Over the years, naturally curly hair has gotten a bad reputation for being difficult to work with, hard to style, or just not trendy at all. So, it’s no surprise that people fall prey to believing these myths.
Without a lot of options on how to deal with naturally curly hair, you may have just let nature take its course.
When a long shower and brushing out leaves you with straighter hair, maybe you’ve just gone with it, even if you wanted to wear it naturally curly.
Or maybe you’ve believed that you could never find a safe, natural way to straighten your hair if you didn’t want to wear it curly.
But now, whether you want your curly hair to stay curly or if you want to find a way to straighten it naturally, there are options out there for you!
There’s no right or wrong way to wear your hair.
So, knowing how to style your hair the way you want to see it every day is the best way to make sure you look radiant no matter how you choose to wear it.
First, however, before we go into the many different options for keeping curly hair curly or natural ways to straighten curly hair, let’s get to the bottom of a frequently encountered mystery..
Why did my curly hair turn straight?
Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself from when you were younger and thought, “Wow, my hair looks different!”?
Can you imagine yourself looking at a photo from way back when you wore your hair naturally — with your natural-born curls or ringlets?
It might be a mystery to you now, especially if your hair goes from straight on a good day to frizzy on a bad one. How did this happen? How did I lose my curls?
Well, as you might expect, there are all kinds of different reasons why you might have lost your natural curl pattern. But to best appreciate this, it would be best to learn about how your curly locks first came to be.
Let’s take a closer look at curly hair. Like, microscopically close!
Your hair’s curl is determined by two main parts of the hair strand: the follicle and the hair shaft.
The follicle is the “live” part of your hair. It’s the little bulb of cells under your scalp from which a strand of hair grows. It plays a crucial role in your hair texture because the shape of the follicle determines how straight or curly a strand of hair will be.
Curly hair springs up out of more flat oval follicles, while straight hair comes from rounded follicles.
The angle of the follicle under your scalp can also determine the curliness of your hair. Straight hair usually grows vertically from the follicle, while curly hair comes out of follicles that are underneath the scalp at an angle.
Usually, when it comes to the follicle-related factors of curls, there’s not much we can change there. You’ll find more variables that you can change on the shaft.
Here’s a bit of the science behind it!
The shaft is the long part of the hair that we can touch. It’s made of the same substance that our nails are made of, which is called keratin.
The most important part to note here is that keratin is held together by disulfide bonds. These bonds cause our hair to be shaped in different ways.
For example, a more even distribution of these bonds results in straight hair, while natural curls come from a dense group of bonds found on one side of the hair and not the other, causing curls and coils.
This is important to know because many of the chemicals used in straightening hair play around with these bonds to change how your hair might look.
Chemical changes are just one reason curly hair might turn straight, though.
Other causes as to why your hair might have turned straight include:
- Hormonal change. Surges in your hormones during significant life milestones like puberty or pregnancy can cause the shape of your follicles to shift and change, causing your hair texture to change with it.
- Heat or chemical damage. Both heat and chemicals like sulfates, found in a lot of harsh shampoos, can actually cause damage to curly hair, causing you to lose your curl pattern, especially when exposed to repeated prolonged damage.
- Hair length. Surprisingly, even how long your hair is can contribute to the changes. If your hair gets too long, it can be too heavy for your curls to stay in shape. Think of stretching an old telephone cord! It’s just like that for your hair.
Can curly hair turn straight permanently?
No, you can’t just force curly hair to be permanently straight. Your hair will always grow curly unless some hormonal or genetic changes stop it from doing so.
To go into more detail, you cannot alter how your follicle is shaped and angled. Therefore, you have no control over your hair’s texture in the long term.
Some chemical treatments may have a permanent effect, like rebonding and straightening, but these are only permanent on the hair shafts treated with the chemicals used.
Your roots will still grow curly even when the rest of your hair has been chemically treated to appear straight permanently.
So no, there is no true permanent way to turn your hair from curly to straight.
Can you train curly hair to be straight?
Yes, you can! If straight is more your style, then there’s a way to “train” your hair to stay straight.
Remember the disulfide bonds that we talked about earlier? So, one way to straighten hair is to break some of these bonds to change your hair’s texture and shape.
Sounds complicated? It isn’t, really.
All you need is some heat from a trusty hot tool like a hot comb or straightener. The heat from your tool will break those bonds down and eventually “train” your hair to stay straight.
It’s a lot safer than using chemical straighteners because a bit of water should help reverse the effects of heat training.
Heat training is as simple as using your tools to straighten your hair once a week. But experts do recommend 3 things to include in your regimen to maintain healthy, straight hair:
- Use a heat protectant before going in with your hot tools
- Clean and deep condition your hair regularly prior to heat training
- Avoid using high heat when using your tools
- Use a protective silk or satin hair wrap to lay your hair flat when you sleep at night.
How to make curly hair straight naturally?
If you don’t want to treat your hair with heat constantly, there are other ways you can try to straighten it out naturally.
But remember, these are just styling tips. Your curls may want to “fight back” or return as time passes.
Brush it out!
One of the simplest methods to tame your curls is to brush your hair while it’s still damp. Applying a leave-in conditioner the minute you step out of the shower is highly recommended to avoid the dreaded frizz.
It’s all a process of brushing and air drying.
Brush your hair out until it’s nice and straight, then pause. Give yourself a break from the brushing and let your hair air dry for a few minutes. It’s best to have a 5 to 10-minute pause from brushing in between rounds before repeating the process until your hair is fully dry.
Then, do a second pass of leave-in conditioner is in order before brushing it through one more time.
Use big rollers
This might seem a little counterintuitive, but you’ve got to use the B-I-G rollers to get this trick to work. Think of the ones that are as big as a beer can. Those are the ones you want.
Section your hair out evenly and secure each section tightly to the roller. Then, all you have to do is sleep on it and brush them out in the morning.
The big curves will actually smooth your curls out and give volume instead of curls the way smaller sizes of rollers would.
How to keep curly hair from going straight
Are you on the other side of the fence and want to preserve your curls?
Well, here are a few tips to avoid the frustration of seeing those curly tresses flatten out into straight locks.
- Avoid shampooing too much! Curly hair loves the natural oils in your hair, and shampooing too often can strip them away.
- Use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to untangle wet hair.
- Stop using heat tools every day!
- Protect your hair with silk or satin when you sleep.
Can stress make curly hair straight?
Yes! Stress can cause changes in hormones or even the nutrition of your hair which can affect your curl pattern.
Why does my curly hair go straight when I sleep?
This can be due to your hair’s prolonged contact with cotton or other absorbent fabrics. It’s best to sleep on silk or satin, which are gentler on your hair and don’t absorb away the precious moisture your curls need.
So, whether you prefer curly or straight hair, there are lots of easy, even DIY ways to style your curly hair the way you want it to.
But always remember that healthy hair is always the most beautiful. So, whatever style you might choose, put your hair’s health first, and you’ll always have the perfect crowning glory.