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first things first,make sure you have a good pair of straighteners, i use ghd and i think that really they are the best. for very long hair you can opt for the wider paddle straighteners but the thinner straighteners will give you more flexibility and it works on long and short hair styles. avoid those sold in supermarkets if you have particularly curly or thick hair- you get what you pay for. ghd's will last longer and will be less damaging as they have better heating surfaces and more temperature control options.

youll also need a protective spray for your hair. these smooth and soften while you straighten while protecting your hair from thermal damage. this isn't mandatory but it will help.

things you'll need:
* wide-toothed comb *
* hair dryer (preferably with a nozzle/difusser) *
* hair serum *
* round, paddle, or vent brush *
* ceramic hair straightener *
* heat protection spray *
* shampoo and conditioner *
* hairspray (optional) *

anyway, heres what to do...

wash your hair and condition it as you normally would. straightening hair can dry hair so use a deep conditioner or leave your regular condition on for a few more minutes than usual.

then, using a microfiber towel or your regular towel try to get as much moisture out of your hair as possible. spray on an instant spray leave-in conditioner. then use a wide tooth comb to part and comb your hair. if you normally don't have a parting do the best you can.

dry your hair using a hair dryer and use a paddle or vent brush to get your hair as straight as you can while blow drying it. brush dry hair to eliminate as many knots as possible.

next, put the top half of your hair up into a bun. divide the bottom half of your hair into small, thin sections. for best results use sections that are 1-2 inches wide and only about 1/2 inch thick. spray the hair protective spray over the section of hair and run a comb through it to remove all knots. hair without tangles will straighten better. the heat protective spray and the leave-in conditioner will usually help with tangles also.

hold a section of hair with one hand and use the other to clamp the straighteners as close to your roots as possible. hold the hair firmly in the straightener.

pull the straighteners over the small section of hair in one fluid movement. if it isn't completely straight, that's ok just pull it through again.

don't move jerkily while pulling the flat iron through your hair. it will leave horizontal lines indented in your hair and you will need to go over the hair several more times to remove them. and don't be alarmed if you see steam rising from the iron or a sizzling noise. the plates are very hot and there may be some moisture left from the wash in addition to the sprays. this is normal.

continue to move around your head straightening small sections all the way around as you go. then take down the rest of your hair, tie the bottom half, and straighten that portion.

examine your work in a mirror to make sure you didn't miss any sections. don't forget to check the back. now is the time to go over any missed spots or any place that is particularly frizzy.

play with your hair to style it. you may need to straighten pulling the section in another direction to get it out of your face or to help it style a certain way. continue to style your hair but avoid spraying water or adding mousse. the water content will cause your hair to curl back up or frizz almost immediately.

to finish, add a small amount of silicone based hair shine solution. i use a mark hill serum but tigi is also very good. add only a few drops and rub between your hands and then smooth over hair. adding too much is very easy and your hair will look greasy.

my top tips...

when blow-drying your hair, make sure the hairdryer is pointing down, so that all the hair follicles point down, which shines your hair. also, before blow-drying, consider applying a heat protection spray.

if your hair is fragile, use a low setting on the straightener (not all have this option). if it's thick and unruly, make the heat almost the hottest it can be. when in doubt, keep it on a lower setting; it will be less damaging.

another type of straightener that can help straighten without damaging is an ionic or wet to dry straightener. instead of using two heated plates, it acts as a blow-dryer causing less damage and less frizz.

also, if your blow dryer has a cool setting, turn that setting on after drying it fully. it makes the hair appear shinier, just like rinsing your hair with cool water will.

do NOT straighten your hair when your hair is wet or damp. It will cause it to frizz and will feel sticky underneath.

don't use a straightener more than two or four times a week. constant straightening will lead to damaged hair, no matter how many sprays you use. consider wearing your hair naturally or putting it up as alternate hair styles.

don't brush your hair when it's wet, because it stretches and breaks the hair. always use a wide-toothed comb. if you're in a rush and need to dry your hair, don't take the easy way out and straighten your hair when it's wet. you are boiling your hair! major damage. always dry hair completely prior to straightening. to limit damage to your hair you can wash and let dry naturally before straightening. still use the leave-in conditioner before flat ironing to help manage the hair and tangles.

if you want your hair to be extra soft and shiny, section your hair when blow drying. don't leave the straightener on a specific piece of your hair for too long. if the straightener is very hot, you may end up frying your hair off, and it will take a long time to grow back.
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