. If possible, use a natural boar bristle hairbrush like the iconic, great British hairbrush, Mason Pearson; however, I use and recommend the Denman D5 (used to be called Royal Denman).

Before straightening use a heat protector something like, Redken iron silk 07 ultra-straightening spray – there are others like the ghd Heat Protect Spray!

After styling and especially for fine, straight hair use a microscopically small amount of Frizz-Ease hair serum on the ends of your hair.

Finishing products like Elnett Satin hairspray (the only one I’d recommend) help fix the hair.

Moisturize, use a hand and body cream to keep your skin hydrated.

Ground Yourself Katherine, walk naked outside. Now you are static free and you look electrifying ;D

Model: Penelope Savalas, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981-ish, Hair: Ian Robson. London