From the runway to real life, silky, straight hair is always chic. It’s a simple-yet-elegant style that pairs as easily with a gown on the red carpet as it does with jeans and a t-shirt on the weekend.

Heralding a laid-back 70s vibe, straight hair looks as effortless as it does striking, but for some of us straight hair seems to be anything but effortless.

However, with the right tools, products and a bit of practice, straight hair isn’t out of reach. Learn how to get the look in three easy steps.

Steps to Straightening Your Hair

Steps to Straightening Your Hair


Step 1: Start in the shower

Just like applying makeup, you need to start with a clean palette. Straightening works best on freshly washed or day-old hair, and while shampoo and conditioner will not straighten your hair, it will help prep your mane.

If you have thick, frizzy hair, use a smoothing shampoo and conditioner. If you have thin, limp hair, use volumizing products.


Step 2: Dry your hair

Your hair needs to be completely dry before you use a flat iron, otherwise you could damage your tresses. Don’t go crazy towel-drying your hair; this can cause frizz and breakage, and it will enhance natural curls. Instead, gently pat your hair with a towel in a downward motion.

Next, “rough dry” your hair with a hair dryer, shaking the dryer back and forth over your hair until it’s about 80% finished, and keep the nozzle facing downwards to prevent frizz.

Finally, apply any hair products you’d like to use — like a volumizing mousse for fine hair or a smoothing cream for thick hair, and heat protectant spray — and then either let your hair air dry, or finish with the blow dryer.

You might also like: How to Get the Perfect Blowout


Step 3: Straighten up

Once your hair is completely dry, you can start straightening. While you give your flat iron some time to warm up, divide your hair into three layers from top to bottom, and secure them with a clip (working in sections helps to ensure your iron covers every strand).

It’s also important to set your iron to the right temperature for your type of hair; too hot, and you’ll burn your strands, but too cool and your flat iron won’t work as well. For fine or damaged hair, set your iron between 200 and 300 °F; 300-350 °F for hair of average thickness in good condition; and 350-400 °F for thick, coarse, and frizzy hair.

Next, starting with your bottom layer, straighten your hair in one- or two- inch sections, pulling the hair tight. Begin straightening about an inch from your roots to leave a little volume. Continue straightening each section of hair, then seal your ’do with a finishing spray.

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