Friday, October 1, 2010

Reader Question: HELP! My Pressed Hair Never Stays Straight!

"You had a picture wearing purple with another young lady and I love how straight your hair was. I usually like to wear my hair pressed straight for the winter because it is easier to retain length and I was wondering how you managed to get your hair so straight. I am never able to get my hair that straight and besides that it is always stiff and poofs up easily, any advice would help"

Get the hair clean. I recommend clarifying [then following up with a moisturizing poo of course]: You want the hair to be as clean as possible, as any dirt, film, or residue left on the hair will cause your strands to lack body and shine. Buildup is also the culprit behind stiff, dry hair.

Rinse out the conditioner WELL. You spent all that time making sure your hair was clean, pay equal attention to ensuring you have rinsed your conditioner out thoroughly. Any conditioner left on your hair will coat the strands with a waxy film and shorten the "life-span" of your freshly pressed tresses.
Places to pay close attention to: The nape area, the crown, and the area slightly behind your temple.

Detangle thoroughly: Pressing hair that is matted/knotted and/or tangled not only causes unnecessary hair loss, but it also takes away from your desired results. Hair that is detangled well before pressing is sleeker and shiner because you didn't subject your strands to excess mechanical manipulation by continuously raking a pressing comb through your hair.

Cool shot after blow-drying: Utilizing the blue or cool button after blow-drying will seal the cuticles making your hair shiny and easier to manage.

Use the right pressing comb for your hair type: This is important to ensure you get an even press without having to pass the pressing comb through your hair more than necessary [I usually do two passes]. Finer hair requires a pressing comb with teeth that are closer together, and thicker hair requires a comb with teeth that are spaced further apart.
  • Coarse thick hair with regular density? Try this comb
  • Coarse thin hair with regular density? Try this comb
  • Coarse thin hair with a heavier density? Try this comb
  • Coarse thick hair with heavier density? Try this comb
When pressing the hairline and nape area; use a pressing comb suitable for the texture/density of the hair. Kizure also makes a temple pressing comb specifically for those areas. The teeth are very close together ensuring you get an even press.

Temper the comb well: Probably one of the single most important pieces of information to remember. Tempering the comb ensures that your comb will hold the required amount of heat and will hold it evenly. This is important as combs that are unable to hold heat will have a hard time getting your hair straight. This usually results to you placing your comb back on the heat source for more heat. - It isn't that you need more heat, you need your comb to retain the heat and it needs to be distributed evenly along the comb so that your roots are just as straight as your ends.

You only need to temper a comb once. To do so, place the comb on a heat source [either the stove or the hair oven] for about 6-8 hours. If you use Kizure irons/combs they are pre-tempered so it saves you the hassle.

If the comb is smoking, there is an issue: Steam is ok, smoke isn't. Smoke usually signifies a pressing comb that hasn't been cleaned thoroughly or hair that has excess product residue. Pressing your hair with a dirty pressing comb or hair that is filled with product residue will not only cause your hair to have that "pressing comb odor" but will also take away from the finished look. Your hair may appear dull, stiff or lack body.

Do not add oil: Oil can really be your arch nemesis to free flowing hair filled with body and shine. If you are looking for moisture, you can opt for using a leave-in conditioner. If you are looking for shine; making sure your hair is completely clean, rinsing out conditioner with cold water and using a cool shot after blow-drying helps out immensely for increasing that shine factor. Tried all of the above but you still lack shine? Try a clear cellophane treatment or even a shine serum for instant gratification.

One inch sections: Ensuring that you get a nice even press means starting off with workable sections. I press sections of hair no bigger than one inch. While it may take longer using smaller sections, it extends the life of your press by lowering the chance of reversion.

Clean combs after each use: Pressing clean hair with dirty combs not only transfers residue to your strands, but it can also leave a very distinct smell behind that is hard to remove without shampooing. If you have shampooed your hair thoroughly and properly cleansed your combs, there should be no smell left behind on your tresses after pressing.

