How To Safely Straighten Your Curls

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Once upon a time, not long ago (major props if you got that Slick Rick reference) I had thick, curly, bra-strap-length hair. I’m talking the type of hair that made my mother sigh in resignation at having to tackle the unruly beast every morning. It was a nightmare for her and a nightmare for me, and I was tired of taking hours to style my crazy, frizzy hair.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love my locks. I did. But, the daily routine was simply too much. So, every day, I begged my mother to let me perm it straight, but she (wisely) insisted the process would ruin my hair. Even so, the back-and-forth continued for two years — until, one day, she gave in.
One trip to the salon, and I finally had the sleek, easy-to-manage hair I always wanted. And, I was diligent about maintaining it, heading back every three months to have my perm retouched lest any pesky curls returned. I loved everything about my new hair — that is, until it slowly started to thin out. The harsh chemicals ravaged my locks ‘til I was left with limp, dry, damaged strands that I hated. Perms became the enemy, and I quickly realized that going back to natural was the only way to bring my hair to life again.
While it took some effort, I’ve finally learned what works best for my 'do after seven years sans perm. Sure, it drives me absolutely crazy 99% of the time, but I love having this wild mop of hair. To be clear: It’s not that I think straight hair is better in general — it’s just better for me.
Whether you’re like me and prefer to wear your hair straight or you simply want a break from sporting your curls every day, there’s a way to safely do so, without inflicting a crazy amount of heat damage. Click through to check out my favorite products and how I use them in my weekly hair-care routine.

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