Who Wants To Have Straight Hair?
No, not everyone, but there are people who would prefer to have straight hair for whatever reason. More often than not, the way chosen to achieve this styling preference is:
- using chemicals
- or direct heat like blow dryers, flat irons
- or even indirect heat like a hooded dryer
This article is going to examine the benefits and the various styling options which should help to get straight hair, but without using heat to make it happen. I have also included various ways of using heat as an option if all else fails.
What determines straight hair
There are a few elements that go into determining the best straightness of your hair like:
- your hair texture – curly, coarse, thin, thick, straight
- the state of your hair – whether it is natural, chemical free, or textured
- the process used to achieve the goal
Benefits Of Straightening Hair Without Heat
- no heat damage
- no residue buildup from constant heat protectant products
- smoother cuticle and more shiny hair
- less heat on hair so it minimizes the drying effect
- healthier hair
Ways To Straighten Hair
There are a few ways to straighten your hair of any texture or length using heat, no heat, chemical processes, and natural processes. Even though this article’s main focus is on NO HEAT straightening, I will touch a little on the other processes which use heat or chemical processes to achieve straightness.
Of course, using no heat to achieve fairly straight hair will surely not be the same as when you apply heat to your hair. It will not be ‘bone straight’. So, that being said and out of the way, let’s look at some processes to achieve straight hair without heat.
Types of processes:
- tension blowdrying on cool setting
- satin wrapping
- silk wrap
- roller setting, flexi-rods, perm rods
Let’s take a quick look at how we can use these abovementioned processes to straighten our hair.
Banding – this is a very common practice in most African countries. The women will tie bands around the length of their hair and keep it in that fashion for a few days. Once they take the bands off, the amazing thing is that the banding somehow ‘elongates’ the hair section and it does appear longer and less curly, thus aptly called ‘straightened’.
You can use ouchless elastic bands or satin hair bands to wrap around the hair section. If the process is done continuously on a pre-banded section, each time the hair section will appear more straight and less curly. It just depends on how frequently you cleanse your hair and the amount of banding and re-banding that you do in between wash days.tension blowdrying on cool setting
Tension blowdrying on cool setting – this is a very common process among a lot of natural haired girls who want to have less curly tresses and more of straight look. After the hair has been cleansed, it is divided into sections to make the blow-drying easier. Blotting with a t-shirt or microfiber towel will make the process quicker and easier as most of the water will be removed.
Each hair section is then blow-dried by holding the hair with the free hand while holding it taut. You direct the cool air from the root to the end of the hair strand. You do this for as long as is necessary to dry the hair.
Twisting – two-strand twist this is also another common way of stretching (as it often called) natural hair. The hair is divided into small sections -wet, damp, or dry hair. Then each section is further divided into two and twisted back on itself until the end of the hair.
Once the hair is fully dry, you can undo the twist (called a twist-out) or simply retwist and keep this way for as long as desired. Each time that it retwisted, it elongates a bit and loses some of its curl pattern, thus appearing a little straighter each time.
Braiding – braiding is similar to twisting above, this time you simply divide the small sections of hair into 3 single pieces and then braid them together. This also can be a styling option called a braid-out. However, it will be the same – each time it is rebraided, it will get longer (straighter) and soften the hair’s curl pattern.
Satin wrapping – this is somewhat similar to the banding process above. The difference being that you use satin ribbons to wrap the entire length of the air without stopping until you get to the end of the hair then you make a simple knot to keep the wrap from unraveling. Whereas, with the bands, you band sections of the hair length separately. SO, effectively, you might have 4-6 (or more depending on your hair length) silk or ouchless bands, and only one silk wrap around the hair.
Silk wrap – this is where the hair is first set on magnetic rollers, air dried or cool setting blow-dried under a hooded hair dryer, and then the rollers are removed. Once removed, the hair is combed out and brushed in one direction around the shape of the head until all the hair has been brushed into each other so it is like a ‘ball of cotton candy’.
You can then wrap a silk scarf around the brushed hair or some saran wrap (hence the name silk wrap) and sit under a hooded hair dryer with the setting on medium to low heat for about 15-20mins. What the heat does is to actually ‘set’ the straightness of the brushed hair around your head.
Once this is done, you remove the silk scarf or saran wrap and then comb out the hair and enjoy the straightened hairstyle. You can re-wrap the hair later for additional straightness until your wash day.
Roller setting, flexi-rods, perm rods – I love using this method occasionally. You cleanse your hair and then you simply roller set your hair on magnetic rollers, flexi-rods, or perm rods. Ideally, you choose the bigger circumferences of these rollers in order to get the smoothest curl from the roller. The bigger the circumference of the roller, the straighter the hair will be.
After using these rollers, then to make it even straighter, you can combine the silk wrap method and voila – even straighter hair without using heat.
With Natural Products
There are a few ways that one can use to straighten hair naturally. Here are a few suggestions:
- coconut oil/cream
- aveda naturally straight products
- henna treatment
- mud washes
- cherry lola treatment
With Heat – Direct And Indirect
- flat ironing
- roller setting
With Chemical Processes
- chemical relaxers – no-lye and lye-based products
- keratin straightening
- amino acids straightening
- thermal reconditioning aka Japanese hair straightening
In truth, the only way to straighten your hair without causing damage is by using special shampoos or styling products along with various styling techniques to achieve straighter hair. These products may smooth frizz and soften curls, but they might not give you the ‘bone straight’ look that you might crave for a particular hairstyle.
You can use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners – naturally made as well as pre-made – which can help to reduce frizz. Straightening creams and serums applied before or after blow drying can also minimize curl by coating strands and adding weight to the hair.
It should be noted that in the long term, shampoos, styling products, and hot tools can give you smoother, straighter hair; however, the ‘straight look’ will not last as long as chemical straightening. Chemical straightening tends to break down the bonds in the hair, which give hair its texture and then rebonds them. The result is straight, frizz-free hair that can last for a few weeks to a few months, depending on the process.
The decision is really up to you and what is available to you:
- your time
- your budget
- your ability to care for your hair
- your hair texture
- your styling options
- your health focus
You just have to do your research and make an informed decision.
My Final Thoughts On How to Straighten Hair Without Heat
I agree wholeheartedly that straightening your hair gives you a different styling option, however, for me, I prefer curls and as much as I can get. Though I did not always share this sentiment, I still don’t mind a straight look occasionally – maybe once a year.
I used chemical relaxers for more than 30 years, and once I discovered the beauty and flexibility of having curly hair, I have never looked back. Thankfully, our society has been looking towards minimizing the use of chemicals in more ways than one and putting the focus on using natural and organic products for the health of mankind.
This being said, women are now more willing to embrace their ‘God-given’ hair textures and work with it the best way they can without causing any kind of harm to their hair and their health. There has been a lot more women ‘going natural’ in the last 5-10 years.
Hair product manufacturers are also taking notice and making more ‘natural hair-friendly’ products for the hair market.
I hope you found this article informative and I would love to hear your feedback.