Worn pin straight and parted in the middle to frame the face, flat-ironed locks were spotted on many Y2K icons like pop singer Avril Lavigne and reality TV personality Paris Hilton. While textured tresses have been all the rage in the past decade, long and straight hair is now back with a vengeance. Just take a look at the 2022 fashion runways of Chanel, Balmain and Versace. For further cues, look to new-gen tastemakers such as singer Dua Lipa, model Gigi Hadid, and Jennie Kim of Blackpink – all of whom are sporting stick-straight strands.
As it might not be the easiest look to achieve with our hot and humid weather, we asked three hair experts for tips on how to tame frizz and flyaways for a smooth and straight finish.
1. Apply heat with the right products
According to Goh Ziv Tien, education manager at Shiseido Professional, heat styling is always needed “to change the natural movement of wavy and frizzy hair”.
But that’s not to say you should give your styling products a miss. Most retexturising styling products have heat-protective properties, which Goh says “will enhance the smoothing effect of your straightening iron or hairdryer”.
2. Always start by drying your hair with a hairdryer
One thing all our hair experts agree on is to start with a hairdryer. Menuka Ghosh Rai, education manager at Wella for South East Asia and Korea, recommends investing in a professional hairdryer with different heat settings – between 1,500-1,800 watts – to minimise mechanical damage while drying.
Menuka adds that “different hair textures will require the heat to be adjusted to suit its texture and condition”. She advises using high heat for thick and coarse hair, or to remove excess moisture when hair is wet, and a low heat setting if you have fine hair.
Here’s what you should do:
- Start drying your hair from the scalp near the root.
- Then, use your fingers to comb through the strands, working in a downward manner to straighten the hair.
- When hair is about 70-80 per cent dry, use a roller brush together with the hairdryer and nozzle. According to Edward Chong, salon director at Evolve Salon, a rounded brush works better than a paddle brush as it will “grip the hair better”, making it easier to achieve that smooth finish.
- Finish by using the cold air setting to “lock in” the style, says Ziv Tien.
3. For that uber-sleek look, finish with a flat iron
To get locks silky and sleek, finish the style with a flat iron. Edward emphasises that you should never use a flat iron on wet – or even slightly damp – tresses as it can fry the hair.
For flat iron newbies, here’s what you can do:
- To prevent over-ironing the hair, Ziv Tien advises working on a two-inch section at each time, and only running the flat iron over it twice. Menuka also adds that you should never pause the flat iron too long in one spot as it can damage your hair.
- Always ensure that the temperature is regulated to suit your hair texture and condition, says Menuka. For chemically treated, fine or weak hair, set the temperature to 160 deg C; healthy hair can go up to 180 deg C.
4. Prevent the crown from looking too flat
Unlike the super straight and often flat finish of the noughties, today’s sleek look features a touch of volume. Edward recommends lifting the crown area with a hairdryer and rounded brush to add body.
Ziv Tien adds that blow-drying the hair against your natural parting can create a volumising effect. You could even ask your stylist for shorter layers on the surface of the hair.
DIY your ‘do
From the right shampoo and conditioner to hair texturising and finishing products, these are the tools you’ll need: