I'll say what everyone else is thinking: Straightening your hair in the summer is the worst. While I am a firm believer in letting your natural ocean waves free during the warm summer months, I do respect that certain occasions (and outfits) require straight, sleek hair. The problem is, running a super hot iron over your hair is the last thing anyone wants to do while they’re dripping sweat in the sweltering July heat. It takes forever, the straightener makes your neck, face and hands burn, and as soon as you step outside it turns into a frizzy, greasy mess. It all just seems like a collosal waste of time considering that by the time you get to whatever event you needed your straight hair for, it's probably in a topknot.
Of course, I can't guarantee perfection every time — because who, really, can predict when a perfect beach day will turn into a summer storm and ruin all the hard work you've put in? But there are a few easy ways to make the process more tolerable, and the end results reliably better, when you're forced to undergo the torture that is summer straightening. Most importantly? Treat yourself to a good fan and a massive bottle of water. Trust me, you'll need it.
1. Plan Ahead
If you have time, let your hair air dry (aka hang out on your bed in front of a fan blasting air in your face). Blow drying before you straighten is an unnecessary, added chunk of time in the heat, which isn’t good for your hair or your mental state. Apply an anti-frizz serum, like this one from John Freida, which will let your hair dry naturally and smoothly. Also, account for the fact that straightening your hair in the humidity will take a lot longer, so leave yourself enough time.
2. Get It Realllll Dry
Since you are (ideally) letting your hair air dry, it’s important to make sure it is completely dry — it’s the best way to maintain straight hair in hot or humid weather, because there is no moisture already locked in.
3. Position Yourself Accordingly
If you’re forced to choose between standing in front of the mirror or the fan, choose the fan. Being by an air source will (obviously) reduce sweat, and help fight the frizz-inducing reaction between your hair and the humidity. Your bathroom is inevitably the most humid place in your home (hello, steam shower) so move the process to the bedroom for the best results. If you want to forego the straightener all together, try this trick for getting it done with just a fan.
4. Invest In The Right Products From Start To Finish
Start in the shower with an anti-frizz shampoo and conditioner. Apply an anti-frizz primer/heat protector before you straighten, and top it off with a gloss. Use these products conservatively to avoid looking greasy, and apply four inches from your roots and down to your ends.
5. Use A Flat Brush
To avoid having to touch your hot hair with your hand (because, OUCH), use a flat paddle brush to stroke your hair, following along with the straightener. Added tip: Investing in the right brush for your hair is an easy and important way to avoid frizz.
6. Make Sure The Heat is Right For Your Hair
It’s important that the setting on your straightener is neither too hot nor too cool, as both can cause damage to your hair — you’ll need to find a temp that is just right (Goldilocks, anyone?). If it’s too cool, you’ll be going over your strands more frequently with the iron trying to achieve your desired results, but if it’s too hot you can burn your hair. Figure out the right setting to avoid excess heat, and excess frustration.
7. Consider Trying to Straighten without Heat
If you simply can’t deal with the irritation of using a straightening iron (or, if like me, you live in an apartment without AC and run the risk of passing out if you add any extra heat to the already-stifling heat) skip it. Try one of these no-heat-needed ways to get your sleek look instead.
8. Blow Dry With Cool Air
The final touch, and the absolute best part of the entire process, is giving your head a who of cool air from a blow dryer. Once your locks are straight, this will help hold them in place (and help you maintain your sanity).
Images: paultarasenko/Fotolia; Giphy (8)