Ask an Expert: Hot Combing/Pressing Your Hair

Question: I was wondering if hot combing would work for me so I tried it, however, the hot combing style doesn’t last on my hair for more than two days, my ends are also very resistant. Is it because it was done incorrectly or it needs to be done more frequently? My hair is typical African American hair however much more kinkier/dry than normal and relaxers easily damages it after many usages. Thanks a lot.

Hot Pressing CombAnswer: Hi. My goal in writing about hot combing is not to convince all black women that they need to wear their hair straight, it is simply to show another method of taking care of our hair without chemicals or synthetic hair. What I have found with hair straightening is that the products you use on your hair and the tools you use to press your hair really make a difference. Here are some tips that have worked for me:

1. The products that you use make a difference. I have gotten the best hair growth after I started using Northwest Scents products, because these are designed to be very moisturizing and gentle. My hair doesn’t press “bone” straight, but it is much softer and easier to detangle than it was before.

2. The tools that you use make a difference. If you choose to straighten your hair I recommend an electric pressing comb or a flat iron at a temperature that will gently straighten your hair, but not cause it to burn or to become permanently straight. For me that is setting 14 on my comb with 20 settings. Lately I have been experimenting with a flat iron. The flat iron will get your hair much straighter than the pressing comb, but you have to be really really really careful with it because it gets much hotter than the pressing comb, and I think it has a greater potential to do irreparable damage to the hair if it is used improperly. If you decide to experiment with a flat iron, please keep the temperature low.

3. The condition of your hair makes a difference. If you are trying to press hair that is in a weakened state from chemical relaxers or something else, you will not get the best results. You should first focus on nurturing your hair back to health, without chemicals, and then if you still want to press your hair, try it. I do not have any chemical treatments in my hair.

I hope I have answered your questions. If pressing doesn’t work out for you, don’t despair. Healthy black hair is beautiful both with its natural texture and straight. If you visit Natural Black Hair Care and click on the link titled “Natural Hair Styling Ideas” you will see what I’m talking about. The two pictures at the top are my mom and sister wearing their hair naturally. They have dry, kinky type hair too (my sister’s is softer than my hair or my mom’s).

-Ololade Franklin, My Black Hair Journey

Celebrity Hairstyles: Straight and Sleek

This slideshow features a bevy of celebrity beauties and their sleek, straight locks. A-listers across Hollywood know that super smooth, shiny hair is always in style if you’re armed with a few minutes and a flat iron! This short clip features some of the smoothest hair styles around – Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Hayden Panettiere, Beyonce, Kate Walsh and more!

Celeb Style: Queen Latifah

Queen LatifahLong or short, curly or straight, Queen Latifah’s hair always gets an A+. I love her hair in this picture, it’s so shiny and healthy it practically sparkles as bright as her future. For hair like hers that is heavily textured and difficult to straighten try an FHI Platform Flat Iron. The super-smoothing powerhouse has state of the art Nano-Fuzeion technology that combines Titanium, Titanium Oxide and Silver to work together to seal in the hair’s natural moisture and shine while smoothing each strand into silky serenity. If your hair needs a little boost, prepare it first with some Beyond Straight Temporary Straightening Glaze to get your hair straight enough for a queen.

Celeb Style: Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer AnistonJennifer Aniston holds the title as having one of the most fabulous heads of hair in Hollywood. Her silky smooth strands are pondered over, written about, emulated – who can forget The Rachel? – and photographed constantly. Why all the fuss? Jen’s signature style is always smooth, healthy and shiny, three qualities of great hair. To copy her look at the left, try a Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat Iron and BioSilk combo. The Nano Titanium in the flat iron is an exceptional conductor of ion generating heat that will allow you to straighten and smooth your hair quickly (up to 40% faster) and without damage. Before straightening, rub a little Biosilk Silk Therapy through your hair from the ends up towards the roots. This will provide thermal protection, help silken and smooth your strands and add a brilliant glossy shine. We’re talking 100% straight and shiny without a stray or split end in sight.

Take Your Hair Beyond Straight

Beyond Straight Temporary StraightenerIf you have curly hair, you realize that going straight isn’t a few quick swipes with your flat iron. No, for you it’s an entire lengthy process of sectioning and blow drying to try to straighten your hair before you even turn your flat iron on. Why not get a little help with a straightening glaze designed to unwind, uncoil and detangle those tresses?

If you want to straighten and smooth your style sleeker than you ever thought possible, try Beyond Straight Temporary Hair Straightener by Maxius Beauty. Straight from the makers of the Maxiglide flat iron, this non-chemical temporary smoothing glaze straightens strands with ease – even those unruly, shall we say overly coiled curls?

This aptly named super-styler not only relaxes curls, it also provides a thermal protection barrier from heat styling appliances (ahem, Maxiglide) and eliminates frizz and fly-aways. It contains a natural blend of Matricaria, Kiwi, and Henna Extract to hydrate and condition your hair, and added Vitamins A and E, Wheat Protein and Panthenol to build volume and thickness while softening and straightening your hair.

How to use it: On wet hair, pour a little bit into your hands and distribute throughout your hair with your fingers. I’d suggest adding a little more and lightly coating your ends – this is where you get those teeny tiny knots that sometimes cause snagging while styling. Beyond straight detangles and conditions, which we know is a must for curly hair that always needs lots of both.

