About 80% of the time I rock curly styles because of how time consuming it is to straighten my hair. When I finally do go straight, I like to go as a long as possible until I wash it again because I don’t want to waste all of that effort. Right after I straighten my hair it is very lightweight and flowy which I love. In my last post I discussed how to achieve those results. After about a week or so, my hair starts to feel heavy. That’s when I like to change things up a bit with a braid out for something different. Unfortunately, it took a long time for me to find what worked for a successful braid out on straight natural hair.
I’ve been wearing my natural hair straight more often recently. My straight hair calls for a totally different routine than the one I would use for my hair when it is shrunken and curly. My main objective for my straight hair is to keep it looking fresh while maintaining moisture levels. Some naturals find this hard because our hair can revert back to curly so easily.
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Hair that is moisturized looks and feels so much better after using direct heat. I still moisturize and seal my hair while it’s straight but I’m also aware that starting the straightening process with a moisture based deep condition is key. I also use grapeseed oil to seal in the moisture from my leave-in conditioner prior to air drying, roller setting or blow drying my hair. Ever since I added the grapeseed oil to my flat ironing regimen, I have noticed that my hair feels softer and more supple after straightening. The oil also helps to give my hair a smoother finish without having to use extremely high temperatures.
Once my hair is straight, I continue to moisturize it using a leave-in conditioner. I’m currently using Herbal Essence Touchably Smooth Split End Protector*. The trick here is to use just a little bit so that it doesn’t wet my hair. I split my hair into two sections and then apply a dime size amount (or less) to one section. I then use two to three drops of grapeseed oil to seal in the moisture. I don’t have to do this every day that my hair is straight because the oil does such a great job of locking the moisture in.
My straight natural hair isn’t perfect though. I still get fuzzy edges from when water seeps in underneath the edge of my shower cap. My nape area also tends to revert back way before wash day but I’ve learned to just live with it. I usually wear it straight for about a week but would like to start stretching that to two weeks in the future.
*Formerly and currently known as the Long Term Relationship Split End Defense Cream depending on which packaging is available. (UPDATE 2019 – Currently using Paul Mitchell The Conditioner Leave-in)
|My straight natural hair
After spending several months wearing heat free styles, I decided to wear my hair straight for a few weeks. A couple of months ago, straightening my hair seemed silly because I would only get to wear the style for a short period of time. My psoriasis was in high gear so my scalp needed attention every couple of days. This meant cleansing my hair and scalp multiple times each week. At the time, it seemed necessary because my scalp was sometimes unbearable and had to be dealt with. Once my psoriasis calmed down, I decided that I would finally straighten my hair.
Wearing my hair straight during the summer heat may also sound silly but I can get away with it here. In Colorado we have a very dry climate so there is little to no humidity on most days. Still, reversion is always possible with straight natural hair. I have been hearing about the Beautiful Textures Texture Manageability System or TMS. This product claims that you can use it on natural hair to help with straight styles over a 4-6 week period. After a few weeks and multiple washes, the hair will supposedly return to its natural state. Well, after reading this article by The Natural Haven blog I’m not so sure.
|Half up half down style
on my straight natural hair
The article gives a breakdown of what happens to the hair structure when using the product. It appears as though the hair bonds are effected but not permanently broken. So yes, the hair does return to a textured state after using the product. However, the product also seems to slightly change the protein bonds. This makes me wonder what would happen after using it multiple times.
|Back to curly after wearing it straight
It would be nice to have straight natural hair that lasts longer but I think I’ll stick to my current routine. I use several heat protectants including grapeseed oil, IC Fantasia’s Heat Protectant serum and Tresemme’s Heat Tamer Spray. The serum helps to combat reversion while the spray and grapeseed oil protect my hair from heat damage. While it’s straight I use things like Herbal Essences Split End Protector to moisturize and grapeseed oil to seal. I also do either pin curls or wrap my hair at night to preserve the style. When I’m ready to go back to curly, I use Aphogee’s 2 Minute Reconstructor to give my hair a light protein treatment. My curls seem to always bounce back just fine with this routine so why change now?
What are your thoughts on the TMS system by Beautiful Textures? Please share below in the comments section.
|I use an old Hot Six Oil bottle
to store my Grapeseed oil
In the natural hair world we always hear about using oils for our hair but I’m beginning to learn more about how they work. I’ve mentioned in recent posts how coconut and olive oils are both light enough to actually penetrate the hair shaft. For this reason, they tend to make great moisturizers but not sealants. It’s important to moisturize the hair and then seal it in with something heavier.
In the past, I reached for castor oil to seal with because it has a very thick consistency. However, it left my hair feeling really heavy so I thought I would give grapeseed oil a try. Grapeseed oil is heavy enough to use as a sealant after moisturizing but is lighter than castor oil. An added benefit for me though is that it has a high smoke point meaning I can use it when I use heat on my hair. Now, I’m still not sold on the idea that it can protect against heat damage, but I have noticed a difference.
|My straight natural hair after
using Grapeseed oil and a serum
for protection against heat
I recently used it when I straightened my hair and I was very happy with the results. Sometimes after heat styling I’m left with hair that is dry and crispy feeling but I didn’t get that when I used the grapeseed oil. My hair felt very soft and moisturized after using my flat iron on a heat setting ranging from 370 to 400 degrees.
The only drawback is that I’ve read that other naturals noticed that their hair reverted quicker after using the grapeseed oil as a heat protectant. For this reason, I also used a silicone based serum by IC Fantasia to help keep my hair straighter longer. I was able to go a full ten days and probably could have gone longer but it was time to cleanse my scalp.
I‘ve decided to continue using the grapeseed oil in my hair routine for oil rinses, sealing in moisture and for added protection against heat. I prefer the Napa Valley Naturals brand which I found at a local health food store. If you haven’t tried it I say give it a go!
I finally completed my No Heat Challenge which went from October 1, 2013 to February 1, 2014. It may sound crazy but it was the longest that I had gone without using heat since my transition to natural hair. At first, I thought maybe I was going to succumb to the urge to straighten my hair or use a blow dryer. Once I got the hang of styling my hair in other ways, it ended up being easier than I expected.
During the challenge I allowed myself the use of my hooded dryer for roller sets and drying my wash n’ go curls. Other than that, I usually just air dried my hair. My favorite styles ended up being braid outs and ponytail roller sets. These were easy ways to stretch my hair that also gave my hair manageability.
|My Current Hair Length
Once the four month challenge was over, I straightened my hair for a length check. I was happy to see that my layers were finally growing out. After flat ironing my hair I decided to give myself a much needed trim. One of the things I noticed though was how many single strand knots I had to cut out. Not good! My thoughts on that were that maybe I should stay away from tightly curly styles until I get to a length where I’m comfortable with just maintaining. For now, I’ll be using stretched styles to try and keep the knots under control.
I’ve decided that I’ll probably go another three months before using heat to straighten my hair again. I really liked how the new hair growing in felt so much thicker and healthier. I don’t want to damage it by using excess heat. Overall, I’m pleased with the results and am glad that I challenged myself in this way. I learned a lot about my hair and what it needs, which will help me obtain my goals.
Have you ever participated in a hair challenge?