“In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm... in the real world all rests on perseverance.”
Johann Wolfgang could not have been more correct with his ideas on persistence, especially when it comes to straightening hair. The strenuous and taxing process of straightening one's hair requires gumption, enthusiasm, and most of all perseverance.
The first step on the journey to flattening your follicles is starting with a clean slate. The cleaner the hair the longer you can wear it out in public. Straight hair is like Cinderella; after midnight it returns to the mess you had before. Once the hair has been thoroughly scrubbed and dried, naturally or otherwise, plug in your instrument. Experts recommend a straightening wand that gets to at least four hundred degrees—applying more heat to your hair than the average baking temperature is encouraged.
From here begin breaking the hair up into sections. You often start with the back of your head and slowly work your way forward to minimize missing places and having random tufts of curls throughout.
The hair that you are not currently straightening should be piled on one’s scalp and clamped with a heavy duty clip. Why so many restraints? The hair is a beast who has been known to fight back. Many hair ties and clips have given their life to the cause. With a small section of hair left out of the clip, begin steamrolling the hair with your iron. By now the wand should be warmed up and if smoke starts to billow off your hair, don’t fret. It means it's working. Continue working your way through the hair, slowly pulling out strands one by one as you work your way towards the front of your head. The process is long and often arduous—listening to a podcast or music is recommended to fight off boredom.
As you continue towards the front of the head your arms will grow tired. Do not be discouraged. Count it as an upper body workout and keep it rolling. By now you're up by the danger zone; i.e. next to your ears. This is a tricky area because you will want to straighten out the roots near your ear, but the iron is large and is hotter than a skillet. Tell yourself you will be extra careful this time and just as you think you’ve made it out okay your wrists flicks, ear sizzles, and you bite your lip to keep the profanities forming on the tip of your tongue from bursting out and scaring your roommates… again. Blink away any tears that have started to form from both pain and exhaustion and press on, endeavoring to reach the next ear burn free.
There is a small section still clipped on top of your head. The desire is to quickly and half-heartedly go through these final strands just to be done. Do not fall into temptation; these are the most important pieces and will define the rest of your hair. Slowly and carefully clamp the delicate face-framing layers and ever so slowly pull down with your iron. Go over these pieces an extra twenty times just to be sure there is no remnant of curl.
Notice the centimeter of frizz that now covers your entire head. Grab some coconut or argan oil and slowly work it through the hair. If you would like to go the extra mile, grab a phone or a mirror and angle it just so you can see the back of your head. Take one last look and run the iron over any poofy pieces that are out to get you.
Take a deep breath, you made it. Unplug the iron, allow it to cool down, wrap it up, and head out the door confident and satisfied with your results. Step out into the pouring rain that the forecast definitely did not predict where, upon contact, your hair will begin to curl. Let your tears blend in with the rainwater hitting your face as you not so silently curse your resilient curls and trudge out to your car.