I know that some natural ladies are totally against pressing or straightening the hair but its not as damaging as you may think if done only occasionally. It is true that heat in excessive is damaging. Heat can burn the hair which causes breakages. Also, as a result of heat damaged hair a lost of natural texture which presents itself as permanently straight pieces of hair. Heat straightening can be done at home but I recommend consulting a professional for best result. In the hair's straight state it is easier to see the current condition of your natural hair. You can observe the full length and thickness. Inspect your ends and remove any dead split ends more evenly. It also gives you another versatile look which was the reason you went natural anyway.
How do you straighten natural curly hair without chemicals?
We all know the old fashion way, a stove and a metal pressing/straightening comb. This method has been updated; you can purchase electric combs with temperature gauges.
A more up to date technique is to first blow dry the hair and then straightening with a flat iron. You achieve the best results with this method.
Preparation and Maintenance!!!
If your hair is not currently healthy a press would only increase the damage making the your mane more dry, frizzy, unmanageable, broken and the rest of the stuff we hate. Some signs that your hair can more than withstand the heat are shine, minimal breakage/shedding and great moisture retention. Identify the health of your curly state.
Secondly, consult an experienced natural hair professional. Preferably a recommended stylist. Don't be afraid to ask questions: what method/technique do you use, what products do you use (shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, heat protection product) how do you recommend I maintain the press and the health of my hair... If you feel comfortable, like its a good match set your appointment.
Its ok to treat the hair the week or day prior to your appointment. I deep condition with hair mayo and olive oil after rinsing I coat with a hair butter to seal.
To maintain the press, wrap the hair with a satin scarf. I use my Denman Brush to wrap and unwrap my hair. If you don't know how to there are videos on Youtube.com. Protect this straight style with a silicone products. I love Chi Silk Infusion it smells good and works great to seal natural moisture and helps to prevent reversion. Also, consider oil sheen to add oil without wieghing your hair down. You must also take in consideration the climate and season of your environment. In hot, humid areas no sense in wasting your time or money, its almost impossible to keep your natural hair straight in the Summer and/or Spring months. The best time is the Winter and early part of the Fall months. Even in the cooler months its important to wait to you arrive at your destination before unwrapping in order to protect your hair and style.
Straight styles must remain dry any moister will cause the mane to revert back to its curly state. This means you can't wash or shampoo your hair. I leave my hair straight for about a week just because I can't go without cleansing longer than that. You also can not use moisturizers that may weigh down the hair or make it wet. You must limit physical activity that may cause sweating in your head. Be very careful in the shower it is best to wrap the hair prior and cover with a shower cap. Do not uncover or unwrap your hair in a steaming bathroom (its just a recipe for disaster).
I also wanted to add that its ok to do a mid-week touch up with the flat iron or curling iron. Notice I said mid-week not daily or every other day. If you don't like the way your hair is looking in between touch ups, improvise. You can use a couple of rollers in the top to add some volume and more bouncy curls. Use hair accessories to reinvent your style. Hair bands and fashion clips are great.
Enjoy the volume and body of your natural hair.
Another Post on Straightening Natural Hair: