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Let's face it. Most days you probably don't have hours to spare desperately trying to mimic your stylist's perfect blowout. Here's how to get your hair super-straight, depending on how much time you have.
Here's what you'll need:
Large round bristle brush or flat paddle brush
Flat iron (ceramic preferably)
Blow-dryer (with nozzle attachment to direct air-flow)
Non-creasing hair clips (to section hair)
LHJ.com's resident hair pro Mark Garrison clues you in on how to get your locks stick straight if you only have 15 minutes to get the job done.
"This technique is best for already semi-straight hair or hair that only needs a quick touch-up," says Garrison. "Work with dry hair. If you must wet hair because it's in a natural curly or wavy state, do so by lightly misting it."
Step 1: Start with dry or slightly damp hair. Take small sections of hair (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch) and apply a straightening balm.
Step 2: Blow-dry each section of hair straight. Dry quickly, pulling flat paddle brush taut through hair, followed closely by the blow-dryer.
LHJ.com editor's Tip: Remember to point the blow-dryer downward when drying hair. If you point it upward, hair will frizz.
Step 3: Finish the process by using a flat iron on big sections of hair, concentrating on the outer sections most. Make sure you use the tool from root to end.
LHJ.com editor's Tip: If possible, use a flat iron with ceramic tourmaline plates. Straightening time is cut in half, hair is less likely to break between plates, and frizz is greatly eliminated. Try Sedu Ionic Ceramic Tourmaline 1.5" Flat Iron, $125.95, exclusively available at www.folica.com. It's pricey, but keeping your hair healthy may be worth the splurge.
We asked Mindy Clark, artistic director at Regis Salons, for some professional advice on how to achieve a sleek, straight look every day, in about half an hour.
"Depending on your hair type, 30 minutes is a lot of time," says Clark. "If you have fine hair, your hair will dry faster, allowing you to complete this entire process in half an hour. If you have thicker hair, I would recommend shampooing and conditioning hair the night before."
Step 1: Begin with freshly washed, wet hair. Remember, when towel-drying hair, blot dry. Rubbing hair dry with a cotton towel will initiate frizzy hair.
Step 2: Part hair, section and secure each with a non-creasing hair clip. Blow-dry each section twice, following round hair brush down hair shaft with blow-dryer. Also, remember to blow-dry the front of your hair first. Your hairline is the first part of your hair to frizz when drying, as well as the hardest to fix.
LHJ.com editor's Tip: Choose a thermal protection spray with an anti-humectant, and your newly straightened hair won't react to humidity as quickly. We like designLINE Keep it Pressed spray by Regis Corporation, $12.95.
Step 3: Blow-dry each section. Follow paddle brush down hair shaft with blow dryer. Hair should be blown completely dry before you use the flat iron.
Step 4: Finish styling by using the flat iron on each section. Remember to flat iron small sections of hair. Heat should be distributed evenly.
Celebrity hair stylist Tippi Shorter, who worked with Destiny's Child and Ashanti, knows a thing or two about getting smooth locks. She shared her secrets with us.
If you have 60 minutes, Shorter says, "Your blow-drying technique is very important. Remember, how you blow-dry your hair is how your hair will stay." So take your time.
Step 1: Wash and condition your hair. Hair should be freshly deep-conditioned so it will be able to absorb the heat better.
LHJ.com editor's Tip: Condition your hair as often as possible, especially if you straighten it often. The constant use of heat can be very damaging to your mane.
Step 2: Apply straightening balm. Try Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade, $18.00, which works for most hair types.
Step 3: Brush hair in desired direction with round hair brush. Using a round brush adds luster and sheen to hair.
Step 4: Part hair and secure into sections with a non-creasing hair clip. Blow-dry each section twice, following round hair brush down hair shaft with blow dryer. Also, remember to blow-dry the front of your hair first. Your hairline is the first part of your hair to frizz, and the hardest to fix.
"When blow-drying your hair, keep in mind the look you're going for." says Shorter. "For a voluminous look, turn your head upside down, put the blow-dryer on it and comb it through with your fingers. For a straight and sleek look, use a brush and blow-dry your hair straight down."
LHJ.com editor's Tip: To minimize the chance of severely damaging your hair, try switching to an ionic hair dryer for daily maintenance.
Step 5: Flat iron the hair section by section. By working with smaller sections, you'll create a polished, more uniform look.
No matter the amount of time you have to spare on straightening your hair, Mindy Clark explains how to easily finish your style by wearing your ends slightly flipped up, curled under, or pin-straight.
"To achieve a slightly flipped-up look, lift the iron up at the end of hair, and rotate out to achieve the flip. If you're going for the curled-under look, rotate the iron under to curl the ends. And if root-to-tip pin-straight hair is your ultimate goal, slowly move the flat iron down the hair shaft. Hold the iron flat through the end of the hair; don't rotate the iron up or under."
Originally published on LHJ.com, March 2006.