My Journey to Perfectly Flat Ironed Natural Hair

by West Parsons on September 22, 2010 · 13 comments

in my hair, straight hair

The Beginning
It has taken great deal of trial and error before I learned how to really flat iron my hair to garner the best and most healthy results. I began flat ironing in 2007 and I had no clue what I was doing. I wasn’t even aware of the possibility of heat damage. Heat damage? What’s that!?

My mom found out about Brazilian Keratin Treatment and thought it would be a good fit for me since I loved my kinks and curls, but at times longed for a change. That process sounded more permanent than temporary — I passed. I did a little research and found out the main ingredient in that product was keratin — of course. So I searched Sally’s website for something less expensive. I ended up going with a few Aphogee products which all had a high percentage of keratin. Photo results below.

The Screw Up
After flat ironing my hair a few times, I started to notice the texture changed. When my hair was wet, my curls were definitely looser and my twists did not look the same. My twists were deformed and not as fluffy as they used to be, which resulted in non-uniformed twist-outs. Smooth/ silky hair and kinks all on the same strand. Boo!

Although I doesn’t look like it, I was PISSED! I swore I would never put heat to my hair again — those feelings did not last too long. Lol.After doing a bit of research, I realized my hair had been heat damaged. The only way to get rid of heat damage is to grow it out or cut it off. Some people believe you can do hard protein treatments (i.e. – Aphogee Two-Step ) repair itself.

DON’T BE FOOLED! Heat damage is not reversible & Heat protectant is not a savior.

I used it every single time I straightened. When you hair is in its best possible state of being conditioned and moisturized (with a deep conditioner) before the use of heat, you minimize the possibility of heat damage occurring. Well conditioned hair requires less passes of the flat iron for desired straightness.

READ MORE: How to Prevent Heat Damage When Flat Ironing Natural Hair

My hair began to grow out and the heat damaged portion was breaking off so my hair pretty much appeared to be the same length for about 2 years.

Still on the Quest
I did a bit more research and once the damage had all grown out, I decided to straighten my hair, but this time, I just used a reduced amount of heat. My hair was huge! Big hair is nice, but not when a flat iron is involved. So I rocked the big fuzzy semi-straight hair for a while and continued with my research.

I found a deep conditioning tutorial by Patchouli85.  This tutorial outlines how to create an uber MOISTURIZING conditioner.  This conditioner is slathered on using the ‘relaxer method’, meaning the conditioner is applied ensuring every strand is coated.

Mystery Revealed
The first time I tried this method of deep conditioning,  my hair came out pretty straight with one pass of the flat iron.  BUT! I thought it could be straighter. So I tried it again and this time I left the conditioner on for an extended period of time (12+ hours). Wow! What. A. Difference! While blow drying, I really couldn’t tell anything miraculous was about to occur, but when I passed the flat iron over a section of my hair once,  it was like magic! Shiny,silky, relaxer straight hair which was 100% Natural!  The best part of it all is that my hair completely reverts 100% each time I wash.

READ MORE: Patchouli85′s Method For Silky Smooth Flat Ironed Hair

The Conclusion
Moisturized hair, not from a leave-in conditioner, but that from your deep conditioner, is the key to flat ironing successfully. When your hair is moisturized from within it will straighten much easier with the use of less heat reducing your odds of experiencing heat damage. I highly encourage you to really evaluate the level of moisture  your conditioner provides when you are deciding to use heat on your hair. If  you find your conditioner is not up to par, don’t be afraid to create a concoction like Patchouli85.

{ 13 comments }

Angelique September 22, 2010 at 1:05 am

Great post I will have to try this method when I flat iron my hair!!! Do you believe that the type of flat iron makes a big difference.

Anonymous September 22, 2010 at 4:23 am

Your natural hair is shiny & sleek. This may not work for kinky Afro texture hair. Like 4b. Your hair looks great & nice post.

Blog Vixen September 22, 2010 at 10:50 am

I have a friend with 4b/4c hair. When flat ironed, it came out very sleek and shiny. Maybe I'll search for her before and after pics and post.

Also, I think as long as your flat iron has adjustable temperatures and is ceramic, it does not matter. I will soon have a 'Save or Splurge?' segment where I compare two similar product of different price ranges. For the one about the flat iron, I will also post pics of my hair with the use of each on and my personal experience.

Anonymous September 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Your hair is beautiful. I'm going to try your method this weekend.

Tiffany September 22, 2010 at 11:53 pm

OMG I love your hair. I have just started wearing my own hair for the first time in two years and my edges are a mess since I had someone to straighten it. I don't like doing my hair but I guess I need to start doing it now since I'm natural. I'm going to try what you talked about and see what happens. Thanks for the tips and keep them coming!!!!

Anonymous September 25, 2010 at 7:03 am

I also saw your flat ironed hair using Patchouli85's deep conditioning method. I have used her condition recommendations before and got great results but I never flat ironed afterwards. I wanted to know what heat protectant you used in your hair while it was wet and did you use something again as you were about to flat iron? Also your blog mention syou have added more things to your regime to to add body and other good things to your flat ironed hair, what do you use now? I am a new natural head ( a little over one month 100% after almost 2 years of transitioning) and I am a bit bored with my hair and wanted to have a straighter look for a while. However, I want to be very careful and not damage my curls, etc. I also am great with rollersetting but not so great with a blowdryer. do you use a blowdryer all the time prior to flatironing?

thanks so much again for all of your help.

Blog Vixen September 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

The heat protectant/moisturizer/detangler I used in the video is Nioxin. Although, my only purpose for using that product is the detangling property it and it stands to be additional moisture before the direct heat. I did not use it because it is a heat protectant. As you read above, I don't believe in such products.

Nixoin is the only thing I put in my hair after the conditioner has been rinsed out.

I always blow dry first. The straighter your hair is previous to flat ironing, the less work the flat iron will have to do, which reduces your chance of heat damage.

A link to the Nioxin product can be found at the very top of the far right under "My Favorite Things". You will be able to find most products I use by clicking that link.

Blog Vixen September 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Also forgot to add, you will have to check back to find out the additional step I added to my routine :)

Sorry. Gotta keep the readers coming back somehow right?

Hair2Toe Beauty November 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Excellent article! I'm going to be straightening my natural hair for the 2st time and am gathering my game plan to prep my hair.

Gina November 30, 2010 at 12:52 am

I followed this process and my 4B hair has never been so straight… Even after I sweated in my hair it was STILL straight and this has NEVER happened!!!

a December 4, 2010 at 3:04 am

what temperature do you flat iron

westNDNbeauty December 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm

@Gina – I'm glad this worked for you!

@a – Usually 375-400

clairelynette January 21, 2011 at 4:00 am

Thank you for sharing this with everyone. Yesterday, I saw your video on YouTube explaining the steps and tried them this evening. This is the first time I have gotten my hair silky straight without needing a stylist. I couldn't be more thrilled. I don't use heat often but when I do I'll be doing it this way. Thank you, thank you, thank you!