How To Straighten Thick Hair

by Vanesa Pacheco

Take it from a curly-haired girl: straightening thick hair to look "flowy" and light is not as simple as it seems. Those who keep their thick tresses looking beautiful and straight must undergo a long process of drying and styling before it can look the way it does when they head out the door. Thick hair requires time and patience, especially when your desired look is a perfect pin-straight do. To top it off, thick hair usually means it's heavy, which can weigh down the style that took forever to achieve. In order to deal with this issue, some have opted to "thin out" their hair and add some layers, making it less heavy and easier to work with. However, even with these features, it can still be a difficult to straighten and style as desired.

In order to find the best tips for straightening thick hair, I decided to reach out to reach out to expert Niccola Bowen, a professional hair stylist based in the UK. Having dealt with many types of hair (both cutting and styling), she quickly gave me some key points that can cut down on time and leave your hair looking as straight as you had hoped for!

1. Make sure your hair is dry

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

KMS California Free Shape Quick Blow Dry, $13 Amazon

Before using the straightener, make sure your hair is completely dry. You can achieve this by air-drying your hair or blow-drying it briefly. If you are going to be using a straightener, you don't have to blow-dry it perfectly: "Rough dry it until completely dry and then straighten over the top," says Niccola. However, waiting for your hair to dry is time consuming, so speed up the process by using fast-drying products like KMS California Free Shape Quick Blow Dry, which she loves.

2. Use oils

Although an advocate for heat-protectant serums and sprays, Niccola explains that "most products these days have [these] properties." For this reason, she also uses oils because they are easily absorbed by the hair instead of simply coating it. For thick hair, she suggests using Orofluido, which contains cyperus, argon, and linseed oil. "It's a denser product, so it's great for thicker hair," she says.

Orofluido Beauty Elixir, $11, Amazon

You can apply this to wet hair before styling and afterwards to "smooth over any difficult frizzy bits."

3. Prep the flat iron at the right temperature

Sometimes your hair might not be straightening quickly enough, causing you to run the flat iron over you hair a bunch of times. This repetitive movement can actually cause your hair to go static! To avoid this, turn the heat up on your straightener. A good rule of thumb: thicker hair, hotter straightener.

Try: CHI Original Pro 1" Ceramic Flat Iron, $60, Amazon

4. Straighten your hair with your overall style goal in mind

If you want your hair to be pin-straight, divide it into small sections and begin straightening from the bottom layers to the top. Glide the straightener only a few times over each section before moving along.

If you want smoother, rather than pin-straight, divide it into bigger sections. Niccola suggests running the straightener clamped tightly over each part slowly, so as to make sure the heat penetrates each section, but without as much direct contact with the straightener.

5. Brush don't comb!

When straightening hair, or even while blow-drying, the temptation to comb it (since it is so greatly enforced) can run high. But before you do so, grab a brush instead! Unlike when your hair is wet, "[combing] dry hair can cause split ends and static," she says. Remember her rule: "Brush for dry and comb for wet!"

Try: Art Naturals Detangling Hair Brush, $11, Amazon

6. Add volume

Because thick hair tends to be heavier, it is always a struggle to give it volume (especially after it's straightened). If you're looking to add some body to your hair, try drying your hair upside down to lift the roots. Also, using a voluminizing product, like Dear Clark Volumizing Tonic, before you begin styling can help to give your hair a lift. Additionally, if you're hair has gone flat, Niccola suggests applying some dry shampoo and rubbing it in properly. Not only does it help soak up that annoying oil, but it also give your hair that missing volume.

Dear Clark Volumizing Tonic, $26, Amazon

If all of these methods don't give you the volume you're looking for, it might be best to blow-dry your hair straight and then quickly run the straightener through the parts that need a bit more help.

Images: Ryan McGuire/gratisgraphy; SplitShire/Flickr; Getty Images (2)