What Are the Best Tips for Straightening Thick Hair?

Amanda R. Bell

Straightening thick hair can be incredibly time consuming, whether you simply have a lot of hair or if each individual strand of hair is thick. Some of the best tips for doing so include using a solid ceramic flat iron that is capable of reaching high temperatures and making sure that your hair is thoroughly dry before starting. Using a heat protectant and working in very small sections can help to make even the thickest, unruliest hair sleek and straight.

A woman with straight, thick hair.
A woman with straight, thick hair.

Unlike thinner hair which can be easily straightened with lower temperatures, thick hair generally requires high heat in order to penetrate the hair shaft completely. A flat iron with minimal temperature controls or one that only reaches low to moderate heat is usually not strong enough to straighten thick hair. Choosing a flat iron that reaches at least 400°F (about 204°C) is one of the most important tips for making thick hair straight. A styling tool that has solid ceramic plates is also important, as this type of material provides a gentler heat, even at high levels, and will cause significantly less damage to the hair than other types of flat irons.

Straightening cream can be used to tame and straighten curly or frizzy hair.
Straightening cream can be used to tame and straighten curly or frizzy hair.

With thicker hair, it can often be difficult to determine if it is completely dry. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when trying to straighten thick hair is to do so when the hair shaft is still damp. Placing a hot flat iron on damp hair will not only damage the hair, but also make it difficult for it to remain straight. A good tip for straightening thick hair is to let it air dry for as long as possible, and then thoroughly dry it with a high-quality blow dryer, even if it does not feel damp to the touch. Once you’re done blow drying, wait a couple of minutes for the hair to cool down, and then feel for any wet spots; oftentimes, just-dried hair only feels completely dry because it is still warm.

Using a flat iron is a recommended method for straightening thick hair.
Using a flat iron is a recommended method for straightening thick hair.

Applying a smoothing heat protectant just before styling your hair is one of the best tips for straightening thick hair. This product helps to protect your hair from the heat of your flat iron while the smoothing ingredients help to loosen any natural curl, making straightening thick hair quicker and easier. Higher-end products will also often aid in increasing shine, making your hair look perfectly straight and healthy.

Attempting to straighten thick hair in large chunks rarely produces good results. One of the best tips for straightening thick hair is to work in very small sections, no wider than the width of your flat iron. Starting from the bottom of your hair and working up, keeping the top clipped away while you work on the lower sections, will enable to you thoroughly straighten your hair without other pieces getting in the way.

A hair dryer can be used to straighten thick hair that has been mostly allowed to air dry.
A hair dryer can be used to straighten thick hair that has been mostly allowed to air dry.

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