Before and After: Hair Straightening 101

If I do nothing to my hair post shower and allow it to dry on its own, it does this:
 (Incidentally, that's also what my face does when I let it dry on its own.)

Thankfully, there are things a girl like me (with hair like mine) can do to pretend this ISN'T what 'natural state' looks like for my hair.

Naturally, my hair is coarse, flyaway, and frizzy. It has a mind of its own. I love this about it - because I've learned to speak its language, and together we've created some pretty interesting looks.

It used to be a joke when I was receptionist for the big game company in Washington - see what Stepper's hair looks like, today! It was funny, 'cause sometimes my co-workers would think I was two different people.

I do sometimes let my natural curls out to play - but more often, I prefer the straightened approach. The reason is simple: curly hair you have to maintain throughout the day. Straight hair you can forget about. 3:00pm stringiness? brush. Windows-down wind? brush. Want it out of your face? brush and band.

When I go to get my hair cut at a salon, and they're seeing me for the first time - they tossle my hair, feel it with their fingers, grip it in their fists - get a real feel for what they think my hair is like. Then they send me off to shampoo - and when I return, they exclaim in surprise, "Your hair is CURLY!"

"Yes," I say.

"'s, like, really curly!"

"Yes," I say, grinning, because I love this part.

They then look me over once again, reconsidering me and my hair-doing prowess. "You're really good at straightening your hair." they say.

Yes. I will say that yes I am. Professional and kitchen-beautician alike: I fool 'em EVERY TIME.

But it didn't always used to be this way. There was a time when my hair and I were mortal enemies - neither bending to the other's will. Then we met...

The CHI.

And both our lives were changed. Now, I could straighten my hair and not have merely flattened frizzy, flyaway hair - but actually straight silken tresses that move and flow like they were BORN that smooth! My hair and I get a big kick out of it.

But it takes time. Twenty minutes to half an hour to straighten my hair correctly so that both my hair and I are satisfied. Here's how we do it:

Step 1: Divide hair into sections. This is important 'cause you have to straighten half-inch thick segments of hair or it doesn't obey fully.

Step 1a: pile sections on top of your head so they are out of the way.

Step 2: in smaller sections, straighten the lowest section of hair. I like to curve my Chi slightly downward so that I get a nice, soft, rounder shape to my hair. If you pull straight out while straightening instead, you get a more choppy look - which is also way fun! Maybe we'll do that next.

Step 3. Release the next section of hair, divide into smaller sections and straighten. Continue, continue.

Step 4. Now my hair is all straight - but it still looks unruly.

So I part it, smooth it, and often pin back the bangs. They're annoying to me, lately.

And now the hair and I are good to go! No product, no worries! And what's nice is that this method is so thorough that I only have to do it every other day!

But seriously people. Invest in a Chi. It will change your hair life.


b. said...

You're gorgeous.

I have the curls and the chi.
It is life changing, true...but I'm still too lazy to use it.

You rock the straight!

Tamsin said...

And then on the other side of the fence there is me, who could not get my hair to hold a curl if my life depended on it.

Hopefully it won't ever come to that.

craftyashley said...

My hair is naturally your "after" and I would like it to look like your "before." Is there a chi for that?

Ro Ro Riot said...

I want a chi! Not that I have curly hair. But I want silken smoothness. Like yours.

Philip and Mandy said...

Oh yes Stepper! I have this routine down to a science! I have VERY curly hair naturally... curlier than yours if you can believe it! And I get the same response from the gals at the salon. Ha ha.
What would we do without our flat irons?

*gu* said...

My hair's a hideous fro mess when I blow it dry OR let it dry naturally... I've been trying to figure out what product i need to use in my hair, apparently I just need a chi.

sharon. said...

You look gorgeous either way! Flat iron are amazing though, you're completely right.

Azúcar said...

My hair cannot be straightened without a ceramic iron. I lived for years with those old-fashioned flat irons that just made it one big mess of frizz and kink.

Hallelujah, I say.

Mac and Charms said...

Oh man...You are a brave woman to post "before" pics. However, your hair still looks cute in the "before's". Me, I would rather DIE than post my "pre-Chi" pics. It takes me an hour and a half to get my fro looking semi decent and then I have to curl the bottom, and hairpspray any flyways, then try and get the bangs to do something... But I digress...long live THE CHI!!! Great post!