Best way to straighten my hair?
August 6, 2012 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Best way to straighten my hair?

I am a male with wavy, curly and generally unruly hair (my parents are Greek and Irish) that I wear in a side parting. Which products (wax, clay, straightening irons / chemicals - I am open to suggestions) can I use to straighten my hair?

I currently use Fudge Matte Hed Extra (the strongest product I've found) but even this cannot completely control my hair.

posted by FuckingAwesome to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total)
You can't straighten your hair with products, you need heat. Have you thought of growing it a bit longer and just letting it curl? It'll be easier to take care of. I'm only talking a couple inches.
posted by fshgrl at 1:17 PM on August 6, 2012

You could get a keratin treatment.
posted by superfille at 1:22 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The stuff you're using is extra control, sure, but it's meant to *add* texture to hair, not take it away. What you need is a straightening cream/defrizz serum (Bumble & bumble Straight is okay, if pricey), a paddle brush, and a hair dryer. Rub the cream through your damp hair, and blow dry it while brushing it flat against your head. That'll get it straightened out a bit. Take a flat iron to it if you want to get it really straight. Then use your product to put your straightenedish hair where you want it to be, and keep it there all day.

But, realize this is going to be seriously time intensive on a daily basis. My hair is fairly straight already, but when I (very occasionally) want to do the silky straight locks, it takes about 35 minutes to really get it there (though my hair is longer than yours).
posted by amelioration at 1:22 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Knowing how long your hair is would help. If it's long enough, you have a lot of options: curling iron, flat iron, cold or hot rollers, or a permanent hair straightening treatment at a salon. If it's too short for that stuff, you're basically stuck with a blowdrier.

If you start straightening your hair, you need to start using heat and chemical protecting products on it and also conditioning it like crazy or it will become disgusting. Actually, if you're curly, you should already be using quite a bit of conditioner to keep the frizzies at bay. I am super curly because of my mixed black & white hair-itage (ha!), and the only styling product I use is conditioner and a little hairspray. If I want to straighten, I use rollers overnight.

Be aware that whatever you do to straighten your hair (unless it's chemical) will be instantly and horribly undone the moment that there is any humidity or percipitation within your range. You are talking about a very high-maintenance styling choice.
posted by windykites at 1:34 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

My hair is pretty short! 1-2 inches, slightly longer fringe
posted by FuckingAwesome at 1:38 PM on August 6, 2012

There's no way to straighten hair with just a product.

There are, generally, 2 usual methods to straightening hair, and then each of these methods have their own subset.

•Method one: Heat. You can do this with either a hot tool, in your case, a straightening iron, or you can round brush it conjunction with a blow dryer. If you use this method, it will require you to straighten your hair at least after every washing, possibly every day. When using heat, you'll need some kind of heat protective oil/lotion. They can be bought in most drugstores, Sallys, etc. You'll also need to watch some videos on how to do it properly. These methods don't really just make your hair straight, they make your hair lay straight in a certain direct/pattern. You can completely change the style depending on how you move the iron/brush, and how you layer your hair. Here's a tutorial for round brushing that seems pretty good, just to give you and idea of how it's done.

•Method 2: Chemicals. This method will cut down on your day-to-day maintenance, but also has the greater risk of going south. There's also more variants with this method, and I suggest you do research before committing to one. You can do a keratin treatment, like someone else suggested. You'll have to talk to the salon beforehand, because you may have to grow out your hair, have it treated, and then cut it short. This is a pricey, and lengthy process, but it lasts months. It is, however, pretty damaging to your hair, and you'll have to add some kind of oil treatment to your routine to help with the damage.
More recently, there are "lighter" keratin treatments being developed, which are marketed as "smoothing" rather than "straightening" which very may well work for you. Brazilian Blowout Zero is one of these treatments, and I've seen it work.
One last option, if you're feeling lucky, is to go to an ethnic hair care store and get a relaxer. They might also sell these at Sally's. They come in lye, and no lye. Lye works better, no-lye is better for your hair. Again, it really just depends on how unruly your hair is, and how straight you actually want it.

The last suggestion I'm going to throw out there isn't about straightening your hair, but using products to help keep it manageable. I used to work front desk at a salon that specialized in curly hair, and I have some advice for that, too. I don't want to derail, so memail me if you're interested. Good luck, though!
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:44 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

In that case, you're basically SOL, unless blowdrying works. You might be able to find a narrow enough straightening iron... I think there are 1/2 inch ones on the market. Look for one that's all "surface" with no plastic margin framing the plates. It might just burn your head, though.
posted by windykites at 1:45 PM on August 6, 2012

you need a tiny straightening iron. They have little travel ones, that are very thin that would work well for you. I know a few males that have similar length hair that straighten it. You'll probably burn yourself at first, but you'll get used to it!
posted by katypickle at 1:45 PM on August 6, 2012

I would be worried about using a relaxer on hair that short... I guess you could grease your scalp with vaseline first. But relaxer is probably too strong for your kind of curls; it's really meant for kinky hair. Please don't buy drugstore relaxer, that stuff's wretched. If you're set on it, get it done by a professional.
posted by windykites at 1:49 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

What about cutting it very close? I know a lot of curly-haired guys who keep a close crop rather than wrestle with their out of control, curly or wavy hair. It can be a very sharp look.
posted by anonnymoose at 1:58 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

I have frizzy wavy Irish hair that I cut to about your length a few years ago. If I tried to iron it, I looked like Derek Zoolander; if I left it to its own devices, I looked like Peggy Hill. I eventually settled on wetting it in the mornings and combing it flat against my head. It usually sprang back up a little as it dried, but it was generally straightish. YMMV.

It's an ongoing, losing battle trying to get wavy hair to behave at that length, especially if you're not willing to spend fifteen minutes with a blowdryer every single morning. Better to find a lower-maintenance length, either super-short or somewhat longer.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:18 PM on August 6, 2012

As a guy with hair a little curlier than yours sounds, I would warn you about using a straightening serum with silicon if you decide to go the flat iron route. They have a nice feel, but I've (sadly) walked around with luxurious hair that smells vaguely of lube. So smell them first.
posted by Tchad at 8:16 PM on August 6, 2012

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