Now more than ever, brown girls are embracing their natural textures and flaunting kinks, waves and curls. While textured hair comes with tons of versatility on the style front, some days you may want to flaunt a silky-straight mane and show off your length. The idea of applying heat to your hair may give you pause, but you can score a super-straight look without compromising the health of your hair. In other words, straightening your hair correctly requires the right amount of skill and proper preparation. And who better to learn from than a celebrity stylist.
In an effort to help you achieve straight strands while maintaining a healthy mane, we’re sharing advice from celebrity hairstylist Monae Everett, who has worked with Paige Hurd, Yara Shahidi, Mara Brock Akil and more.
Monae breaks down the steps of prepping your hair, straightening your mane and taking care of your strands post-straightening to maintain your look. So, before you reach for your go-to flat iron, grab a pen, pad and get ready to score some useful advice on how to go from curly to straight strands with ease. Check out the six best tips from Monae to style your mane to perfection at home below.
1. Kick things off by using a cleansing shampoo.
The key to working your way to straight strands is to thoroughly clean your hair. “I recommend starting off with a clarifying shampoo, so you can remove all the dirt, oil and debris from your hair and scalp,” she says. “This will make your straight hair look that much better and preserve the health of your hair.”
2. Follow up with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
It’s not news that natural hair and nourishing products go hand in hand. And after shampooing your hair with a clarifying product, you’ll need to step it up on the moisture front. “Adding a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner into the mix, such as the Sebastian Dark Oil Lightweight Shampoo ($12.60, Ulta.com) and Sebastian Dark Oil Lightweight Conditioner ($13.36, Ulta.com) will quench you hair’s thirst and set the tone for your look,” she explains.
3. Add a leave-in conditioner, foam and serum into the equation.
In case you haven’t realized, moisture is the name of the game for straightening your natural hair. So, it’s important to ensure that your strands retain moisture to take you through the process with ease and keep breakage at bay. “It’s all about layering your products and starting on a clean canvas,” she shares. “A great first layer to use is the Naked by Essations Tonic Leave In Conditioner ($9.00, Carisalon.com) to provide your hair with lasting moisture and aid in the detangling process.
Once your hair is detangled, it’s time to finish the layering process with setting foam lotion and a serum to lock in moisture and prep your strands for heat. Monae likes to use the the Nairobi Shine Foam Lotion ($23.77, Amazon.com) which provides extra conditioning and the Naked by Essations Satin Silkening Glaze ($20.50, Essations.com) that smoothes and shines hair while adding thermal protection.
4. Blow dry your hair.
Once your hair is washed and conditioned, you may have to deal with a bit of shrinkage. Since you want to achieve maximum length, you’ll need to stretch out your strands with a blow-drying session. “I like to use an ionic for ceramic blow dryer,” she says. “I’d either do a round brush blow dry or directed paddled brush blow dry with the Foam Intuition Hot Paddle Brush ($19.99, Ulta.com). The key is to blow dry and hold the hair up at the roots to create volume and pass through your strands to stretch your length.”
5. Flat iron your hair using the chase method.
Now that your hair is blow-dried, it’s time to straighten your mane with a flat iron. “Since most of their hair is already straight, you can work in small sections to chase it with a comb,” Monae explains. If you’re not familiar with the chase method, you’ll want to kick things off by parting your hair into small sections. Clip the sections of your hair you’re not working with away. This will allow you to work in small sections and limit the amount of passes with your flat iron.
Next, place a rat tail comb near your roots and clamp your flat iron in front of the comb. Pass both tools simultaneously through your strands to stretch your hair. “This allows you to hold the hair taut and really get the hair straight,” she adds. Repeat the process until you’re left with a silky mane.
6. Take care of your mane the right way.
Since your hair has been straightened perfectly, you’ll need to put in the effort to keep it smooth and sleek. “The key to maintaining straight texture is tension,” Monae explains. “So you’ll either want to have a flat wrap and go over it with a hard boar bristle brush. That ensures the tension and keeps it flat and straight.” It’s also smart to top things off by wrapping your head with a silk or satin scarf. This will help your mane maintain moisture and keep your strands free of frizz.
You can also keep things simple with a classic bun. “Put your hair in a bun at the top or back of your head to help keep your straight texture intact,” she shares.
For the girls that love to add volume to their manes, pin curls are your best friend. Pin curls allow you to add some texture into the mix and can revive your straight look a few days post-styling.