Blow-Dryers and Flat Irons
If you don't want to pay for salon treatments or expose yourself to chemicals, you can straighten your hair between shampoos or swims with a blow-dryer or flat iron. “Heat rearranges hydrogen bonds in the hair, causing temporary straightening, which lasts until the hair is exposed to humidity or water,” Barbosa says.
Too much heat can also damage hair. To prevent damage, try these tips:
- Blow-dry only once or twice a week on a low setting. “If you start getting flyaways, breakage, or the hair isn't as shiny, what you're doing is too much,” Mirmirani says.
- To cut back on heat, wash your hair at night. Let it air-dry, and straighten it with a flat iron in the morning.
- Use a flat iron on dry hair only. Keep it on a low setting and don't hold it in one place too long. "If the flat iron or curling iron is not moved along the hair shaft swiftly enough, an entire section of hair can be singed off at one time," Barbosa says.
- Cress suggests stretching the time between stylings by using dry shampoo. "It absorbs the oils from your scalp, and you don't have to restyle," he says.
The simplest option is also best for your hair: Embrace your curls. "I don't like to say, 'Go straight for the chemicals,'" Cress says. "It can be an uphill battle to keep your hair moisturized if you blow-dry and color and have other products and treatments in your routine." Ask your stylist how to style your hair so its natural curliness is more appealing to you.
The trick is to treat your hair gently. Don't towel dry it vigorously like you're polishing a bowling ball. "It is instantly setting yourself up for failure and frizz,” Cress says. “Instead, use a wide-tooth comb to style it the way you want to wear it, then let your hair fall into your hand with a towel and gently squeeze the towel." Finish shaping it with a product like light liquid gel or mousse.