I remember the first time I had my hair flat-ironed after going natural. I was AMAZED! First of all, the process was nowhere as difficult and time-consuming as I thought it would be. Second of all, my hair looked incredible. Compared to when I used to relax it, this hair had so much more body and life to it! The first thing out of my mouth was, "If I knew my hair could look this good, straight or curly, I would have never relaxed it!" However, maintaining healthy flat-ironed hair still requires work, which I've learned over the years.
I have to admit something. Though I'm pretty handy and self-sufficient when it comes to my hair, I haven't ever washed, blow dried, and flat-ironed my hair on my own since going natural. The main reason is because I don't have the best flat-iron or blow drier, which I hope to rectify soon. I do have a good enough iron for touch ups, but I'm happy to say I haven't picked it up once in the week since I flat-ironed my hair! This is a feat for me, because I used to be borderline-obsessive about my flat-iron touch ups. When I started teetering on the brink of heat damage from using the iron almost every other day, I knew I'd have to find a new way to maintain my flat-ironed locks until wash day.
My maintenance routine is pretty damn simple, and requires 4 tools: my trusty satin scarf, Denman brush, duckbill clips, and coconut oil.
When I was relaxed, I used to just sleep on my hair any ole kinda way and get up early to make it look decent in the morning. That was the same vibe I had when I went natural and started flat-ironing. Now, I see that maintenance, especially during sleepytime, takes so much work out of the morning routine! Wrapping my hair is a must, even though it took me a while to get the hang of it. I use my Denman to brush my hair in a circular clockwise motion, and use 3-4 duckbill clips to pin my hair down at various sections. My wrap never looks perfect, but once I get my hair laid, I'm good to go. I tie it down snugly (not tightly - I hate that line across the forehead in the morning), and hit the sheets!
In the morning, I remove the scarf and clips, and use the Denman to brush down my hair. I smooth my hair with a small amount of coconut oil (which adds shine and fights frizz), and I'm on my way! No extra heat required!
Of course, with straightened hair, moisture isn't an ally. If I get a bit frizzy from a steamy post-shower bathroom or when it's very humid out, I apply some coconut oil, wrap my hair, tie it down, and that usually remedies the situation right away. It's a similar process if I put my hair up one day, and want to get rid of those annoying hair elastic waves when I wear it down. In rare circumstances I do have to bring out the good ole flat-iron, but I do what I can to avoid any extra usage.
The message of the day? Wrapping your hair is the way, the truth, and the light if you want to maintain healthy and happy flat-ironed hair!
Are you a natural-haired chica who flat-irons your hair? Do you find yourself reaching for the iron often for touch-ups, or you manage with another technique? What's the best flat-iron and blow dryer out now? A sista needs some new tools!