Image of a girl with curly hair from behind

Mar 15, 2024

Tips and tricks on how to straighten curly hair without leaving damage behind 

Looking for sleeker, straighter hair? You’ve come to the right place 

Embracing the hair journey from bouncy curls to sleek, straight locks is a tale as old as haircare itself. Even the most devoted curl enthusiasts occasionally yearn for the allure of smooth, straight strands—but you need to do it safely. If you're here, pondering at the possibility of straightening your naturally curly hair without compromising its health, you're not alone in this hair pursuit. 

The burning question—"Is avoiding damage even possible?" crosses many people’s minds, and we're here to get to the bottom of maintaining the integrity of your curls while achieving that straightened look. 

In the world of haircare, where tools like curling irons, hot rollers, and overnight braids celebrate the beauty of curls, the desire for a change is only natural. We’re human, and we want what we don’t have—it’s part of our DNA. For those blessed with naturally curly hair, the idea of experimenting with straight styles raises that big problem of potential heat damage. 

Fear not, we’ve gone through all the nuances of this drastic transformation and our aim isn’t just for straightened perfection but also ensuring your hair remains as healthy as ever. Having learned from the trials and errors of yesteryears—where cheap flat-irons meet freshly bleached hair without proper protection—we assure you that we've undergone all the tests. 

Because, trust us—looking after your hair is the key to a successful and healthy haircare journey.


Prepping is key—so cleanse and hydrate


You wouldn’t put on makeup without prepping your skin first, so why would you do that to your hair? Before you reach for the straightener, it’s a necessity to prepare your curly locks for the heat. Start by washing your hair with a hydrating and moisturizing shampoo that is tailored to your hair type. Curly hair tends to be drier, so using a shampoo that adds moisture is essential—and for those with coily textures, a double wash is needed to ensure you’ve got the cleanest slate to start with.

After shampooing, apply a generous amount of moisturizing conditioner, focusing on the ends, then leave it on for a few minutes to allow your hair to soak up the hydration. A hair mask is even better, so spend your time on hair care and give your locks some TLC.


Once you've gone ahead and rinsed out the conditioner, gently pat your hair dry with a microfiber towel. Make sure to avoid rubbing vigorously, as curly hair is more prone to frizz when wet. Apply a leave-in conditioner or a heat protectant spray to shield your locks from the upcoming heat. This step creates a protective barrier, minimizing the risk of damage during the straightening process.

Tip: Look for products that specifically cater to curly hair, as they often contain ingredients that enhance hydration and prevent excessive drying during the straightening process.


Use a fine comb or brush to detangle

Before passing the flat iron through a section of hair, use a fine-tooth comb or a brush to detangle your hair as well as you can. This ensures a smoother glide and reduces the risk of snagging or pulling, minimizing potential damage. Start from the ends and work your way up to the roots to address tangles without causing breakage, because nobody has time for burnt mids and split ends.

The less knots you have in your hair, the easier it will be to straighten—so take your time.


Invest in quality tools—the right iron matters 

The cornerstone of straightening curly hair lies in the quality of your tools. Investing in a high-quality flat iron can make a world of difference in achieving sleek, straight results without causing excessive damage and we think it’s the most important step (of course). 

Look for a flat iron with adjustable temperature settings to cater to your unique hair type, as the cheaper ones usually seem to skip the temperature gauge (red flag alert). That’s the bare minimum though, you should also look for a high-quality iron with ceramic plates to ensure even heat distribution—meaning less burning in one area, and an all-over temperature.

Always begin with the lowest heat setting and monitor your hair's response and adjust the heat accordingly. P.S. applying a heat protectant spray or serum is *non-negotiable*—consider it the shield that guards your strands against ALL damage.


Sectioning is key 


One of the secrets to achieving a sumptuous straight look lies in proper sectioning. Divide your hair into manageable sections, using clips to secure each portion. This ensures even application of heat and allows you to focus on small segments at a time. Smaller sections facilitate better control, preventing the need for excessive passes with the flat iron. 

Remember, efficiency is key to minimizing heat exposure and potential damage—and if it’s your first time, get a friend to help with the back (it can be tricky).

Follow a smooth and steady technique

When it comes to straightening curly hair, the technique matters just as much as the tools. Begin at the roots and slowly glide the flat iron down the hair shaft, maintaining a steady pace. Avoid holding the iron in one spot for too long, as this can lead to overheating and burning. 

Repeat the process for each section, ensuring that every strand undergoes a single, smooth pass. This meticulous approach not only enhances the straightening effect but also minimizes the risk of excessive heat exposure.

P.S. Avoid rushing the process, as this can lead to uneven results and more damage.


Aftercare is just as important as prepping 

After straightening out your curls, you need to focus on post-straightening care. Apply a small amount of nourishing hair oil or serum to lock in moisture and add a healthy shine. You should also always avoid additional heat styling immediately after straightening to allow your hair to recover. 

