The Best Products to Straighten African American Hair Without a Perm

Layer products and styling techniques to get hair sleek and straight.

Photo: Baerbel Schmidt/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Perms straighten out curls and give African American women a straight style, but they also zap the moisture from hair and cause it to become dry and frizzy. Luckily, there are temporary solutions for straightening African American hair without going down the road of perms and damage. Arm yourself with a handful of straightening products and styling to take your hair from curly to straight in a few minutes.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Straight hair starts in the shower. Check the aisles of your local beauty supply store or drugstore for products tailored to straight hair. Lather up in the shower with shampoo and conditioner for straight hair. These products are specially formulated to straighten out the kinks and curls of African American hair. Use these products the day you'd like to go straight, then switch back to your regular products on curly days.

Styling Products

Arm yourself with a cabinet full of styling products that cater to straight hair. Start with straightening serum right out of the shower. Smooth it over damp hair to give hair shine and frizz-free style. Once your hair is dry, use a straightening balm to lock in the straight style. Balms give maximum hold without weighing down your hair. Keep a travel-size bottle of straightening balm in your purse to keep unruly hair in order all day long.

Blow Drying

Drying your curly hair properly is crucial to straightening out your locks. If hair is allowed to air dry, the curls will creep back in. Use your brush to pull hair straight out from your head, then point the nozzle of the blow dryer directly at your roots. Blast those roots then gradually draw the brush through your hair while following with the hair dryer. Dry your hair, piece by piece, focusing on the roots until your whole head is dry.

Flat Ironing

A flat iron gives the finishing touch to straightened hair. It adds shine and takes hair from slightly straight to pin-straight. After blow drying, heat up the flat iron. Grab a 1-inch piece of hair and clamp the iron down onto your hair. Slide the iron slowly down the length of your hair. Straighten your hair, piece by piece, until your hair is smooth and sleek.

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