Big, bouncy waves ooze sex appeal but have become so ubiquitous (thank you Kardashian sisters) that we’re rethinking our game plan. What feels new now? The polished sleekness of straight strands. It may have been awhile since you’ve sported the style, so we’ve compiled a handful of do's and don'ts for mastering polished locks.
#1 Thou shalt stay away from suds
Sulfates—the ingredients in shampoo responsible for a sudsy lather—can be too harsh on relaxed hair. “They break down the proteins in the relaxer treatment and make hair less manageable,” says Jessie James, stylist at the Marie Robinson Salon in New York City.
#2 Thou shalt not be a flat iron fiend
“For the healthiest hair, limit flat iron use to once or twice a week,” says Dickey, celeb hair stylist and owner of Hair Rules Salon in New York City. “I tell clients to use velcro rollers as an alternative, which you can use as often as you like.” Caveat: chemically relaxed hair should use a roller set no more than once a week to maintain hair’s integrity.
#3 Thou shalt work with brushes
Of course you know how to use a round brush for a bouncy blowout, but consider the different parts of the brush, too. “A metal barrel is best for a straighter look,” says Ali Webb, president and co-founder of Drybar, “since it quickly heats up from the warmth of your blowdryer. The heat helps to set a slight wave into the hair and boost volume at the roots.” Try: BioIonic’s iBrush Silver Classic.
#4 Thou shalt pull hair back at bedtime
A loosely tied scarf is much better than an elastic or a scrunchie, says James. “It keeps all your hair together but won’t leave you with creases.” In the morning, revive your straight style with a spray of dry shampoo at the roots.
#5 Thou shalt concentrate (my blowdryer)
For the smoothest, sleekest hair, use your blowdryer’s concentrator nozzle. “The attachment helps to direct airflow down to seal the hair’s cuticle, which boosts shine and stops frizz,” says Kelly Finneran, stylist at Butterfly Studio Salon in New York City. #6 Thou shalt use silicones sparingly
Stylists have a love/hate relationship with silicones. “They’re a quick fix to make the hair look shiny and healthy, but they can suffocate the hair shaft. In the long run, you want ingredients that can penetrate the cortex of the hair to make it healthy,” says James. She likes natural and essential oil-based products like The Original Moroccanoil Oil Treatment. #7 Thou shalt keep brushes off wet hair
Dickey advises not brushing your hair until it’s just barely damp. His reasoning? “Brushing through soaking wet hair will flatten already naturally limp, straight hair,” he says. Blow dry hair sans a brush until it’s 90 percent dry, then finish with a round brush.
#8 Thou shalt give some life to my ‘do
Instead of stick-straight hair, use a round brush or flat iron with rounded edges to add movement to the ends. “Too-straight hair can look overdone and dry,” says James.
#9 Thou shalt let my fingers do the detangling
Once you’re done styling your hair, stay away from brushes and combs, insists Webb. “Using your fingers to [detangle] hair helps the style last longer,” she says.
#10 Thou shalt be ready for upkeep
One thing you can’t get away with when wearing straight hair? Infrequent trims. Since split ends are more noticeable on straight hair, James recommends getting snipped every six to eight weeks to keep ends from breaking.
What's your straight hair commandment?