Flat Ironing My Hair

This is a photo montage of my flat iron experience:

Step 1 – Twist Out

Step 1 – Twist Out

This was how I had my hair for a few weeks. I didn’t have time to detangle it as I had a function that evening and so had to go a little earlier to the salon. The girls were very gracious and indulged my need to photograph every step of this milestone occasion.

The middle picture is a close up of the twist out.

The left picture shows one of my twists stretched against a tape measure, while contrasting it with the other twists. This is from the front of my head.

The right picture shows me pulling down one of my twists against a tape measure.

Step 2 – Washing

Step 2 – Washing

The middle/background picture shows a twist being pulled from the side of my head.

The bottom right picture is my detangled hair, ready for washing. Note the difference in length from the stretched twist out. This is what we call shrinkage. You can also see from this picture that my hair is quite fine.

The top right and top left pictures are of me getting my hair washed. Hope was glad she had just had her nails done. Yes, she is washing my hair loose and not in sections. Since I do not notice any problems with detangling, this is ok with me. When I wash it myself at home, I do it in sections and it takes a little longer than at the salon. Perhaps when my hair is longer, washing it loose and the resultant detangling time will make it counter-productive. We shall wait and see.

The bottom left picture is my freshly washed hair. Note the shrinkage.

Step 3 – Detangling

Step 3 – Detangling

The middle/background picture is the back of my freshly washed hair.

Both pictures on the left are my hair being detangled in sections, using a combination of finger detangling and a wide toothed comb.

The right side picture is my hair being detangled and put in chunky twists to keep it stretched and prevent entangling again.

Step 4 – Blow Drying

Step 4 – Blow Drying

The background and left picture is my hair blow dried.

The top right picture shows the shrinkage in my hair. Even though it is much shorter on top, you can still see the difference in length with the hair that has been blow dried in the other pictures.

Step 5 – Flat Iron and Trim

Step 5 – Flat Iron and Trim

The middle/background picture is my partially flat ironed hair.

The left picture is the flat ironing (with heat protectant obviously).

The right picture is my hair being trimmed. We cut off quite a bit with a view to removing dry and split ends. It was mainly dry and quite healthy. This told me I need to work on moisturising and sealing my ends regularly and consistently, not just when they are thirsty. The ends are the vulnerable section of the hair and if they are not healthy, the growth will not be visible due to hair breaking off.

Step 6 – The New Me

Step 6 – The New Me

I could barely stand still for the pictures because it felt so bizarre and unreal. I last had relaxed hair in 2004 and it was much shorter than this. If it wasn’t growing from my head, I would have thought it was someone else’s.

Step 7 – 48 Hours Later

Step 7 – 48 hours later

In the end, I kept my hair like this for about 4 days as I couldn’t secure an appointment at the salon to braid my hair any sooner. Those few days reminded me why I don’t miss straight hair. Because my hair is fine, having it so straight only emphasised this. I prefer my hair with texture, so that it has some body in it. Also, it kept getting caught in the strap of my hand bag, in my clothes etc. It just seemed to be flying about everywhere and was extremely distracting. Also, I had to really wrap up my hair when washing my face and bathing, so this running away from water thing really was not working for me. I was glad to be rid of it.

Also, not that I owe anyone an explanation, but to be honest, I didn’t like the fact that people who saw me smugly thought I had caved in and relaxed my hair.

Random point: it is a long time since I have had a centre part in my hair and I really liked that for some reason. Weird, huh?

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My February 2011 vs September 2012 Flat Iron and Trim Length Checks

I would not recommend doing this very often. This was only my second experience straightening my hair in two years and I would want to keep it an annual thing, just for length checking and trimming purposes. When I first flat ironed my hair 18 months ago, we (my hair dresser and I) were both so scared about heat damage that the temperature setting was so low, my hair reverted back within about 30 minutes, just long enough to trim it and ooh and ahh for a while. In the intervening time, we have both grown in knowledge and confidence. To be honest, the thought of heat damage didn’t even cross my mind this time. I was also surprised how healthy it was, especially once the dry ends had been snipped off. Very few spilt ends. However, caution is always the best route, so remain skittish about potentially causing damage and your hair will thank you for it. If you cannot do it yourself, I think the most important thing is to find someone you trust, who cares about your hair almost as much as you do. Otherwise, the risk of heat damage or hair loss is just not worth it.

I also think it’s fine NOT to straighten your hair at all, unless you want a very precise trim. That is the only reason I do it because as I have already said, I really don’t enjoy my hair straight and prefer it with some texture.

You can read all about my length check here.

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5 responses to “Flat Ironing My Hair

  1. Wow- you know i read blackgirllonghair like everyday – and always look at the style icon ladies in awe. But always dismiss their hair as having some sort of mix in it etc. But seeing this is such a hair inspiration. I big chopped 3 months ago – and seeing this post has given me renewed energy to just keep at it.Lovely blog and congrats on being patient and letting your hair do its thang!

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  2. You're welcome Mwamba. Thank you so much for reading the blog. I can tell you that patience really is the key ingredient. Congratulations on the Big Chop and all the best in your hair journey.

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  3. Pingback: Where My Natural Hair Journey Begins Part Five | ZedHair·

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