How to Straighten Hair Without Heat Damage

How to Clean Flat Iron

Curly hair is making a fabulous comeback and women are finally embracing their natural hair.  Having naturally curly hair is an amazing blessing. It has loads of volume and bounces and it so easily goes from playful to sexy in minutes.  

You can also straighten your curls.  It’s fun sometimes to take a break from your usual look. Most women straighten their curls with heat.  In other words, they use a hairdryer to first blow out their curls and then use a flat iron to further smooth out any remaining waves.  This method produces good results, but it also damages your hair and can seriously affect your curls.

Curly hair in its natural state is extremely fragile and susceptible to frizz particularly fine and dry hair.  Just using a brush to stretch it exposes it to damage. Your hair’s chemical configuration determines its curl. When you use heat to straighten it, you break that chemical configuration.  In fact, you inflict serious damage with straightening incident. When you wet your hair, the configuration usually returns.

Use too much heat, too often (some women use heat to straighten their hair daily) and you risk permanently breaking that configuration.  If that happens, your hair can forever lose its curl. You can even lose strands of hair. Should that happen, because your hair is naturally curly, it will grow back curly, but you’ll just have to wait until it all regrows.

How to Protect Your Hair from Heat Damage

There are various ways, however, to protect your hair from the damage that heat straightening causes.  They include:

  • Use a Protectant Product: various products help protect your hair against heat damage.  Make sure you apply them before blow drying. Apply them once again, before using a flat iron.
  • Lower the Temperature: use the lowest temperature settings on your heat tools, especially if your hair is fine.
  • Condition Daily: Co-washes (conditioners that cleanse) are the ideal way to cleanse and condition curly hair and help it look its best on curly days.  On days you’re going to straighten, make sure you also condition.
  • Deep Condition Regularly:  even if you condition daily, regularly deep condition, too.  If you get build-up, you can always use a clarifying shampoo
  • Straighten Less:  try not to heat straighten your hair more than once or twice a month.

If you want to straighten your hair more than once or twice a month, consider using straightening methods that don’t utilize heat.

How to Straighten Hair Without Heat

Here are several ways to straighten your hair without using heat.  Here are a few of those methods, along with various products that assist with each method:

Cool Blow Dry:  use your hairdryer on a cool setting.  Use a vented brush and brush constantly.  It will take longer than heat blow drying but will cause far less damage.  Before you begin drying, apply one of these helpful blow drying products:

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum:  this serum conditions, smooths, and seals hair strands and leaves them silky, shiny, and frizz free.  Silicones further smooth, condition, and seal hair and offer additional shine. The majority of users swear by this product, even those with thick, coarse hair.

Surface Curls Smoothing Cream:  this sulfate and paraben free, vegan cream is formulated with babassu seed oil and cocoa butter.  It nourishes and softens curls for a smooth, superior blowout. Most users loved the cream and claimed that it worked wonderfully.  Some felt it wasn’t very moisturizing.

Carol’s Daughter Chocolat Smoothing Blow Dry Styling Cream:  you only need to use a small amount of this concentrated cream to create smooth, sleek hair when you blow dry.  The paraben, petrolatum, sulfate, and mineral free formula contains vegetable and soy protein to rebuild, smooth, and strengthen hair and guard against frizz.  Most users loved this product and highly recommended it. They said that it really smoothed their hair.

Roller Setting:  this method goes back to the bygone days when women slept and walked around with heads full of rollers. That’s essentially how they straightened their hair without heat and chemical relaxers. Results depend on weather and your hair texture (extremely curly hair may not completely straighten) and you have to practice to figure out how to get best results, In addition to setting product, you’ll also need magnetic rollers (the larger the rollers, the straighter the hair), a water spray bottle, and a satin or silk scarf.

how to straighten hair without heat fast

Shampoo and condition first (a list of products to follow).

If your hair starts to dry before you set it, use the spray bottle to keep it wet.  Section evenly and roll your hair. Roll and snap the rollers “under” instead of “over” so they don’t leave a fold in the hair.  Apply the setting product to each section before you roll it. Keep tension of the rollers even as it provides better results.

