Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All About Straight Hair

If you have been blessed with fairly straight hair, then you are lucky and the envy of many women (myself included). Thick hair that is mostly straight, with maybe a slight wave is usually the easiest hair to style. Your natural wave loves to be curled and styled, and yet is easy to straighten and looks fabulous worn straight.

Women with tight curly hair, or fine, dead straight hair that has little body and refuses to hold curl (yes, that's me!) struggle to style our hair at times.

If your hair is not quite as straight as you want it, you have some easy options to temporarily straighten your hair: straightening products, hair dryer or straightening iron.

If your hair is really not straight and you want to get rid of your curl permanently (well, at least 6 months), you have the option of professionally straightening your hair.


Hair Dryer

Blowdrying your hair straight is definitely the cheaper option to permanently straightening your hair - all it takes is a few tools and products and a bit of practice.

What do I need?

- A hairdryer

- A large round brush. The size of the brush will depend on the length of your hair - your hair needs to be long enough to wrap around the brush once.

- A large paddle brush for final smoothing.

- Clips to keep hair out of the way. Large flat clips that hairdressers use work best.

- Styling products - products that protect your hair from moisture and hold the style. Moisture is what reverts the hair back to its natural wave, so products like mousse protect hair from moisture as well as heat damage.

- Gloss or serum to smooth over hair, remove frizz and finish off the look

  • Start by washing your hair with a volumising range. Browse our Volumising range.

  • Comb with a wide-toothed comb to remove any tangles. Partially blow-dry your hair to get rid of excess moisture.

  • Spray a volumising tonic on your hair, or a handful of mousse spread from tips to ends for extra oomph.

  • Pin hair up and take out small sections at a time to blow-dry. Hold the dryer in one hand and a styling brush in the other.

  • Place the brush underneath the first section of hair and position it at the roots. Keep the tension on the hair (without tugging too hard) and move the brush down towards the ends, while directing the air flow down the hair, following the movement of the brush.

  • Blow-dry using a large, round brush with a metal core. Wind hair completely up the brush, focusing on creating lift at the roots. Gently blast hair with a hair-dryer until dry.
    Browse our range of Hairdryers.

  • Curl the brush under at the ends to achieve a slight bend. Continue until the back sections are completely dry and then repeat on the top sections of hai

  • Finish with a light, flexible hairspray. Browse our range of HairSprays.

  • Remember, practice makes perfect!


What do I need?

Hair Straightener

- A temperature controlled straightening iron

- Styling products - products that protect your hair from moisture and hold the style. Moisture is what reverts the hair back to its natural wave, so products like mousse protect hair from moisture as well as heat damage.

Things to remember:

Also start with clean, DRY hair. If possible, use a leave-in conditioning spray after washing your hair, but before starting to straighten.
Hair must be completely dry, as slightly damp hair will respond badly to straightening. Also using a heated appliance on damp hair causes the hair to "cook" from the steaming, swelling the hair shaft and forcing the protective moisture from the cortex of the hair.

Use a flat iron appropriate for your hair length. Wider irons are suitable for very long hair, but most women are better off using an appliance with heating plates 1" to 1 ½ " wide. These smaller irons offer better control and are lighter in weight.

Section your hair into small, manageable sections. If you try and straighten a big chunk of hair at once, you will get an uneven result. The hair on the outside might straighten but hair in the middle won't have been straightened. Work on smaller sections and you will get a much straighter look.

Use a small amount of styling product to maintain the style. Using a spray of hairspray on the straightened sections, or a small amount of mousse or gel when drying your hair, will extend the life of your hair style. Your straightened hair will last longer.


Take a small section of hair. Starting at the roots, work the flat iron through the length of your hair slowly, but keep the iron moving.

After each draw, comb your hair smooth.

Continue, piece by piece until all of your hair is straight.


Permanent Straightening

What is it? It's a perm that improves the condition of the hair as it straightens it. There are a few names for it - Bio Ionic Professional Haircare System, Japanese Ionic Hair Straightening - yet they are all the same.

