7 Insanely Useful Tips On How To Flat Iron Natural Hair Without Damaging It!

Want to learn the best tips to straighten natural hair? It doesn’t have to be a frightening experience if you properly prep your hair and use the right thermal/heat styling products. Here are my key essential tips on how to flat iron natural hair without damaging it!



straighten natural hair

Being on your natural hair journey doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with versality in your hairstyles! After all, the beauty of having natural hair is the ability to manipulate it into almost any style or look your want.

Whether you’ve been natural for some time or you are just starting out in your natural hair journey, it is likely that you have heard or practiced to stay away from heat! But what if I told you there were safe ways to ensure that you could in fact straighten naturally curly hair, without having to worry about heat damage?

After learning the tips needed to successfully and safely straighten natural hair, you will be amazed at how with just a little preparation and a basic understanding of specific product choices, you can flat iron your hair without the dreaded consequences of heat damage.


This post is all about how to flat iron natural hair without damaging it. 


1. Use A Moisturizing Clarifying Shampoo

The first thing you want to do before getting started with your flat iron process, is to make sure that there is no product build up on your hair strands. The worst thing you can do is go in with a co-wash or mild shampoo that does not get the hair all the way cleansed. Think of all the old product you’ll be essentially burning into your hair, if you miss this crucial step. Clarify your hair with a nourishing clarifying shampoo of your choice. This will provide a clean slate for you to work with, more flexibility and pliability to your hair strands  when gliding that flat iron down the hair shaft. Also, you don’t have to shy away from sulfates in this step. Sulfates will remove any left over product buildup on the hair and ensure you are working on a squeaky clean slate. A great option for a shampoo that is nourishing yet still clarifying, is the Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo or the Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo.


2. Deep Condition 

After you have thoroughly cleansed your natural hair, go in with a deep conditioner. A deep conditioner will help to replenish the moisture loss and help to fill in any gaps in the hair strand to protect it and keep the hair stronger. The best deep conditioners to use when preparing to straighten natural hair are the ones that are both moisture and protein balanced. This is a great option for the best of both worlds… hair that feels soft and supple, while getting the strengthening aspects it needs as well. You can ensure that your hair will be hydrated and protected with the Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask, or the Mielle Organics Babassu & Mint Deep Conditioner. Remember, for the absolute BEST results when deep conditioning, use a plastic processing cap and sit under a hooded dryer for 15-20min (follow directions according to product specifications). Rinse out with cool water to close cuticles in hair strands and to help promote shine in hair!


3. Apply Heat Protectant

Once your hair is deep conditioned, you want to go in with a light heat protectant. A spray is a great choice because it is light weight and often easier to use when focused on it getting on all the hair strands evenly and lightly. Sprays are also a great option because they will not weigh your hair down. Remember, you want to keep the hair as light and airy as possible without weighing it down. Flat ironed hair that doesn’t have movement and is just flat, will have you disappointed with your end results. A great light weight heat protectant spray that does the trick is the Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray.


4. Carefully Blow Dry Hair 

The next step is necessary because you want to have the hair as stretched as possible, to avoid having to do too many passes with the flat iron on the hair when ready. There are a couple of ways to achieve a good blow out and the first is to use Curl Formers or Roller Set the hair prior to sitting under a hooded dryer, using indirect heat. This a great way to add tension to the hair with indirect heat, for very sleek flat iron results. Its also great because your using way less heat to start, so you can have more confidence in your flat ironing approach. Using the Revair Reverse Air Blow Dryer is also a great tool to get a good stretch on the hair as well, with minimal heat.

Another method that is commonly used to stretch the hair, is to use a blow dryer on a low setting and a paddle brush. As you brush the hair, you will be following the direction of the brush with the blow dryer. Work in small sections for the best result and try not to hold the blow dryer in the same spot for too long.


5. Apply Light-Weight Serum

So now that the hair is beautifully and carefully stretched using indirect/low heat, we are now almost ready to get that flat iron going! Apply a dime sized amount of a light weight serum, to help reduce any frizz, protect the hair from heat damage and promote shine. Use ONLY a dime sized amount and run it through all of your hair. You don’t want to put too much on the hair and weigh it down or worse, risk frying your hair with too much of the serum application. An all time favorite is the Mizani Therma Strength Heat Protecting Serum. You’re probably thinking “Doesn’t that have silicones?!” and yes, it does. But keep in mind that silicones are not always bad… especially when it comes to keeping the hair from frizzing up from the moisture in the air. Silicones block out moisture from entering into the hair, so for flat ironing purposes, sometimes that’s actually ideal!


6. It’s Finally Time To Flat Iron!

Now it’s time for the fun part… using your flat iron! So now you ask, “what temperature should you flat iron natural hair on?”. It is recommended to stay in the range of 350 -390 degrees when setting your flat iron temperature. You will want to go slow and steady, section by section. For best results, use a fine tooth comb and chase your flat iron above your comb as you glide down the hair strands in one pass. Because you did such a thorough job in the blow dry/stretching phase, one pass should be all that you need for a sleek look, but two passes won’t be detrimental to the hair if need be, either.


7. Apply A Light Weight Finishing Oil & Wrap Hair At Night

You did it! You have successfully flat ironed your hair and now it is time to add a finishing gloss of choice. You could also go in with a light weight hair oil such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or grapeseed oil. Just remember to only use a drop, because too much oil will result in heavy, weighed down hair that gets oily quickly. Once you’ve applied your finishing oil of choice, you can now wrap your hair for the night. Wrapping the hair encourages the strands to lay flat in a uniform direction on the scalp and keeps it from tangling. Do this every night before bed or a shower and you will see that your flat iron results will last for more than a week!


How Often Should I Flat Iron My Natural Hair?

It is usually recommended to keep the frequency at which you flat iron your natural hair to a minimum. Once a year or maybe twice a year is great and your hair should have no issues at all. Trying to straighten naturally curly hair monthly or every other month is seriously stepping into dangerous territory with heat damage (whether your hair is natural or not), so just make the flat iron look a treat when you want to take a break in between your curly styles and show off your length.


This post was all about how to- Straighten Natural Hair: How to flat iron natural hair without damaging it. 


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