Getting your hair to look sleek, straight, and healthy can feel like solving a difficult math equation. Using hot styling tools to straighten hair strips your hair of moisture, causing breakage. Over time, blow-dryers, ceramic straighteners, and hot curling irons can cause damage that makes even the most carefully styled hair look dry and coarse.

Tips for getting straight hair without using heat

There are tricks you can try to get straight hair without frying or burning your hair with heat. Most of these tricks will work better for people with finer hair that carries a bit of a wave.

For other hair textures, it’ll be more challenging to achieve the look of straight hair without sacrificing your hair’s health. But, if you’re willing to embrace hair with a slight curl or a little bounce, you might have more options. Consider incorporating some of the tips below into your own straight-hair solution. Keep trying different combinations of the tricks we’ve listed until you achieve a look you love.

1. Blow dry with cold air

If you’ve already mastered straight and sleek hair via the classic “blowout,” you might consider switching up your method slightly with blasts of cool air, instead. After you’ve let your hair air-dry about three-quarters of the way, divide your hair into sections as you normally would. Use the “cool” setting on your blow-dryer, making sure that your blow-dryer is moving continuously from root to tip. Keep the blow-dryer about six inches away from your hair while you dry it.

This method shouldn’t take considerably longer, but you may need to keep a straightening serum or spray-on leave-in-conditioner at the ready to tame fly-away strands. While using a hot blow dryer has been shown to damage the hair shaft, using cool air has been proven to cause less damage than air drying alone.

2. Wrap your hair

Hair wrapping is one of the more popular ways to get straight hair without heat styling, but not everyone knows how to do it effectively. Luckily there are tons of hair wrapping tutorials on YouTube geared toward almost every hair type.

While there are different methods for different hair textures and lengths, the basics are pretty much the same. You’ll need “long” bobby pins (three inches in length, also called roller pins), as well as a satin “hair wrapping” scarf or turban.

To wrap hair, separate the top section where you part your hair and use a fine-toothed comb to comb it out flat. Holding hair taut, bring the hair around to the opposite side of your head from where it naturally falls and pin it tightly to the side of your head. You’ll need to repeat this method for each section of your hair, and secure with a hair turban before you go to sleep at night.

3. Roll with plastic rollers

If you buy plastic rollers in a “jumbo” (1 3/4 diameter or bigger) size, you can achieve hair that’s slightly wavy with tons of volume and a glossy finish, no heat required. Simply divide your damp hair into medium sections and roll the products into your hair before you go to bed, or about four hours before you intend to take them out. These types of rollers may take some practice, but some people with medium-to-longer length hair swear by them. Some YouTube tutorials can help you get the idea.

4. Use products meant to straighten hair

There are shampoos, conditioners, leave-in conditioning products, hairsprays, and just about everything else you can think of that are aimed at calming and relaxing your hair. Experimenting with products that are meant for straight hair, or meant to make your hair easier to style, could be a good place to start.

Smoothing serums and keratin-packed spray-on conditioners can coat your hair strands, weighing them down and relaxing your curls.

5. Sleep with your hair wet

If it’s difficult to imagine sleeping with a hair wrap or big rollers on your head, start small and simple: Try sleeping with your hair wet. Use a hairband to tie a loose ponytail at the top of your head, then create a bun shape by wrapping your hair around that ponytail and securing it with another hair tie.

If you’re sleeping with wet hair, you may want to consider getting a satin pillowcase. This will cut down on friction against your hair that can happen while you sleep, giving your hair a straighter appearance once you let it loose in the morning.

6. Try a hair mask

You can deep-condition your hair with a DIY hair mask to give it a shinier and straighter appearance. Hair masks that are meant to restore protein to hair could make curly hair appear more relaxed. Try a hair mask that uses raw egg, manuka honey, or avocado for a deep-conditioning effect. You can also use warmed coconut oil or almond oil as hot-oil treatments to infuse and strengthen curly hair.

7. Apply essential oils

Anecdotally, there are some essential oils that make hair appear tamer. Some essential oils are more readily absorbed into your hair than chemical products. Coconut oil, argan oil, almond oil, and macadamia oil can all penetrate your hair follicles, sealing and repairing the cells inside.

Once you’ve used rollers, wrapping, a cold blow-dry or another technique to style your hair, apply your essential oil of choice. Warming the oil by rubbing it between your palms may make it easier to spread the oil through your hair evenly. Focus on the ends of your hair, and be careful not to apply more than a dime-sized amount. Not only does this add a sweet scent and a beautiful gloss to your hair, it will also weigh your hair down slightly, helping it to hold its style.

The bottom line

Getting hair that looks straight, gorgeous, and healthy doesn’t have to be mission impossible. While no two hair textures are exactly alike, experimenting with different ways to get your hair looking glossier and straighter can be a fun way of getting to know yourself better. If these tricks don’t work, you may want to speak to a professional hair-stylist about hairstyles and salon treatments that will give you a sleek look without heat damage.

Curly hair is influenced by the result of your genetics, your hair style, the products you use, and even how long your hair is. As you age, your hair can become less curly due to hair loss (alopecia) or get even curlier due to hormonal changes.

Styling your hair a certain way every day can “train” your hair to fall in a certain pattern, but overdoing it can actually lead to hair loss and damage. You may want to rock your natural curls once in a while and embrace the way your hair grows. Be realistic with how you envision your hairstyle looking, and be kind to yourself, too — curly, natural hair has a distinct beauty that many people appreciate.

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