Portrait of smiling businesswoman with straight hair, head and shoulders
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Pulling your strands straight with a brush under the punishing heat of a hair-dryer or clamping down on locks with the sizzling press of a flat iron can be a recipe for breakage and lackluster tresses. Smoothing waves into sleek strands can be done with the right products and techniques that are kinder to your mane.

Lather Up

Your first step to straight hair can begin in the shower with a shampoo and conditioner intended to straighten out your mane. Amped up with silicone and conditioning agents to smooth out frizz and loosen waves, these products work by weighing down your hair. Used alone, a straightening shampoo, conditioner and associated styling products will likely leave some kinkiness in your hair. But if you do have to finish off the job with a heat styler, you'll benefit from a smoother start. Not only will the hot tools need less time in contact with your locks, but the heavy conditioning agents will help protect tresses.

Sleep Your Way to Sleek

Instead of blowing out your mane and then hitting it with a flat iron, minimize the damage by letting your hair air dry. This isn't as time consuming as it sounds and can allow for extra conditioning as well. After shampooing and conditioning in the evening, towel dry and comb out hair; evenly distribute a beautifying oil, shine serum or nighttime leave-in conditioner through it. Wrap hair into a bun on the top of your head and go to sleep. In the morning, hair should be dry or close to it and silky to the touch. Flat-iron generous sections starting with the bottom layers. Generously moisturized hair that didn't get the extra torture of a blow dryer should straighten quickly and easily.

Turn Down the Heat

If you want to get the straightest locks from a flat iron, take steps to minimize hair damage. A high-quality straightening iron with ceramic plates won't frazzle your hair because the heated element doesn't remove moisture. Apply a straightening balm to wet or dry hair, per the specific product's directions, designed to work in tandem with irons and blow-dryers before using an appliance. Since a good iron seals in moisture, a quality balm or spray will get absorbed deep into your tresses with the help of the heat. Mind the temperature setting on your iron, too. Fine hair requires lower temperatures while more intense heat is needed for very curly or coarse hair.

Roll With It

Processes to chemically straighten hair can contain formaldehyde and carry a risk of damage, as do heat appliances. Be kind to your locks by avoiding both and exploring natural ways to go straight. Invest in some big rollers about the same diameter as a soda can. Towel-dry hair and set in the rollers after rubbing a straightening product through your strands. This method requires patience as you're letting the hair air-dry in the rollers. After removing the rollers, smooth with a large paddle brush. Spray a bit of hairspray or shine spray onto your palm, rub your hands together and gently glide over the surface of the hair to tame flyways and give a final dose of smoothness.