Straightening Naturally Curly Hair and Its History

straightened naturally curly hair

The History of Straightening Naturally Curly Hair

The Pressing Comb

When I stepped behind my first chair in 1994, a pressing comb was what we used in straightening naturally curly hair. The unpredictable heat from the stove could leave the comb too hot, which could singe the hair. A good and responsible stylist would have something to test the heat of the comb on before placing it in the hair.


pressing comb for straightening naturally curly hair with steamy heat coming from hair and comb

Thermal Flat iron

The next tool for straightening naturally curly hair was the flat iron. This was often used after the pressing comb, to further smooth the hair. For years, thermal straightening, was the most consistent way to achieve the desired look of smooth hair.

a thermal iron for straightening naturally curly hair

Using a stove to heat different shapes of metal as a method of straightening naturally curly hair, is unpredictable. For many years, this method of thermal straightening was all we had to get naturally curly hair straight, without applying a relaxer. As a professional stylist who felt they needed every iron size, this took a lot space on my station.

stove and irons for straightening naturally curly hairstove and irons for straightening naturally curly hair








Versatility of Curly to Straight To Curly

In most recent years, women have a desire to have the versatility of switching from wearing their natural curl and wearing their hair straight.

Originally, the goal was to simply have straight hair. Some women did not want to deal with the natural curls on their head, but did not want to get a chemical applied to their hair to straighten it. Times have changed, as they often do. We wanted the option of going back and forth.

Here are a couple of images of myself with curly hair and straightened hair.

makeba and her grandmother geneva

makeba with straight hair









The Ceramic Iron As An Option

Next came the ceramic iron. I was so happy to get rid of all of those irons and that hot stove on my station. This straightening tool is powered by electricity, so the cords can get in the way while I work. This new technology took a number of years of adjustments in heating sources and different plates to be able to satisfy the desire of achieving and maintaining straight hair for women with very curly hair. With the adjustable temperature gauge, these ceramic irons now brought the ability to control how hot this tool should get.

ceramic iron for straightening naturally curly hair
This is an image from the web.

You notice that I said should get. There is always an issue of the best materials to use in any business. Many companies use cheaper materials to create their products. In this cheaply made product comes the increased ability to damage the hair. There are ceramic irons that emit healthy heat, unhealthy heat and different types of heat in between. As a consumer and someone who wants to have healthy hair on their head, you should spend a couple of dollars on good products and tools to take care of your hair.

Below are irons manufactured by companies that I suggest.

Head Damaged Hair

Women began to notice that if they were having their hair thermally straightened  or straightened with a ceramic iron, there were a lot of straight strands once they wet their hair. This was keeping them from being able to have that versatility because their curls were no longer bouncing back.

I found a link to give suggestions for dealing with heat damage.

heat damaged hair

heat damaged hair






Finding the Right Hair Stylist

Ladies, some hair stylist’s goal is to make money and not the health of your hair. Most irons with heat emitting from them will get your hair straight. Is your hair cooking while it is being styled. You know these stylists. They can post up in the most hood salon and in an upscale salon. These stylists use cheaper than cheap products. They use tools that you can buy. Your hair is always sizzling. And you know they are NOT taking care of your hair.

Look for a stylist that uses professional products and professional tools. Are they highly recommended? Do they have a social media presence where you can see their work? This may mean sitting in the chair of a few stylists.

Truthfully, most of the damage is done at home and not in the salon. When purchasing an iron, you will need to spend a little money on it. Any constant use of heat, will damage the healthiest head of hair. So keep the heat to a minimum and turn it down, not up first.

Treat your hair like it is the only head of hair you have….. IT IS


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