Why Is My Hair Stiff When I Straighten It?

Your hair can get stiff when you straighten it without knowing your hair type, not using heat protection, without cleaning the hair, and applying high heat.

If you have curly hair, be proud of it girl! Your curly hair is like a crown which fits perfectly for a queen like you. But ironing them curls to straighten them and try out new looks can be a fun idea.

Is this fun idea harmless? It is harmless as long as you flat iron your hair the right way and don’t do it regularly no harm can be done. The issue is, that hair becomes stiff if you fail to analyze the texture and condition of your hair and implement the flat ironing procedure the wrong way.

Trust me, stiffness can take away the natural flexibility and can seriously damage the protein structure of your hair.

Your hair can become stiff after ironing for various reasons which I will explain in this article.

11 Reasons why your hair is Stiff after straightening it

Reasons why your hair is Stiff after straightening it

I have treated and provided consultation to many of my clients who got their hair stiffened after straightening their hair the wrong way. I have listed the mistakes and solutions you can go about to avoid getting stiff hair and also fix them with ease.

1. Not knowing your hair type

Think of this like going into battle without knowing your enemy – not the best idea. If you’re flat ironing without knowing your hair type, it’s like trying to win a game blindfolded. You might end up with frizzy hair instead of the smooth straight hair that you hoped for.

Solution: Identify your hair texture (fine or thick) and adjust the flat iron temperature accordingly – lower for fine hair, higher for coarse hair.

If your hair is fine, those strands are like delicate threads. They don’t need a ton of heat to get them straightened out. So, set your flat iron on the lower side – it’s like a gentle breeze rather than a hair hurricane.

Now, if your hair is more on the thick and wild side, you’ve got a different game going on. Thick hair needs a bit more firepower to get it to behave. Crank up that flat iron a bit higher – it’s like turning up the volume to make sure you’re heard in a crowded room.

If you are not sure your hair is fine or thin then this content can help out.

2. Flat ironing unclean hair

If you think of your hair as a canvas, then dirt, and product residue are like unwanted paint smudges. Flat ironing without cleaning your hair is like trying to create a masterpiece on a messy canvas. What I am saying is you should not straighten dirty hair, it’s not gonna work out the way you want.

Solution: Straighten freshly shampooed, conditioned, and dried hair to avoid pressing dirt and product residue into strands. Touch up on the second or third days but focus on clean hair for the best results.

Time to give your hair a spa day before the flat iron party! Wash and condition that mane, let it air dry or blow-dry – whatever floats your boat. You want a clean canvas, so your flat iron can work its magic without any interference.

Life happens, and sometimes you need a quick touch-up on day two or three. But here’s the trick – the majority of your flat iron action should happen on that freshly washed and conditioned day for better results and less mess. And of course, detangle your hair while you clean it.

3. Not using heat protection

Your hair is like a delicate flower, and heat styling tools are like the scorching sun. Without protection, that flower will wither faster than you can say “bad hair day.” Neglecting heat damage is like sending your hair into battle without armor – not a great plan.

Solution: Apply heat protection twice – before drying hair and again on dry hair before flat ironing. Use a heat-protective styling spray or primer through damp hair and mist each section with a heat-protection spray before flat ironing.

Time to suit up your hair in its protective armor! First, when your hair is damp and ready for action, spritz on a heat-protective styling spray or use a primer. It’s like giving your hair a superhero shield against the impending heat attack.

Then, after your hair is dry and the battlefield is set (you’re ready to flat iron), don’t forget round two. Mist each section with a heat-protection spray. This is like reinforcing your hair’s armor, making sure it stays strong and fabulous.

Think of it like this – you wouldn’t go into a snowball fight without a good coat, right? The same goes for your hair and heat. Double up on that protection, and let your hair be the superhero it was born to be!

4. Not Sectioning the Hair Correctly

Can you paint a masterpiece without outlining the details first? Nope. That’s what happens when you don’t section your hair properly before straightening. Uneven heat, frizz, and a messy canvas-like result.

Solution: Section that hair into smaller bits, like you’re breaking down a big task into smaller, manageable bits. It ensures that heat is evenly distributed, frizz is kept at bay, and you end up with a polished, put-together look.

5. Not Pulling Hair While Ironing

When you iron your shirt, but you don’t press it down, the shirt will not have that fine crisp you are expecting. That’s what happens when you flat iron without pulling your hair taut. Some sections escape the heat, leaving you with a half-done job, like a puzzle missing pieces.

Solution: Hold each section of your hair tight while flat ironing. It’s like making sure every puzzle piece fits perfectly. This way, you get that consistent, sleek look without any sections feeling left out.

6. Using an incorrect flat iron size for hair type

Think of it like trying to paint a masterpiece with a toothpick or trying to eat soup with a fork – it’s just not gonna work out. Using the wrong size flat iron is a bit like that – not the right tool for the job.

Solution: Choose a wider iron for long/thick hair and a narrower one for short/fine hair. Larger plates enable smoothing larger sections, reducing styling time.

If you’ve got this glorious mane of long or thick hair, go for the wider plates – think 1 ½ to 2 inches. It’s like having a broad brush for painting those beautiful hair strokes. You can smooth out larger sections, and your styling time gets a serious cut.

On the flip side, if your hair is on the shorter or finer side, grab a flat iron with plates around a one-half inch to one inch wide. It’s like having a precision tool for those delicate details. Working with smaller sections ensures you’re not missing any spots.

