I’ve been straightening my very (very) curly hair for – well – EVER.

Or so it feels like.

Since the time I hit my teens I have used every imaginable product, bought every imaginable tool and tried every imaginable treatment for taming my unruly mane.

And I can safely say two things:

1. Products, tools and treatments have come a VERY long way.

2. I’ve learned pretty much every trick in the book when it comes to straightening hair.

hair straightening tips and tools

Unless you’ve traveled with me, swam with me or come for coffee post-shower/pre-blow-out, you’ve probably never seen my hair in its natural state.

And if I have anything to do with it you never will. I’ve never embraced my curls, nor appreciated them, nor learned to “work them”.  I had one or two brief and unfortunate periods of the natural look, and – despite all my straight-haired friends who expressed admiration and envy – I hated the way I looked with curly hair.

So I stopped fighting and have been going straight ever since.

Like most of you, I don’t have a ton of time in the morning to deal with getting ready. And the older I get, the more there seems to be to do! So with the help of these products and tools – and a few tips – I’m able to go from curly to straight in relatively short order.

But first, let me set the record straight (sorry): I have always had some sort of professional treatment in my hair. For years it was a relaxer, and for the past 8 or so it’s been keratin; I’m currently a fan of the Brazilian Blowout.

I know there is much controversy over the safety of these treatments; I’m not here to pass judgement or make health claims. What I WILL say is that this is one of those cases where you get what you pay for. I go to a very reputable salon, where the highest quality products and controls are used, and I don’t overdo these treatments – 2-3 times per year at most. And I never go stick-straight – just enough to loosen the curl (which makes it easier to blow out) and lessen the frizz. Most important for me is how quickly I can get my hair from start to finish – so less time, less heat, less tugging, less damage.


sebastion potion 9

1. Styling lotion: After towel-drying and combing my hair I use a bit of styling lotion on any trouble spots – that cowlick at my hairline, some stubborn pieces in the back, and the ends. The lotion “sets” these spots as my hair air-dries, and makes them easier to blow out.

2. Air dry: One should NEVER blow dry wet hair. Not only will it take forever, pulling on wet hair (which is more susceptible to breakage) can cause major damage. I let my hair air dry almost completely before blowing it out. If I don’t have time, I finger dry it with the blower, only grabbing the brush when it is 99% dry.

babyliss hair dryer

3. Blower and brush: Obviously the 2 most important tools. I’m using this blower currently, but it really doesn’t make a difference – the most important features are the wattage and the nozzle. I go for about 2,000 watts so that the hair dries super-fast. And the concentrator nozzle – well, concentrates the heat right where I want it, while keeping the hair protected from direct contact with the heating element.

technique hair brush

This brush? I will NEVER be without it – seriously. I have back-ups in my house, and won’t even pack it in my checked luggage when I travel. It’s hands down THE best brush for straightening curly hair. The metal core heats up and sets the hair, and the bristles grab the hair and hold it without hurting your scalp, as many of these brushes do.


4. Moroccan oil: Right after I finish drying – while my hair is still warm – I use a tiny drop of Moroccan oil, warmed up in my hands, all over my hair. I avoid my scalp and concentrate on the back and ends. This gives more shine and softness, and a bit of protection too.

klorane dry shampoo

5. Dry shampoo: Obviously the less I have to shampoo and blow my hair the better, so dry shampoo is an important part of my arsenal. I’ve written about how to use dry shampoo – and a brand I love – but this one is my new favorite. While I love the powder, I was starting to find that it was a bit wasteful. This spray allows me to concentrate the product exactly where I want it, and works beautifully.

And there you have it! You now know all of my hair-styling secrets. If you have any you’d like to add – from techniques to fave products and tools – let me know in the comments!


hair straightening tips and tools

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