As soon as the humidity hits, curly girls everywhere know it’s time to retire their blow dryers and flat irons until cool weather rolls back around. For years, straightening your curly hair when it’s hot and humid has essentially been off limits for ladies who fear major frizz—that is, until now.
Over the last few years, a bevy of products have hit the market promising to prevent even the curliest curls from returning to their natural state in the humidity. From smoothing shampoos and conditioners to serums and creams, the options seem endless—but do they work? To find out, we sat down with Mizani artist and educator Daryce Brown-Willis. She revealed the industry secrets for achieving the straight hair of your dreams even in the sweltering heat.
What is the best method for straightening curly hair?
Brown-Willis says a two step process is the best approach when straightening hair. First, she suggests you blow dry the hair from root to ends with tension on a low heat setting, then bump up the heat and go over the hair again with a paddle brush. If you’re looking for a sleeker style, add a third step and follow up the blow drying with a flat or curling iron.
If you’re still concerned about potential heat damage to your strands (and you should be), make sure your hair is super clean before you heat style it. If your hair is full of oils and products your strands can literally fry when heat is applied. While it is important to include heat protecting products in your straightening routine, you want to be sure to eliminate any extra oils and buildup. To make sure your hair is squeaky clean, Brown-Willis suggests using a clarifying shampoo the day of to make sure any product has been washed away.
Lastly, if you’re anxious about your curl pattern returning completely once you’re done with your straight style Brown-Willis suggests ultra moisturizing hair treatments. Whether you head to your salon for a professional treatment or spend a little extra time with some deep conditioner in your hair, the stylists insists making sure your hair feels moisturized is the key to ensuring the elasticity of each strand stays intact.
What are the best products to use when straightening curly hair?
When straightening your hair at home, you don’t just need the right tools, but also the right products to make sure your straight locks look flawless. For any curly girl looking to straighten their locks—especially while combating heat and humidity, Brown-Willis suggests Mizani’s Thermasmooth collection.
The stylists says the system uses “four steps to ensure hair is strengthened, protected and moisturized.” The innovative system includes a shampoo, conditioner, Sleek Guard Cream and Smooth Guard Serum which all work together to create a long-lasting, frizz-free, smooth style and prevent additional heat damage to your strands.
Now that your hair is straight, how do you make sure it stays that way?
Straightening your hair when it’s hot and humid outside is only half the battle. Once you’ve got your hair styled to your liking, you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Brown-Willis recommends the last two products in the Mizani Thermasmooth collection to make sure your locks stay sleek and straight all week long.
“The Shine Extend Anti-Humidity Spritz not only locks in moisture but also repels humidity,” she explains. The Thermasmooth Style & Style again cream with heat activated style memory, provides heat protection up to 450°F. The best thing about it is that it allows you to apply the cream once and re-activate the heat protecting formula just by adding heat, “so that if one needs to touch up their style, the hair remains protected,” Brown-Willis explains.
Unfortunately heat and humidity aren’t the only things that have the potential to ruin your sleek style. While it may be tempting to run your fingers through your smooth locks all day, Brown-Willis says to avoid "hand in hair" syndrome. Brown-Willis says she’s seen clients ruin their blowouts with the moisture and oil from their hands before the elements had a chance to get to it.
After you've spent the day outside slaying your look and not touching your hair, Brown-Willis recommends using flat pin curls or flexirods to ensure your hair doesn't get tangled in your sleep and wrapping your locks in a silk or satin scarf. The silk or satin scarf will give your strands a smooth surface to lay on while your sleep and ensure your style is flawless the next morning.
So you've followed every step but you're still sweating out your style—what do you do?
Even if you've followed every one of Brown-Willis’s tips, there's one thing you might not be able to avoid in the heat: sweat. When trying to combat frizz created by sweat it's best to focus on your roots and edges as those are the parts of your hair closest to the source of sweat, your scalp.
Brown-Willis recommends using Mizani’s Lived-In Texture Creation Cream along your edges for a strong hold that is soft to the touch.
If you avoid the gym when your hair is straight for fear of sweating it out Brown-Willis has a tip just for you. Before heading to the gym, wrap your hair up in flexi rods. “Flexi rods allow the hair to be wound around itself but prevent reversion because the hair is off of the scalp,” she says. Another moisture wicking tip is to wrap your hair in a cotton scarf to soak up all of the sweat from your high intensity workout. The key to this trick is to make sure you don't remove the scarf until it has completely dried. Allowing the scarf to dry along with your hair will help keep your style looking sleek and smooth.