Want more tips? Check out these related posts!
The Secrets To Bouncy, Swingin' Pressed Hair
Details: My Straight Hair Regimen

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  1. Thanks for this post, I've been having similar issues with getting my hair strait. I wonder what is a better tool to get coarse, thick hair strait-- the pressing comb or the flat iron... any suggestions???

  2. pressing combs scare me so much lol

  3. Thanks! Your hair is haute! Do you use some type of heat protectant on the hair? or NO Product for pressing? What kind of oven would you suggest? Great blog! besties (in my head) ciao

  4. would you recommend chi irons for straightening (after a blow-dry)? I'm hesitant since the heat settings are constant and cannot be controlled.

    I had a bad experience with pressing so I'm worried about trying that again too...

  5. Thank you for this! I'm planning on straightening my hair once it gets cooler, but was concerned about both shine and keeping it straight. I'll be referring back to this post when that time comes!

  6. How do you make sure not to suffer from heat damage since you can't control temperature on something like a hot comb?

  7. I had the same question
    what about a FLAT IRON????? :-)

  8. I just recently discovered my prize regimen! (yay) Instead of going for the bone-straight look, I put my flat ironed hair into bantu knots and then wear waves. That way, if the humidity hits, your style still looks like a style and not so much like your press ran out (learned this after a "run out press" incident a couple months ago). This also helps because I trim my own hair and you don't notice that it's not straight because of the "layers" created by the waves.

    I use a combination of a Chi flat iron and the Instyler. Where the Instyler snags, I usually cut b/c it's a dead end. Cutting for hair health is another way to retain hair length.

    Hope that helps.

  9. I usually use a heat protectant when I straighten my hair. I am also a strong proponent of tourmaline ionic blow dryer. They dry your hair faster, seal in moisture, and reduce the amount of heat damage. (Google for more information.)

  10. I rarely straighten my hair, but back in my relaxed days I learned a trick with cleaning curling/flat irons and hot combs---lye relaxer! You allow the tool to heat up, slather the mixed relaxer on, leave on a few minutes, then wipe with a dry cloth. It takes away all the rust/build-up. Pretty scary that the stuff was once used on my scalp...

  11. Thank you for this info. I'm about to purchase the combs. Forgive my ignorance, but how do you heat them? I'm guessing the only way to do it is on the stove...If so, how high do you set your stove...(medium heat, high heat, etc.?)

  12. Thanks for the post! Question: Before pressing should there be any kind of heat protectant on your hair or any type of product at all? If a heat protectant should be used what brand would you recommend?


  13. One more thing? How do you maintain the press?

  14. Thanks for the post and your hair looks amazing in that photo. Do you ever plan to make a video tutorial on this?

  15. I'm assuming you blow-dry then that right?


  17. Hi, There is a CHI iron where you can control the settings - i got one last October (

    I straighten 3/4 times a year, and it can last up to 4 weeks then it starts to poof but your hair will still have body

    I use chi silk infusion, round boar brush, and tourmaline ionic blow dryer.

    I hope this helps :)

  18. @ The.Glam.Garage--Thanks for that info!

  19. I was wondering if you would be willing to post a video on how you press your hair for those who do not have any idea on pressing their own hair?

  20. also where is the original article for this pic, thanks

  21. ok this was a whole heep o' help. i straightened the front of my hair today (to blend with a halfwig) and did not like my results at all (dull, stiff, dry) i applied oil thinking it would help condition/protect my hair against the heat. now i know the culprit! lol

  22. Very pretty hair and KUDOS for being in a previous edition of ESSENCE!

  23. What if you have thick, fine (like strand diameter) hair?

  24. Thank you for this valuable information. I am truly grateful for this site and I appreciate your sharing of tips on hair, fashion, food, etc. Question...once the conditioner is rinsed out of you hair, do you add a leave in conditioner? If so, which one? Also, do you use a heat protectant prior to pressing? Finally, and most importantly, PLEASE do a video tutorial from start to finish on pressing your hair. Thanks in advance :-)

  25. I've been contemplating using a straightening comb on my hair versus my flat iron. Thanks for the suggestions.

  26. @Rhoyale; you're welcome! I actually prefer the comb over the flat iron. It allows me to really get those roots.

