Alternatives to Straightening with Heat, Part I

After chopping off my hair two years ago due to heat-induced damage (blow drying and pressing), there has been no heat styling for me.   This means no pressing, blowdrying, or flat ironing.  My hair is currently 4 inches, healthy, and growing.  I’m ready to try something different, but if the application of heat is necessary, forget it.   I haven’t nurtured my hair back from the dead just to switch to another form of torture by using heat.  Don’t get me wrong, I do realize it’s possible to successfully press, flat iron, or blow dry with little to no heat damage.  I also know damage can occur combing, brushing, or even towel drying your hair, but in my opinion, it doesn’t compare to the direct damage heat can cause.  Hell, I’m also 40+, perimenopausal, and trying to keep every hair follicle I have on my head.  For this reason, I felt I needed to find alternative ways to straighten without heat.  The alternatives I’ve listed  are more time-consuming, but the end result is healthier hair, which I believe is more important. 


What you need:

  1. Rollers – Magnetic or snap-on rollers.  Size and amount of rollers needed depends on hair length and whether you want tight (small rollers) or loose (large rollers) curls.
  2. End Papers – Ensures nice crisp set, prevents frizz, and smooths ends.
  3. Setting lotion – Provides body, sheen, hold, and heat protection (if needed).  Helps hair remember set.  (ex: Lottabody Texturizing Setting Lotion, Paul Mitchell Hair Scultping Lotion )
  4. Clips -Metal duckbill clips or all purpose metal clips.
  5. Spritz with water – To redampen hair if needed.

Shampoo and condition hair.  Apply setting lotion to damp hair and comb through.  Part  hair in sections, apply end paper to ends of hair, roll you hair onto roller.   Spritz hair with water to redampen as needed.  Which way you roll your hair depends on how you’re planning on wearing it (front to back, parted in middle, side part, etc.)  Air dry.  Do not remove rollers and clips until completely dry.


What you need:

  1. Setting lotion – Provides body, sheen, hold, and heat protection.  Helps hair remember set.  (ex: LottaBody Cream Wrap, Motions At Home Foaming Lotion,  Isoplus Wrap Lotion).
  2. Clips – Metal duckbill clips or all purpose metal clips.
  3. Large rollers (2) – Optional for those with long hair.
  4. Paper wrap strips – Strips stretch around head to keep wrapped hair in place.

Shampoo and condition hair.  Apply setting lotion to damp hair, then comb through your hair.  I wear a side part and my hair is short, so I wrap in a circular motion beginning at the side with more hair.  For those with long hair, you can use two jumbo rollers to secure hair in the very top portion of your head, then wrap the rest of the hair around.  Another option is to start combing, while wrapping hair, beginning at the center part of your head (crown) in a circular motion.  Use clips to secure ends.  Apply wrap paper strips around head to secure wrapped hair in place.  Air dry.  Don’t remove paper wrap strips and clips until completely dry.

I tried to break it down in layman’s terms as best I could.  If you have any questions, just holla! 

If you know of any other alternatives to straightening hair without heat, please let me know.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by CurlsBig on September 30, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    How straight is your hair with the wrap method? Is it more stretched than straight? I did my first rollerset other than on flexi rods, as natural a couple of weeks ago. I need a nap bad after that. It took 3 hours. I did it to flat iron and it made it better because I didn’t have to keep going over it with the heat.

    I feel you on using heat. I only use it like once a year and I am still not sure why i feel the need to do it annually. I fear breaking off all my hard work with a hot tool so I don’t fool with it much. I hope I can forget it altogether by next year though.


  2. Posted by maturenatural on September 30, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    My hair is only 4 inches long, so it got pretty straight with the wrap method. If it took 3 hours for the Flexi rods, I’m sure a nap was needed (lol). I know a lot of sistas that use heat with no problem, just give your hair some TLC when you do.


  3. Posted by Nicole on September 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I currently have a short “so called” pixie cut that is doing it’s own thing. I’ve tried setting it without heat and it doesn’t quite get that “bend” in it that I like that I get from the salon when it’s set there. I haven’t tried wet setting it on rollers since it has been this short but I am thinking about it…..Any other suggestions on a cute look with this cut that I have now?


  4. Posted by maturenatural on September 20, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Nicole. Elasta QP Design Foam is good for wet styling if you don’t want to set with rollers. Your hair dries soft. Check out this pic of Malinda Williams here.


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