How Do I Straighten Curly Hair?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A plethora of straightening methods are designed to turn curly locks into sleek, swishy strands. Hair relaxers, straightening irons, and keratin treatments are some popular methods. Especially curly hair often needs more than one straightening method to be bone straight. Before venturing into the world of straightening hair products, remember that all methods are harmful to your hair, even if a hair salon stylist or product label says otherwise. No amount of heat styling or strong chemicals that break your hair’s natural bonds are healthy, but there are things you can do to minimize the damage.

Also called lanthionization, hair relaxers use lye, perm salt, or other strong chemicals to weaken the structure of curly hair so that it curls less. Many people straighten curly hair this way and achieve positive results, but the instructions must be followed precisely. Leaving a chemical cream on too long can burn your skin and lead to significant hair loss. In addition, gloves must be used, or else the skin that comes into contact with the cream will be damaged; fingernails typically turn a light yellow color when exposed to the cream.


Hair irons are used both by people who have had relaxers and did not achieve the straightness they desired and people who want to straighten curly hair only on occasion. These devices should be used in combination with a heat protective spray to minimize heat damage. Use the iron on the lowest temperature settings that garner the results you are looking for and go higher only when necessary. If possible, do not iron the ends of your hair because this is the oldest, most fragile area that likely cannot withstand the heat and will split.

Also known as the Brazilian hair treatment and Brazilian blowout, keratin treatments are often touted as a safe way to straighten curly hair with no damage, though this is untrue because of its application method. It works by sealing protein into the hair with a very hot straightening iron, leading to up to 80-percent curl reduction and less frizz. Once the treatment has been administered, you will be advised not to wash your hair, pin it up, or tuck it behind your ears for several days. A major brand of keratin treatment contains the chemical formaldehyde, however, which can cause blindness, birth defects in unborn children, and, in some cases, death. While a relatively long-lasting way to straighten curly hair, researchers are not certain about the safety of using keratin treatments containing formaldehyde.


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Post 4

I have shoulder-length curly hair, so it is fairly easy to straighten. It isn't tightly curled, and that helps, too.

I clip my hair up in sections while it is wet. I blow dry each section with a round brush, pulling it out slowly as I move the heat downward. When one section is totally dry, I move on to the next.

This gets a lot of the curl out. To further straighten the waves, I put my dry hair up on huge velcro rollers and let it set for fifteen minutes.

When I take it down, I have very smooth hair with lots of body. Curly hair tends to have more body when you blow dry it straight, and adding the big rollers pumps it up even more.

Post 3

@Oceana – It will damage your hair significantly. My stylist tried this on my hair, and it left it frizzy and dry. Also, it didn't totally remove the curl, and I had randomly placed waves that I could not tame.

The best straightener for curly hair is the straightening iron, by far. It is not permanent, so you can switch back and forth from curly to straight. Also, since you can use protective products, it won't cause as much damage as a chemical relaxer.

I find that it helps to blow dry my hair straight with a brush first. Once it is totally dry, I use the flat iron on a medium setting. This is hot enough to straighten out the curls but not so hot that it will fry my hair.

Post 2

My best friend is a hair stylist, and she is always wanting to try new things on my hair. When I asked her how to straighten curly hair, she recommended combing a perm solution through it for fifteen minutes.

She has straightened other people's hair this way. She just washes their hair, applies the perm solution, and stands there combing it straight until time to rinse it out.

Has anyone here ever tried this? I would really like to know how well it works before attempting it on my own hair. My curly hair is pretty healthy, and I don't want to destroy it.

Post 1

I have a friend who has naturally curly hair, but the curls are more like loose waves than spirals. I absolutely love her hair, and I wish that mine would do this naturally.

However, since we always want what we don't have, she hated her curls and wanted straight hair. She went to a salon for a Brazilian blowout and paid a lot of money to have her beautiful waves tamed.

It worked very well, but her hair grows so fast that it did not last long. Within a month, she had wavy roots growing out, and her hair looked strange, because it was curly at the top and straight on the bottom.

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