How does it work? First a treatment to prep your hair. Next, a setting solution. Then a rinse and light dry off before hours of flat-iron work. After this, you have straight hair. They rinse again and apply a solution so your hair remembers to stay straight. A quick dry off and iron and you're done. But no washing your hair for two days.

What hair types are (most) suitable? Those with thick, healthy, unbleached hair are the best candidates.

Which hair types are not suitable? Fine, weak or dry hair or hair that is overly processed/colored. However there are lotions that cater to variations in strength and thickness, meaning those with fine but strong hair can still get the treatment.

How long does it take? Usually about five hours. If the hair is very thick, curly or long it can take up to 10 or 11 hours.

How much does it cost? It can range anywhere from $150 to $1000 depending on the salon and the particular solutions being used (ie Bio Ionic is more expensive than Japanese solutions)

Some quick-fixes include using permanent straighteners and relaxers- most of which you can find in supermarkets and drug stores to apply in your own home.

A relaxer is best suited for people who have hair that is especially difficult to style. This usually applies to people of African or Caribbean descent who have coarse and frizzy hair. The relaxer is a strong chemical substance that is applied to dry hair and then left on the hair anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. The relaxer works chemically with the composition of your hair, weighing it down in certain areas and removing curls. Relaxers must be reapplied to new hair growth.

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All About Curly Hair

For those of you with curly hair, you'll admit it can be both a blessing and a hassle. When your curls look good, they really look good. But all it takes is a slight change of weather and you've got frizz problems!

It's true, curly hair can sometimes need a bit more care and attention than straight hair to keep it looking its best. Hairstyle.com has curly hair information and advice, hairstyles for curly hair and curly hair care tips that will have your locks looking their best.

It is important to understand your hair - once you understand what works with your curly hair, you can really enjoy your hair and learn to love it.

Read more about curly hair at Hairstyle.com


If you have wavy hair:

Give your naturally wavy hair more defined curls. Take small sections of your hair while its damp, and roll them up into little balls. Secure them into place with pins. Once your hair is dry, unpin your hair. Do not brush, instead just use your fingers to piece out your curls.

Not every stylist knows how to cut curly hair. Ask various salons if they have someone who specializes in curly haircuts. Curly hair needs to be cut wet so you can see the natural shape.

Layers can look great with curly hair, but don't get the layers cut too short as your curly hair will turn into a pouf.

To get perfect ringlets, start with damp hair.

Step 1: Apply a dime-sized amount of serum AND gel through hair from mid-strand to the ends.

Step 2: Take small sections from the top of your head & twist them down to the ends. Let them fall.

Step 3: Dry sections with a diffuser from roots to ends. (Don't scrunch your curls otherwise you could cause frizzing, instead cup the hair from below).

Step 4: When hair is almost completely dry, bend over & shake curls loose. Massage hair at the crown, this will add body.

Step 5: Flip hair back & finish styling with your fingers. Do NOT use a brush.


Hair twists and updos are always a very popular style. Sweep hair into a ponytail that rests at the back of the crown. Allow your curls to billow out over the top of the base. Secure the ends loosely against the back of the scalp to form a soft curly bun.


Once you have washed, dried and applied some product in your hair to really define your curls, this style is quick and easy to do.

Using your thumbs, position them just above your ear lobes. Slide your thumbs inwards at a 45 degree angle, towards the center of your head. When your thumbs meet, lift that top section of hair and tie it into a ponytail. Either tie it at the back of your crown, or try a looser, more casual look and tie the ponytail lower down.


A sexy side ponytail - a sleek smooth crown, that ties behind one ear and displays a beautiful cascade of loose curls.

Use a flat iron to straighten your hair from roots to middle of your hair. Brush your hair to one side and tie into a low ponytail. Separate the ponytail section into 1 inch sections and use a small to medium barrel curling iron to create ringlets. Holy the iron in place for up to 30 seconds.


  • The best products for curly hair are alcohol-free products. Curly hair is naturally more fragile and dry than straight hair. Products that contain alcohol dry out your hair, and you want to avoid these products if your hair is curly.

  • Minimize breakage by allowing your hair to air-dry as often as possible.