We recommend that you use protective hairstyles that reduce manipulation and shield your strands—so in simpler terms, no harsh pulls on those fresh tresses. Goodbye top knots and tight braids, because you can strain.


Along with daytime care, you can also dabble in some nightly hair routines. Hydrating masks or deep-conditioning treatments to sleep in will replenish any moisture lost during the straightening process. But of course, not too soon after, because you'll be back to square one with those curly locks all over again. 

By following these steps, you can transition from bouncy curls to sleek, straight tresses without compromising the health of your hair. 


How to go from curly to straight hair? Here’s what you need


Moisturizing shampoo

Choose a moisturizing shampoo formulated for curly, coily or wavy hair types. This ensures a clean foundation without stripping away essential moisture. We also recommend you to look out for sulfate-free options to maintain the health of your curls.


Hydrating conditioner

Follow up with a hydrating conditioner that nourishes and detangles curly hair. Look for products enriched with ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, or coconut oil to provide essential moisture. We love the Moisture Repair Conditioner by Moroccanoil® as the reparative formula restores hair's health, moisture and elasticity with its antioxidant-rich argan oil, reconstructive keratin and fatty acid—in simple terms, it’s pretty damn great. 

Heat protectant

This is a NEED, not a want. Get yourself a high-quality heat protectant spray or serum before straightening, as you’ll be frying your hair without it. Our Moisture Hydrate Spray provides light conditioning while boosting hair's immunity leaving damaged hair soft, silky, and smooth while improving manageability. 

It’s designed to shield your hair from heat while creating luminous shine and silkiness. This creates a protective barrier against heat damage and minimizes the impact of styling tools on your hair. 


Nourishing hair oil or serum

Post-straightening, apply a small amount of nourishing hair oil or serum to add shine and lock in moisture. Choose lightweight formulas to avoid weighing down your strands, but also ensure it's nourishing enough to keep the ends from drying up. 

We love the Original Moroccanoil® Treatment because it’s the product that pioneered oil-infused hair care and created the worldwide buzz on argan oil. It’s everywhere and we can see why—our hair would be lost without it. 


Deep conditioning mask

Hair mask, face mask, foot mask—there’s just too many to remember! But if you’re going to skip on any, do NOT let it be the hair mask. Adding a deep conditioning mask into your regular hair care routine will replenish moisture and pack in the shine. 

The Weightless Hydrating Mask by Moroccanoil© is a rich and creamy, yet lightweight, deep-conditioning treatment that's rich in argan oil and has nourishing ingredients. Use it once a week to maintain the health and vitality of your curls, especially after heat styling.


“Big mistake. Big. Huge”

If there was one thing that good old Viv in Pretty Woman taught us, it’s that people make mistakes—and it just so happens to be a very common occurrence when it comes to dealing with your hair.  In the pursuit of straightening curly hair, several common mistakes can lead to damage, frustration, and anger. Stay away from the following pitfalls, so you can sidestep them on your journey to sleek, straight tresses.

Never skip heat protector 

One of the cardinal sins of heat styling is neglecting the heat protectant. Applying a heat protectant creates a barrier between your hair and the styling tool—and we don’t need to keep saying, but it’s a saving grace for your hair. 


Never straighten damp hair

We don’t care how late you are—this is something you should NEVER do. If you don’t have the time to blow dry correctly, then you sure don’t have time to correctly straighten. Straightening damp or wet hair increases the chances of damage, as the water content within the hair shaft can lead to steam and create breakage.


Never not section your hair 

Attempting to straighten large sections at once may result in uneven straightening and the need for multiple passes, and the same strands being burnt over and over again. Sectioning your hair ensures each strand receives equal attention, resulting in a smoother finish. If it seems too much to hold in your hand, chances are, it’s not a small enough section. 


Never using hair masks

Healthy hair is more resilient to heat styling, of course. Incorporate regular deep conditioning treatments and trims into your hair care routine to maintain overall hair health—so that you can keep styling your hair however you please. If you always neglect it, then there will be less hair to play with (sigh).


Healthy hair is for life, not just when you’re straightening 

The whole regime from curly to straight hair is not just about achieving a new look—it's about doing so safely and maintaining the health of your precious curls. By investing in the right tools, techniques, and products, you can enjoy the versatility of sleek, straight locks without compromising your natural texture. 

You haven’t put all this effort in to straighten those curly locks, for you not to have impeccable day two style. Give a silk or satin pillowcase a go, as it reduces the amount of breakage on your hair—and prevents a messed up hairstyle in the morning. With silk or satin, you'll wake up with your straightened hair still in its pristine state, and you’ll be ready to conquer the day. Now you can look like a princess, and sleep like one too.