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Looking at gorgeous women like Jennifer Aniston and Lucy Liu, who wouldn't want poker-straight, shiny hair? From permanent methods to straight hair you can wash out, here are six ways to get your hair sleek.
Thermal Reconditioning This is a permanent reforming of the structure of hair, done with the same chemical solution as used in perms, but with a flat iron instead of perming rods. Thermal reconditioning is better for wavy hair rather than kinky or curly hair, which will show a curly root too quickly. Results last six to ten months, and then only hair regrowth needs to be thermally reconditioned.
Flat Iron A hair styling tool that features two plates (either ceramic or metal), a flat iron is pulled through hair to achieve a temporarily straight appearance. Flat-ironing reforms the water bonds in the hair shaft for a super-straight effect -- it's like pressing the wrinkles out hair. Due to high heat and direct contact on hair, flat-ironing can be damaging to hair, so don't do it every day. Silicones and straightening balms will protect hair when used before ironing, and will set it and lock moisture out when smoothed on when done. New technology has made flat-ironing safer than ever; find a tool with temperature control and ceramic plates.
Wet-to-Dry Flat Iron A new addition to the market, this combination hair dryer/hair straightener smoothes straight as it dries, eliminating the need for an in-between step of blow-drying. This is a great new tool that we've been using a lot in the salon, and selling to our clients, who love it. It's a timesaver, and it boosts hair's condition, as it eliminates the need to blow-dry.
Blowouts This conventional hair-straightening method is applied when hair is pulled over a brush (round for more volume, flat for a straighter look) and dried with hot air. The good thing about blow-drying is that you can control the volume of hair, and smooth it without making it hang stick-straight (as is the result of other straightening methods). The bad thing is that you can never get it as straight as with other methods, like an iron. When getting a blowout, do not let the hair dryer touch the hair, and prep with products designed to protect during styling. New dryers, like ionic dryers, allow drying time to be cut dramatically, thus lessening the damage to your hair.
Wrap This old-fashioned method straightens hair by wrapping it around the head, pinning with bobby pins and clips as you go. Traditionally one large curler is placed at the crown, to add volume at the top. This is the safest, most hair-friendly way to smooth hair, and it results in straight hair that is flatter to the head. To speed along the wrap process, work with hair that is just slightly damp, and sit under a dryer or blow-dry gently to complete. Wrapping is also a good way to preserve a blowout or flat-ironed hair for more than a day, and as you sleep.
Setting Another oldie-but-goody method that is more hair smoothing than straightening, setting involves wrapping hair around very large rollers on top of hair (about three or four rollers from front to back) and at each side of the head (about two or three at each side). Then let dry naturally or under a dryer. Comb out gently for smooth hair that retains volume. This is the safest way for very curly hair to go straight, as it smoothes hair without the need for too much heat or damaging chemicals.