Smart Flat Ironing

It is exciting after months of hair growth to flat iron your hair to see how long it's grown!  "Who knew black girls hair can grow so quickly?", I thought after I FIRST flat ironed a few months after my big chop June 2010.  Here is a picture:

Last time I flat ironed my hair was literally a year ago.  Even though it is exciting to see how long your hair has grown after flat ironing, I decided not to flat iron my hair anymore.  I find it much easier to maintain my natural hair texture now and found cool ways to maintain a braid-out or twist-outs that last (will discuss these tips in another blog).  Besides, I think my big fro is so fun and a lot more appealing.

But if you will, please be smart about flat ironing your hair!  No woman after months of hair growth wants to chop their hair off AGAIN because of heat damage!  I seen this happen many times!  So I decided to share some tips through from experience flat ironing my "permless" hair several times:


Use the same shampoo and conditioner you normally use, you do not have to use anything special.  I recommend parting your hair into four (or more) sections to make de-tangling and blow drying a lot easier.

Heat Protector

This is a must have!  Always apply heat protector before applying the flat iron even when touching up your hair later.  I use Proclaim Glossing Polish: Color and Heat Protection.  If you want your hair to bounce back to your original texture...use a HEAT PROTECTOR.

Side note: I use a heat protector as a leave-in conditioner/de-tangler and apply it on damp hair, also to each shaft of my hair before I apply the flat iron.

Blow Dryer

I recommend blow drying your hair before going straight for the kill with the flat iron!  It is much easier and looks much better after you completely flat iron your hair.  Use low to medium heat to avoid any premature damage.


Considering you blow out your hair first, apply hair moisturizer before blow drying.  It helps relax your hair in preparation for the flat iron.  I use good ol' Pink Moisturizer Lotion, it works great!


Using oil helps maintain your hairdo for a weeks to come!  Use your best judgement considering your hair type (click here to discover your hair type).  My hair type 3c/4a needs a bit more oil.  I use African's Best Ultimate Herbal Oil in which I apply to each section of my hair AND scalp before flat ironing.

Side bar:  For my birthday last year, I went to a Dominican salon to get my hair flat ironed.  My hairdo only last a few hours because of the humidity!  Why did this happen?  They did not use enough OIL.  So I used my backup plan, my Mom who is also a retired hair stylist.  She flat ironed my hair all over again using more OIL (in which I cringed the whole time thinking it could cause heat damage, but she's a pro!) and it turned out great and last for weeks!

Flat Ironing

There are many techniques to flat ironing hair, some people start in the front, some start in the back.  Whatever you may chose, if you want your hairdo to last longer and to avoid your hair looking like a helmet, make sure you flat iron from the root holding the flat iron there for at least three seconds, then slowly slide the flat iron down the rest of your hair shaft.  Do not forget a heat protector!


Wrapping your hair EVERY NIGHT helps to keep your hairdo as well.  A lot of women like to add curls to add some pzazz (such as myself).  For the sections you want curly, I recommend using rollers instead of curling your hair again the next day to avoid heat damage!  Using a silk bonnet also helps keep secure your style, especially on a lazy night.

If you want healthy growing hair, I recommend flat ironing no more than every six months (or not at all).  Many times women come to me for advice on their natural hair, I give them advice and stress: DO NOT USE EXCESSIVE HEAT.  Then see the person on several different occasions and their hair looking worse and worse than before, completely damaged and no growth whatsoever.  Have some self-control ladies!

Good luck my naturals!

~ Jo Jo
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