Ideal for those looking for sleek, smooth-looking strands minus the damage.

After poker straight tresses? Longing for stick straight, flat ironed locks? Hey, aren’t we all? Such a look is one seemingly never out of fashion, but with salons and hairdressers closed right now, we’re having to take hair matters into our own hands.

We only wish doing so was as straightforward as the hairstyle we’re coveting. But with some simple tricks, steps and devices, it can be. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when straightening your hair at home, IDEAL for those looking for sleek, smooth-looking strands minus the damage.

DON’T FORGET HEAT PROTECTION 

Hair straightening brushes, hairdryers, straighteners…in your arsenal for straighter looking hair, each and every one of these tools can dry out your hair and scalp, leaving it susceptible to damage, dryness and those dreaded split ends. As such, it’s essential then to use heat protection spray when straightening your hair – especially for frazzled cuticles. 

Heat protecting spray can help combat breakage, dryness, dullness and brittleness that all happen as a result of heat styling. It’s not just a marketing fad, we promise. Think of heat protection sprays like sunscreen lotion, they shield and form a protective barrier over your hair. However, don’t get complacent – these aren’t a magical forcefield that can completely protect your locks. Rather, they work as part of a holistic approach to your hair.

Be aware that not every heat protecting spray was made equal; the best ones also condition and nourish your locks. According to the beauty experts at the Independent, some of the best currently available on the market include Redken Heat Styling Satinwear 04 Prepping Blow-Dry Lotion, The Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil and Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray. 

HAIR STRAIGHTENER FEATURES

A high quality pair of hair straighteners will last for years, so it’s worth spending a few extra quid on a decent pair. However, with so many hair straighteners on the market, choosing the right straighteners for your home straightening needs can leave your brain feeling as frazzled as an overstyled strand of hair. Here are a few things to look out for…

  • Ceramic or Titanium? 

It’s one of life’s great existential questions, hey? If you’re wondering which is the better pick, the answer depends on your hair type. Titanium plates heat up quickly and are capable of reaching higher temperatures than ceramic plates, as such they are ideally suited to curly, coarse hair. That said, higher temperatures lead to more damage. If your hair is fine and already pretty straight,  go for ceramic – they work at a lower temperature which means less damage. 

  • Variable Temperature settings

The hair experts at www.instraight.com tell us that you should always use the lowest possible temperature to straighten your hair. A lower heat is always best for fine hair, however, as above, thick hair may need more heat. The right temperature allows for less damage and shorter styling times, so prioritise straighteners which boast the most precise range of variable temperature settings where possible. 

  • Shape of blades

Hair straighteners don’t just straighten hair. You can create curls, give them a wavy look or finesse your hair into something truly glamorous. If that sounds like your sort of thing, then look for blades with rounded edges to create sleek locks and voluminous waves.  

  • Ionic Technology 

Choose a product with Ionic technology if you’re really serious about this whole home pampering thing. Hair straighteners which harness this power (commonly referred to as flat irons) can help release negative ions, neutralise positive ions, reduce frizz, and get rid of static to leave your hair looking sleek. 

CONSIDER A HAIR STRAIGHTENING BRUSH 

Not only do straightening brushes deliver sleek, straight hair easily, but compared to a flat iron, a hair straightening brush is much gentler on your hair. Indeed, straightening your hair with one is literally as easy as brushing it. If you haven’t got one of these in your home hair straightening arsenal, here’s a few things to look out for: 

  • Heat adjustability

Temperature control settings allow you to set the most optimal heat level for your hair. 

  • Drying power

Some hair straightening brushes will dry as well as straighten, saving you time.

  • The Bristles

The bristles of your brush are important when it comes to protecting your hair from breakage. Bad quality bristles can not only damage your hair but they’re also prone to falling out of your brush, which also affects the durability of the device. Look for good quality brushes that have their bristles rooted properly and firmly into their base. This is especially important if you have a sensitive scalp, and in that case, you will need to look for nylon bristles to keep both your hair and scalp protected.

If your hair tends to get tangled, look for ball-tipped bristles. They help in detangling the hair evenly, and leave it smooth and soft as they don’t snag on tangles. However, in all cases, you’ll need to comb your hair before you start straightening it. 

If you’re keen to learn more, check out Harper’s Bazaar’s roundup of 12 hair straightening bruises that actually work.

TRY AT HOME KERATIN STRAIGHTENING TREATMENTS 

A Keratin treatment can be an effective way to straighten your hair without subjecting it to daily heat which can leave your locks with serious damage. The right DIY keratin treatment can offer the same result as a professional treatment, without the harsh chemicals that salons sometimes use. However, when it comes to the formula, there isn’t a one size which fits all hair types. 

Marie Claire recommend Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer by KÉRASTASE and No 6 Bond Smoother by Opalex as their go to treatments, though the quality of the keratin treatment hinges as much on your hair type as it does the product. Be scrupulous and discerning in your search for best results.

STRAIGHTENING WITHOUT HEAT

If you want poker-straight hair, it’s tempting to reach for the blow dryer or flat iron every day. However, we don’t have to tell you that, over time, exposing your hair to such intense heat can cause so much damage. Actually, we do have to tell you, as we have done continuously throughout this article.

But it’s a point that bears hammering home. In some cases, straighteners can even cause hair loss and breakages, leaving your locks looking thin and brittle, or worse.

For hair straightening without heat, choose a shampoo and conditioner specifically made to smooth your hair; they’re designed to weigh down and moisturise your locks with lasting results. And if this sounds promising, check out our guide on IDEAL tips for heat-free straightening. There really is an article for everything!