When it comes to flat irons, it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal. Find the size that matches your hair type, and it’s like having the perfect tool to create your hair masterpiece. Happy styling! 

7. Using the wrong temperature setting

The right temperature is important for your hair just like it is for your food. If you’re cooking up a storm, and the recipe says medium heat. If you crank it up too high, things might get a bit crispy. The same goes for your hair – the wrong temperature, and you might end up with some unintended ‘crispiness.’

Solution: Invest in an adjustable flat iron. Set temperatures between 250-300°F for fine/damaged hair, 300-350°F for medium hair, and 350-400°F for thick/coarse hair. Adjust based on different textures on the head.

Time to be the chef of your hair kitchen! Get yourself an adjustable flat iron – it’s like having a stovetop with various heat settings. For fine or damaged hair, think of it as low-heat cooking – set it between 250-300°F. Medium hair can handle a bit more heat, so go for 300-350°F. Now, if your hair is on the thick and coarse side, it’s like turning up the heat for a hearty meal – set it between 350-400°F.

Oh, and here’s the secret sauce – hair textures can be as diverse as a buffet. So, if one section needs a bit more heat love than the others, your adjustable flat iron has got your back.

Think of it like having the perfect recipe for every hair type – not too hot, not too cold, just right. Now go, be the master chef of your hair kitchen!

8. Ironing hair excessively

Too much of anything is bad. If you think ironing more will make the hair straighter then you may end up making it stiff instead. Ironing out all the natural oil from your hair is like stopping the hair’s natural dance moves. So, excessive hair strengthening can lead to hair stiffness.

Solution: Preserve the body of your hair by ironing the middle and ends, allowing natural movement near the scalp. Lift sections while flat ironing, and twist the ends away from the face for added bounce.

Time to let your hair dance freely! When you’re flat ironing, focus on the middle and ends – it’s like letting the hair groove where it wants to. Near the scalp, we want those natural moves, no interference.

Here’s the fancy footwork – lift each section while flat ironing, like giving your hair a little lift-off. And when you reach the ends, it’s like adding a twirl to the dance – twist them away from your face. This move brings in some bounce and movement, keeping it all lively.

Flat ironing is not about pressing the life out of your hair but more like choreographing a dance routine. Let your hair keep its natural body and enjoy the dance floor!

9. Neglecting to clean flat iron plates

If you use a makeup brush covered in yesterday’s foundation – it won’t be a pretty picture. Neglecting to clean your flat iron is a bit like dragging that residue through your hair.

Solution: Regularly clean plates with a damp cloth or iron cleaner to prevent product buildup. Replace if plates are chipped or heavily scratched.

Time for some flat iron TLC! Grab a damp cloth or iron cleaner – it’s like giving your flat iron a refreshing cleanse. Wipe away all that product buildup, and voila – a clean slate for your hair.

Here’s the spa treatment – if your plates are chipped or heavily scratched, it’s like sending your flat iron for a well-deserved makeover. Consider getting a replacement. A fresh set of plates is like a fresh start for your styling adventures.

Make cleaning your flat iron a regular part of the routine – it’s the secret to happy, gunk-free styling! 

10. Settling for a subpar flat iron

If you have a phone that can only send texts – in the world of smartphones, that’s a bit meh. Similarly, settling for a not-so-great flat iron is like downgrading your hair’s tech.

Solution: Invest in a quality flat iron made with materials like tourmaline, ceramic, or titanium. Opt for one with adjustable heat settings for better control.

Time to bring in the hair superhero! Quality matters, my friend. Look for a flat iron that’s made with tourmaline, ceramic, or titanium – these materials are like the A-listers of the hair world. They conduct heat evenly and safely, minimizing any unwanted damage.

And here’s the cool feature – go for one with adjustable heat settings. It’s like having a hair thermostat. For fine or damaged hair, keep it low and slow. Medium hair can handle a bit more warmth, and for the thick or coarse, crank it up a notch.

Investing in a top-notch flat iron is like giving your hair the VIP treatment. So, say goodbye to the sidekick and hello to your hair’s superhero!

11. Not Using Serum Afterward

Anti-frizz serum is crucial after ironing hair. After straightening your hair if you skip the serum, it will be like leaving your best friend out in the cold without a jacket. Your hair cuticles are exposed, and without that serum, it’s like missing out on the finishing touch. Result? Frizz, dullness, and a lack of that ‘wow’ shine.

Solutions: Grab a bit of anti-frizz serum or a moisturizing product. It’s like giving your hair a cozy blanket. Spread it on post-straightening for that extra shine, protection, and smoothness.

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I am giving you some simple yet effective tips that will ensure your hair does not become stiff and stays healthy after straightening.

  • Gently blow-dry hair before flat ironing to stretch and flatten the follicles.
  • Section hair into smaller, vertical sections when blow-drying and flat ironing to ensure even heat distribution and reduce frizz.
  • Pull hair down firmly while flat ironing to ensure effective straightening in one pass.
  • Apply an anti-frizz serum or moisturize your hair after flat ironing to add gloss and smoothness.
  • Consider deep conditioning treatments if stiffness does occur even after following these tips.

Final Thoughts

Achieving sleek, straight hair requires careful attention to techniques and products. By avoiding common mistakes, understanding your hair type, and following proper prepping and styling steps, you can enjoy smooth, frizz-free results with a natural, bouncy finish.

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