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Hair how-to: Flat iron

Julie Kraut is a freelance writer and the author of Slept Away and Hot Mess. Visit JulieKraut.com for more.




Straight (hair) talk

If you’re going for a sleek, silky, straight 'do, a flat iron is the easiest way to go. A few swipes with a flat iron can tame even the most textured locks into a pin-straight mane. Although flat ironing is the easiest method for achieving stick-straight locks, it's by no means simple. Before touching a flat iron to your tresses, take a read of the below steps to be sure you know the right process.

Woman straightening hair with flat iron

Step 1: Choose the right flat iron

While everyone has her own preferences when it comes to flat irons, in general, you should look for a flat iron with ceramic plates that's somewhere between one and two inches wide. This smaller width gives you more precision and cuts back on unwanted kinks. Flat iron prices range from pocket change to a massive investment. Decide how much you're comfortable spending and then do some online research. You'll find the most helpful, honest opinions of how a given flat iron really works in its user reviews.

Step 2: Wash and protect hair

One of the secrets to straight hair is keeping it smooth. Wash and condition your hair as you normally would, then gather wet hair in a low ponytail at the nape of your neck. Apply a pea-sized amount of leave-in conditioner on the hair hanging in the ponytail, avoiding the roots of your hair. Apply a product specifically designed for heat protection to towel-dried hair once you're out of the shower.

Also: Homemade conditioning treatment for dry, damaged hair >>

Step 3: Dry your hair

Thoroughly dry your hair with a hair dryer. If you have naturally wavy or nearly straight hair, you can get away with finger tossing your locks under the heat. If your hair is curly, get a head start on the straightening process by using a large round brush as you dry. Wrap small sections of hair around the brush and pull the brush away from your scalp as you apply heat.

Also: How to blow dry your hair smooth and shiny >>

Step 4: Heat up the flat iron

Turn on your flat iron. Be sure you have an appropriate place to set the flat iron during heating. The plates get incredibly hot, can burn fabric and can melt plastic.

Step 5: flat Iron hair

Clamp the flat iron near the roots of a one- to two-inch section of hair and slowly drag the flat iron to the tips. One swipe through the section may be enough, but you can repeat several times until it is as straight as you'd like. Repeat on small sections of hair until your entire head of hair is straight.

Pro warning: Be careful when flat ironing face-framing pieces of hair. The iron may make that hair too straight, causing it to flop on your forehead and look limp. If that's the case, just dampen those locks with some water and use a round brush and hair dryer for a straight, yet full look around your visage.

Step 6: Apply finishing product

To keep your straight hair looking as perfect as possible, use a finishing product that protects from frizz and lightly holds hair in place.

More tips on how to straighten curly hair >>

More quick hair tips:

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