In order to achieve a smooth glossy look, preparation is key, and it begins in the shower. Do not buy into the hype surrounding overpriced shampoo and conditioning systems. Try Pantene Smooth & Sleek; it is rich and creamy, yet leaves hair feeling lightweight and manageable. Always leave your conditioner on in the shower for at least five minutes before rinsing out. Additionally, use a leave-in conditioner religiously. I recommend Infusim 23 Leave-In Treatment, or Neutrogena Silk Touch Leave-In Cream. I find leave-in treatments most effective when applied to wet hair prior to towel drying.
Always leave hair to dry in a towel for 20-30 minutes prior to using your blow dryer. If you attempt to dry sopping wet hair, it becomes unmanageable and frizzy. After towel-drying hair, apply a liberal amount (4-5 pumps!) of a straightening balm. Having tried dozens of straightening balms, Chi Straight Guard Smoothing Styling Cream is undeniably the most effective for frizz and curls. Though it may feel sticky once applied, as you brush and dry your hair, it seems to disappear. Despite what other tutorials may tell you, the actual drying of the hair is NOT the key in achieving a straight, blown-out look. Buy a large round brush that is capable of scooping up large amount of your hair. I prefer plastic to bristle, as bristle brushes will not hold large amounts of hair. Round under your hair while you dry, but do NOT expect to see perfectly smooth and shiny locks quite yet. If you hair is excessively curly, I recommend using a blow-dryer with a comb attachment from Conair (Infiniti by Conair SD8 Tourmaline Ceramic Styler). Smooth the hair with the comb attachment and a large, flat paddle brush as you dry, stretching the curls as you go.
The most important step in achieving a straight look is the iron. Your hair iron is where you MUST make an investment if you expect good results. Cheap drugstore irons will not be effective, and they tend to snag and break hair while you use them. Additionally, “wet to straight” irons are terrible. Another common mistake is to purchase tiny irons (.5 in) to save money. Unless you have several hours on hand, do not bother. My favorite hair iron of all time is the Babyliss Pro Porcelain Ceramic 2.5 inch paddle Flat Iron. Do not be afraid to use the highest heat setting. You can find these in many beauty supply stores or on Amazon.com for around sixty dollars. My favorite method to straighten any type of hair is to separate the bottom layer from the top layer by making a half updo. Simply coil the hair from the top of your head into a bun, secure with a clip or rubber band, leaving the rest of your hair below. Ironing the bottom and top layers of your hair is absolutely key. Finally, grab 1-2 inch sections of hair with your brush, and from the VERY top, begin to smooth with the iron. Next, remove the bun, and begin to iron the top layer of your hair. The Babyliss Pro iron has rounded edges that allow you to round under your hair as you iron. Simply curve the iron in the direction that you want to round your hair under. This is a great method to achieve perfectly salon-style bangs, or to frame your face with shorter pieces.
To finish hair, a shine spray can be used to give a high-gloss look. Shine spray is where you should save your money, as they all work the same. Citre Shine Mist, Anti-Frizz Spray Laminator is highly effective, and it smells great! Do not spray shine sprays directly onto hair; spray the product into the palms of your hands, rub hands together, and then smooth over hair. Otherwise, your hair may turn out greasy.