First, be sure to choose a straightener with plates known to be gentle on hair. Generally avoid Teflon and aluminum plates reduce hair damage from hair straighteners because they do not heat evenly, and you run the risk of burning hair on “hot spots”. Titanium, ceramic, and ceramic tourmaline are good choices. Those with tourmaline ceramic heaters are especially gentle on hair because they emit negative ions that relax hair and get the job done more quickly. These plates also seal the hair cuticle, allowing the locks to retain moisture much more effectively.
Once your hair is washed, brush it as straight as possible and allow it to dry naturally, if possible. Blow dryers, with their intense dry heat, damage hair and also add static electricity which makes the tresses harder to straighten, requiring more time with the straightener, and possibly leading to additional damage. Once hair is dry, give it one more brushing to separate the strands.
The third step is to use proper technique when straightening your hair. Be sure to separate out just small sections to work on. Attempting to work on too much hair may lead you to leave the straightener on too long, jeopardizing the hair. Start with a narrow strip perhaps just a half-inch wide, especially if your hair is thick or coarse. As you are able to work through smaller sections successfully, you can add more hair to find the optimum amount. Begin with sections near the nap or your neck, or right at the hair line. Work your way toward the top of your head. With practice, you’ll become an expert. If you have a friend with similar hair, and they’ve been using a straightener for some time, ask them if you can watch them do it, and learn by observation. Then, do it yourself while they watch, offering guidance as you go.