  • Some curly haired women will skip every other shampoo and just use conditioning rinses. Shampoo at least once a week to avoid greasy hair and a build up of products, but if you shampoo too often this will dry our your hair and leave it frizzy.

  • Use a moisturizing shampoo to help hydrate the scalp.

  • Tip: Comb some conditioner through your hair before shampooing.

  • On non-shampooing days, rinse your hair with warm water, apply conditioner and rinse well. This will give you clean hair, without stripping away the protective oils.

  • Apply mousse to still-damp hair and spread from roots to end. This will help control frizz.

  • Other ways to control frizz - use some leave-in conditioning products, or anti-frizz hair serums.

  • DO NOT use a brush on your curly hair. Use a widetoothed comb or your fingers to detangle your curls.

  • Always comb the conditioner through your hair when washing it. This will help evenly spread the conditioner from root to end. Detangle your hair before rinsing out the conditioner.

  • To control frizzy hair, use an anti-frizz serum to smooth the frizz, add shine and condition your hair. Most serums contain silicone which sits on top of the hair shaft and protects hair from heat.


Do you want curly hair? You might want to look into getting a perm or body wave.

A perm does not mean a scary, crimped Poodle-Do of the 80s. Perms have come a long way, and the result is a much more natural look. A perm can add body to limp hair, give you sexy loose waves or the corkscrew curls you've always wanted but weren't born with.


Perms work best on thick, strong hair that hasn't been colored. If you have a few highlights or even a full color, that is ok. But heavy highlighted, double processed hair can leave your hair fragile and slightly damaged. The strong chemicals for a perm could totally kill your hair if its already damaged.

If you're not sure if your hair could handle a perm, ask your stylist. They will want to know your hair history and can tell you if you are a suitable candidate for a perm.

Here's a trick to try at home. Take a few strands of hair and put them in a glass of water. If they float, your hair is healthy. If they sink, your hair is damaged and is soaking up moisture.

A perm will take about 1-2 hours, depending on the length of your hair. The way it works- chemicals are used to break and reform the structural bonds of your hair. After the hair is wrapped on a perm rod and the hair is placed in the physical shape we want it to take. The size of the rod determines the tightness of the curl. A chemical solution is applied which raises the cuticle of the hair strand and breaks of the bonds that of your natural hair wave pattern.

After this chemical solution has been rinsed off, a neutralizer is used to reform the bonds of the hair and sets the new curl pattern.

If done correctly a perm will last about 2-6 months.

Body Wave

What is it? A new take on the horrid old "perm". It's a loose body wave and gives hair movement and volume.

How does it work? It depends on the natural texture and condition of the hair. If the hair is dead-straight, large curls are done to create a soft, natural wave. If the hair already has a slight wave, the natural curl is emphasised by focusing on the bottom layers of the hair. This is all achieved with large rollers and strong setting solution.

What hair types are (most) suitable? Those with healthy hair who are looking for a little bit of oomph, or those with the kind of limp hair that just sits there.

Which hair types are not suitable? Anyone with bleached, overcolored hair.

How long does it take? Usually around one and a half hours.

How much does it cost? From $60 to $150.

Temporary methods for curling your hair


You will need to make 40 rag curlers depending on the thickness and ultimate length of your hair.

Use clean old sheets or old t-shirts to make the rag strips. Make sure they are natural fiber and lint free! Cut or tear into strips about an inch wide and 6 inches long. If your hair is very long you made need longer strips.

Wash your hair and let it dry until its just a little damp. Section your hair into ½ - 1 inch sections. Take one of the rags and lay it alongside the section of hair. Wrap the hair around the rag in a spiral, leaving enough cloth at the top and bottom so you can tie the ends together. Make sure the end of the strand isn't sticking out anywhere. The tighter you wrap the hair the tighter the curls will be.

Finish wrapping up the rest of your hair and then go to bed! The rags shouldn't be too uncomfortable at all.

The next morning, untie the rags gently and you should have some beautiful sausage curls.

If your hair is hard to curl, use some gel or setting lotion before rolling your hair.

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