October 2012, marks my 1 year anniversary of being natural. My hair is actually longer than it was before I first cut it! At this point my curl pattern is defined and I knew what products I love...and hate. However, during my journey, I only got my hair trimmed once. My hair was in dire need of a trim. My twistouts were nice, but not as nice as before. They also were not lasting as long as usual. My ends were what I would call stringy. They were also prone to shedding. Although, I was loving my curls, I couldnt help but to wonder what my hair would look like straightened. Exactly how much had my hair grown?
A flat ironing seemed to be a good solution for all these problems. I could do a true length check as well as get a trim. Then came the worrying. What if once my hair was flat ironed, it decided that it didnt want to revert back to the curls that I had grown to love? I have heard horror stories from other naturalistas about how their curl pattern was never the same after flat ironing. Some naturalistas went as far as to do the big chop all over again because of heat damage!! I was not about that type of headache at all. I had come too far. So, I did my research. I consulted with other naturalistas and many of them had great experiences with flat ironing. Obviously, your results will depend a lot upon your hair texture as well as thickness. Knowing all of this, here are some flat ironing tips that I've gathered for naturalistas.
1. Be sure that the flat iron is not too hot. Scorched or burned hair rarely, if ever, will revert back to its original curl pattern. Healthy hair burns at a temperature of 233C (451.4F). Hair that has been subjected to many different treatments can burn at even lower temperatures. (Source: The Science of Black Hair by: Audrey Davis-Sivasothy )
2. Wash and deep condition your hair prior to flat ironing.
3. If you choose to blow out your hair, use some type of protectant and don't use the highest heat setting.
4. When you flat iron your hair, use yet another protectant. Make sure your hair is properly moisturized also. Flat iron your hair in small sections from roots to end.
Lastly, if this is too much for you, GO TO A TRUSTED PROFESSIONAL. That's what I did and I loved the results before AND after.
If you're in the Baton Rouge, LA area, check out Happy Hair Baton Rouge.
My stylist's name is Jackie. However, everybody that I saw leaving the salon who had been serviced by other stylists looked great! What have you experienced with flat ironing your natural hair?