Let air dry.  You can speed up drying time by using a hairdryer on a cool setting.  Or, sleep overnight in the rollers. You must let your hair dry completely before removing the rollers.  If you take the rollers out before your hair is dry, your hair won’t straighten and it could curl back frizz.  When you take out the rollers it might look just fine. If not, brush and then style. (a list of brushes to follow).

Here are some useful setting products:

Mizani Styling Setting Lotion:  this multi-level lotion contains ceramide and panthenol, which infuses the hair shaft for intense conditioning and lets users create lavish sets.  Users raved over this product and said that results lasted for days.

Kera Care Foam Wrap-Set Lotion:  this set lotion seals moisture and conditioners into each hair strand.  It also provides advanced manageability and extraordinary body, shine, softness, and bounce. The pump dispenser delivers easy-to-use foam in a controlled amount for spot or full head application.   Most users liked this product and said that it worked very well on their hair.

Paul Mitchell Extra Body Extra-Body Sculpting Foam:  this lightweight foam gives fine hair volume and body, shine, flexible control, shine, manageability, and moisture.  You’ll be able to style it any way you want. Most users, especially those with fine hair, were very happy with this product.

Brushing Method

For long to medium length hair that usually straightens easily, after shampooing and conditioning, brush your hair and pull it tightly.  Repeat every few minutes until your hair is dry. For those with naturally wavy hair, this provides an unkempt chic look that the runways have been using. Hairstylists suggest smoothing ends with pomade or oil.

Here are some of the brushes that helped with this method:  

The Wet Brush:  this flexible, soft brush contains IntelliFlex bristles, which easily detangles hair whether it’s dry or wet.  It works with curly, as well as straight hair, thick or fine and the ergonomically designed handle lets you hold it with ease.  Most users were extremely pleased with this brush, especially those with thick hair and/or hair that was prone to tangling.

J&D Beauty Wet Pro Epic Quick Dry Brush:  this brush readily goes through wet or dry hair and detangles it using IntelliFlex bristles without tugging or pulling or damage or tears.  Most users loved this brush, whether they had fine or thick hair.

Use a Smoothing / Straightening Mask:  these are intense conditioners that actually straighten your hair.  Read the directions of the product as some are for deep conditioning and some are for straightening.  Watch the titles, too. Such is why they are identified as both. Many of these are relatively new, so reviews aren’t readily available or are contained on other sites.

Here are some effective smoothing masks:

Fanola Straightening Mask:  this mask straightens wavy and curly hair while also conditioning it and leaving its structure intact.  It contains cocoa butter and cotton oil, so it also leaves hair shiny and bright. The brand is highly recommended and users on other sites reviewed it highly.

Inebrya Ice Cream Smoothing Mask Toffe:  formulated with cocoa butter and cotton oil, this straightening mask makes curly hair easier to straighten, even coarse curly hair.  Users rate the brand favorably and recommend the product on other sites.

Echos Line Straightening Mask:  Echos Line is a groundbreaking, yet reliable and dependable product line that delivers superior solutions for all hair types.  The straightening mask is rich in cocoa butter and cotton oil. It detangles and softens even coarse, rebellious curly hair and makes it much easier to straighten.  Users really liked the results as well as Echos Line’s other products.

More: Best Smoothing Shampoo

Aveda No Heat Method

 Aveda has a no heat method that utilizes two of its products.  Here are the steps:

  • prepare your hair with Aveda Pure Abundance Style Prep and Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener.
  • divide and pin your hair at the top, comb, and wrap and pin it per each section.
  • continue to wrap and pin each section until all your hair is pinned.  Let dry overnight, unpin, and brush.

Remember, these methods take practice.  You probably won’t get the same results you got from heat tools, but your hair will certainly be in much better condition.  And, that’s much better for your hair in the long run.

Irina Tracy

I am a writer, journalist and nonconformist blogger. I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. When it comes to writing, I like to explore every topic I find to be interesting and I get out all the details about it. I published several books and wrote for national & international publications. Looking forward to share my writing with all you, readers so we can learn new things together with every post!

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