Straight And Smooth

Oh the irony. It seems like we just finally got a black belt in curling iron skills (we perfected the art of the sexy, beachy, loose curl, teacher), and now it's irrelevant. Okay, perhaps that's a touch of over exaggeration on our part, but from the Fendi runway to the Oscar red carpet it's clear that super straight, sexy sleek hair is current. But you might not have to break out your flatirons immediately. We've found some new and classic products and techniques to transform your hair.

As always, getting a desired hairstyle requires a two-pronged attack: product plus technique. Our office's favorite drugstore find is Herbal Essences Dangerously Straight Pin Straight Shampoo and Conditioner (both $3.68 on sale now, drugstore.com). It calms down frizz and makes wavy hair easier to straighten. Katherine personally feels that it takes a few days of consecutive use (four or so) to get the full effect. Another product to look for is Aveda's new and upcoming Smooth Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner ($20 each, Aveda, available May 1,2007). The products contain Tamanu oil (smooths and protects!) from the South Pacific island of Vanuatu and are sure to be amazing.

One of the greatest prepping products (and Allure Best of Beauty Winner) is Phyto Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm ($24, Sephora). This should be applied prior to drying and is a perfect smoothing agent for women with very curly or kinky hair. Our slightly wavy, fine hair loved Paul Labreque's Straight Style Balm for weightless control ($26, Paul Labrecque). For finishing the look, we've been converted to Kerastase Serum Oleo-Relax for its shine capabilities ($34, Fred Segal Beauty). Kristoff Ball of Chris McMillan Salon in Beverly Hills calls it, "the best candy for the hair in the world." He elaborated that it's basically foolproof product, because it doesn't fill the hair. This means that your locks won't look greasy even if you over apply-as we've done more than once.

Ball also had some styling tips. What's necessary to get straight hair from a blow dry? A very large round brush. He recommends looking for one the size of your forearm; choose a metal brush with plastic bristles for straight/wavy hair and a boar bristle brush for curly/kinky hair. Shine is created by a combination of heat and tension, so a nozzle at the end of your hairdryer is also of paramount importance. The nozzle compresses air, makes it hotter, and increases pressure-all things needed for said shine. Also, it's important to make sure the hair is 100% dry. Many times people stop before all moisture is out of the hair and then get waves or kinks. Product and technique should be enough for those with straight/wavy hair to get this look. For those with more natural curl, lightly finishing with a flatiron will ensure the sleek style.

EXPLORE: Beauty, Fendi
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