    @Latrice of Opulent Couturier; Thank you!

    @Alana; They can be a tad scary, but once you get the hang of using them correctly it becomes like second nature.

    @S; Thanks I appreciate it! I use Aveda Brilliant Damage Control as a heat protectant, it works like a charm. As far as ovens, I love the Kizure Oven!

    @Anonymous; I am not a big fan of the Chi flat irons. While I love how straight they can get the hair something about the temperature really has a tendency to thin my hair out. I like using irons that I can control versus irons that have preset temps [like the CHI].

    @Tori D; You're welcome, I am glad you found it useful!

    @nadia; I use a heat tester, check out my posts about the Golden Supreme Heat Tester. I swear by that thing.

    @Adriii; Great tips!

    @Latoya; Agreed! The tourmaline driers are amazing!

    @Anonymous; Wow! Never heard of that one! Thanks for the tip!

    @Kweenie; I always use a stove meant for thermal styling. Kizure, Golden Supreme and Kentucky Maid all make "stoves" for heat styling. You can use your regular stove-top if you like [albeit it can be more drying versus a stove meant for thermal styling]. If you use your regular stove-top, set the burner at medium.

    @Hell Notes for Beauty™ ; Thank you!

    @Keisha; Most definitely! I always use Aveda Brilliant Damage Protection!

    @Keisha; You can either crosswrap your hair at night, pin curl, or slap a bonnet over your hair.

    @Passion; Thank you! I do indeed, the next time I straighten my hair I will do it on camera.

    @TiffNicky; Yes indeed, you can blow-dry then press, or you can air-dry then press. However the latter makes for softer hair.

    @BreZee; Thank you for the support! I use Aveda Brilliant Damage Protection Heat Protectant. I then use a smidgen of Vatika Oil on the hair after I press it. I don't really like to moisturize during the first few weeks of my press because it can make for very stiff hair. I will usually moisturize on week 2 or three with Oyin's whipped pudding.

    @The.Glam.Garage; Thanks for the tips!

    @angela; Yes indeed, I will post a video the next time I press my hair.


    @Kearea'; Thank you very much!! I am glad this was of help to you!

    @Anonymous; Thank you so much!!!

    @Anonymous; Try this comb

    @Anonymous; Thank you very much! When I am wearing my hair in straight styles I use Sebastian Potion #9 as my leave in of choice. It is a wearable styler and helps a great deal in protecting the hair while still maintaining body. I do use a heat protectant, my favorite being Aveda Brilliant Damage Control.I will definitely do a video the next time I press my hair.

    @Faces by Tamara; You're welcome!

  27. Creating a thick paste of baking soda and water will get the job done when it comes to cleaning residue off curling/flat irons.(specific directions can be found online)

    @ Anonymous: No LYE relaxer? YIKES!

  28. Thank you for your blog.It is so informative.But if anyone want to know more information he should visit :

  29. is it okay to work out with pressed hair? i recently got my hair flat iron but i didnt think about the tennis class i signed up for, will that sweat out my hair? its only once a week and at my school- its required to take p.e courses

  30. Hey, Does anyone know what kind of hair I would need to achieve the look with a sewn in weave? Kinky straight is way too thick..any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

  31. can you make a video next time you press your hair please

  32. Nikole, Are you aware that the site: is a questionable site? If you click on the link re "About Us" everything seems to be in jibberish. This is what it says at the bottom of this page:

    To all of you, from all of us at Magento Demo Store - Thank you and Happy eCommerce!

    John Doe
    Some important guy

    ..only the front page re the various products are in English. Also the online Better Business Bureau is not showing this company.

    Please research regarding this company. They sound very suspicious. My respectable PC security system shows the site with a question mark which indicates there's a problem re reliability and trustworthiness.


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