Super-Easy Straightening Tips for Thick, Wavy, Brush-Breaking Hair

I've spent my entire life seeking out the best tips and tricks to make unruly hair straight, and I share them all with you in this VIDEO!
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Publish date:
July 19, 2013
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How-To, straight hair, wavy hair, techniques, flat irons, videos, hair straighteners, T3

When I was born, I had the cornsilk blonde, incredibly fine hair that my mother was expecting.

“You looked just like my brother,” she’d tell me. His hair was so white and so fluffy throughout his entire life that his nickname--even in the military--was Chick.

You know, like the cute, fuzzy baby animal.

I don’t know when my hair changed, but it was a surprise to everyone. Goodbye, hereditary chick down; hello, baby horse mane.

Nobody in my family had hair like mine. Nobody had even seen hair like mine. It broke brushes. It curled and waved and got so snarled that brushing it was torturous.

It escaped pins and nets in ballet classes. It took an hour to wash if it got past my shoulders, yet being long seemed to stop it tangling as much. I wore it in a single braid every day, including when I slept, from ages four to nine.

So I think you’ll understand me when I say that I have ALWAYS wanted straight, smooth hair. It just seemed so much EASIER.

As I’ve gotten older, I've learned to appreciate my hair for what it is. But I've also figured out some tricks to straighten it, because isn't it wonderful to have options?

I’m sharing my best secrets, plus showing you my straightening technique, in this awesome video!

Now it’s time for some bonus tips:

  • This is probably “duh” but: Don’t straighten your hair while using your laptop as a mirror! It is really hard!
  • Another “duh” probably: Make sure your hair and scalp is totally dry. There’s noting scarier for anyone who grew up reading Little Women than seeing steam coming off something hot on your hair.
  • If you’re looking for a straightener, I like the kind with ceramic plates and a temperature dial. I also like narrow ones, because I feel like they give you more control and they’re easier to maneuver. Mine is by T3, and it’s perfect. I know it isn’t super-cheap, but it’s really hot. INVEST.
  • Speaking of hot, I turn my straightener up pretty hot. Like almost as hot as it goes. This is what my hair type needs, but it might not be what yours needs. Start off at a lower heat and gradually increase it until you hit a sweet spot where, after a couple of passes, your hair is totally straight. (My hairstylist in high school told me that. I hope it’s still accurate, SAM.)
  • Please do not ask me how to curl hair with a flat iron. I have no idea. I’ve watched videos of people doing it and it makes my brain feel like it’s turning inside-out. This is what we have curling irons for, people!
  • I timed my routine as I was filming, and from start to finish it took me 10 minutes and 43 seconds to straighten all my hair. And I have a LOT of hair. Sectioning and quality tools, you guys. It makes everything so quick!
  • If you have SUPER-curly hair, split your hair into quarters horizontally rather than thirds. The “thinner” sections make it easier to straighten.
  • As far as technique goes, practice always makes perfect. You'll probably be pretty surprised at how quickly you get REALLY GOOD at using a straightener.
  • Accidents will still happen. Cool water, not ice, on a minor burn.

And here are the products that I used! As always, these are ones I have written about before and honestly love so much.

So we have Silk Elements MegaSilk Heat Protecting Spray, which you can get from Sally Beauty Supply, and is the BEST product of its kind that I have ever used. The clips are from Sally's also, and I like them because they don't dent my hair. And, as always, Bed Head Hard Head hairspray. Are you sick of me talking about this yet? TOO BAD, MY LOVE IS REAL.

And that’s all she wrote!

I hope I covered everything and answered all your questions! If I missed something, or if you need a dose of wisdom from the excellent commentariat, let me know in the comments (or via Twitter) and I’ll answer the best I can.

And if you really want to talk about Little Women--and oh man, I ALWAYS do--we can talk about that, too. Did anyone else think that Amy’s clothespin idea was kind of great when they were a kid? And maybe draw the erroneous conclusion that rosy cheeks = death? I did.