How to Flatiron Wavy Hair, Avoid Damage and Create a Sleek Finish

Alison Alhamed | November 29, 2012 | 12:31 PM

I don't have straight hair, and I don't have curly hair--I'm sort of at this weird, fuzzy in between texture. My hair responds really well to smoothing products and a flatiron, but it also can get a lot of texture and movement with the right products and diffusing.

That said, I typically wear my hair straight--and as flat as possible. When it comes to flatironing my hair, I have a tendency to go over the same section over and over and over again to get the smooth, sleek look I SO desperately desire.

“There’s no reason to do that, it takes more time, muscle memory and compromises hair,” says Sam Villa, founding partner of the Sam Villa brand and Education Artistic Director for Redken 5th Avenue. “Let the heat, compression and tension work for YOU,” he adds.

As hairdressers, you use your straightening iron on a daily basis, but do you truly understand the principles of a flatiron and how to use it for optimal results? In this video Sam Villa demonstrates the three principles of a flatiron and how to achieve smooth, sleek, straight hair using a comb and an iron; he also shows how to use a round brush and flatiron to create a beautiful beveled finish.

• Heat: Pass is the movement of a thermal tool through a section. The slower the pass, the more heat applied, the faster the pass, the less heat.

• Compression: The closer hands are positioned to the iron plates, the more intense the compression, the farther the hands, the less compression.

• Tension: The more hair needs to be reshaped or manipulated, the more tension is needed, regardless of whether or not it is being straightened or texturized.

To achieve a sleek, smooth, silky finish with a flatiron, Villa suggests spraying horizontal sections with with a thermal protectant that will also help hold the style in place. Then, use the wide teeth of a comb to grab the section (teeth facing up), position the flatiron about one-inch from the scalp and begin to move slowly down the hair strand and compress--let the heat and tension manipulate the hair.

To flatiron hair at the scalp without creating volume at the root, apply a thermal protectant and place the fine teeth of a comb into a section at the scalp area, with the teeth facing down and toward you. Position the outside of the iron on top of the teeth of the comb and slowly comb through the section with the edge of the iron on top of the comb. The minimal amount of heat emanating from the edge of the iron smoothes hair close to the scalp area without fear of burning. Remember to move the iron slowly, it’s all about the slow pass.

To learn more, and to check outmore of Villa's videos, visit

More from Students

Load More