After applying, fire up your blow dryer and show those curls and frizz who’s really in charge. You’ll notice your hair is more manageable, and super straight in no time with less effort. If straightening your hair usually takes you forever, you’ll love this stuff. It will help create a smooth canvas of hair that’s ready for your flat iron. And when you use your flat iron, you’ll notice smoother glides and less passes down the section. Less passes means less time, less energy, less damaging heat to your hair. All good things.

Hard to straighten hair has just met its match, push the limits of your own hair straightening with Beyond Straight.

-CurlyBelle

(who could actually pass for StraightBelle after Beyond Straight!)

Emo Hairstyles

Emo HairDo you have Emo hair? Also called scene hair, the Emo hairstyle has been around since the 1990’s though it seems to be getting a lot of press lately. Sprung from the depths of “emotive hardcore” music, this once non-conformist, individualistic and original, “doing my own thing” hairstyle is sure becoming popular with the masses. Once considered a somewhat negative term, Emo hairstyles are now being embraced by trendy girls and guys alike. It’s now long hair or short, black hair or blonde and everything in between. Did Emo hairstyles get too cool and become the norm? Maybe.

One of my favorite definitions of the Emo hairstyle comes from Urban Dictionary.com:

“genre of softcore punk music that integrates unenthusiastic melodramatic 17 year olds who don’t smile, high pitched overwrought lyrics and inaudible guitar rifts with tight wool sweaters, tighter jeans, itchy scarves (even in the summer), ripped chucks with favorite bands signature, black square rimmed glasses, and ebony greasy unwashed hair that is required to cover at least 3/5 ths of the face at an angle.”

Though that doesn’t entirely sum up the entire genre (it really just sounds like High School to me) this video montage will help put things in perspective. Emo hair might just mean teenage angst meets flat iron plus hairspray. The one common thread in all of these styles is a super uneven choppy haircut and super sleek strands usually sprayed into oblivion. (For more help with tools, check out our best flat irons section.)

I’m sure you’ve seen the Emo hairstyle emerging, it’s actually quite cool, though now that I’ve blogged about it, it just became more mainstream.

-StraightBelle

Celeb Style: Diablo Cody

Diablo CodyI am definitely a fan of Diablo Cody’s street chic wardrobe, choppy hair style, and tongue in cheek attitude. Her personal style is part pin up girl mixed with some rocker chic plus a dash of glamour. For hair this sleek and smooth I’d fire up an FHI Platform 1″ Flat Iron. The Ceramic and Nano-Tourmaline technology will straighten and add tons of award winning shine worthy of any leopard print loving, million dollar shoe wearing, Oscar winner.

Maxiglide Hairstyling Tips

Maxiglide Flat IronLove your Maxiglide Hair Straightener? Who doesn’t? When I saw these styling tips from Maxius Beauty on how to style with your Maxiglide I thought I’d share them with everyone. These tips are after you’ve applied your thermal protectant of course. Happy hairstyling!

1. Use a lower temperature setting (1 – 4) if your hair is fine or chemically treated, and (5 -10) if you have strong, coarse hair. 2. Always set the Maxiglide on its non-slip, rubber base.3. Your hair should be clean, dry or nearly dry, and free of tangles and knots.4. Never use steam within 3 inches of scalp.5. To prevent steam from wet hair touching your scalp, be sure the hair is completely dry at the roots.6. DO NOT use steam while your fingers are on the ridges of the Maxiglide. Never touch the hot plates!

7. You don’t have to squeeze tightly like ordinary irons – the ceramic plates and the detangling pins will do the work for you. Simply glide it through your hair. You’re not ironing – you’re gliding.

8. When you get to the very end of the hair, pause for a second, then continue gliding.

9. Start with a section of hair about 1 1/2″ inches thick and about 3 1/2″ inches wide.

10. Brush each section to free it of tangles.

11. For Softening: For especially frizzy, dry, brittle or stubborn hair, first, without applying a lot of pressure, barely close the iron and quickly go over the frizzy, brittle part of the hair which is usually the last 3-7 inches before the ends, with 1 or 2 bursts of steam. (This will soften the hair, much like you would iron out a tough wrinkle in a shirt). Then go over the entire section from the roots to the ends WITHOUT THE STEAM. You don’t want to steam the entire section of hair, just the ends.

12. Creating flips is fun and stylish. When you get down to about the last 2 inches of the end of a hair section, start rotating your Maxiglide in one spot. Keep rotating until your hair “flips-out” automatically. Note that for especially frizzy, dry or stubborn hair, you can soften the ends first as described above in tip 10.

13. For more control, you can use your other hand to help guide the Maxiglide.  DO NOT use steam while touching the ridges. And never touch the hot plates. Never.

14. And finally, for those quick touch-ups, your Maxiglide comes with a bonus flat plate without the detangling pins. Using this bonus attachment, you can move quickly through big sections of your hair for speedy touch-ups.  

These styling tips are extremely helpful, especially if you are a first time “Maxglider”. Tons of people love this iron, and for good reason, it’s great for straightening all hair types and lengths. Even CurlyBelle’s thick, unruly mop!
-StraightBelle