|People with curly hair envy those with straight and smooth hair and many times, the frizziness and the tangles forces one to go after hair straightening options. Hair straightening as a cosmetic process is the reverse of hair waving. It removes hair curliness and makes wavy hair straight. |
Hair straightening as a cosmetic process is the reverse of hair waving. It removes hair curliness and makes wavy hair straight.
|Many hair straightening methods are available in the market and it is essential to know how each technique affect the hair and how the damage can be limited. |
The different hair straightening techniques are:
- Conventional hair straightening method.
- Chemical methods.
- Thermal reconditioning.
|Conventional straightening (Blow drying) |
Conventional straightening is carried out by brushing and blow drying the hair using a hand-held dryer. The disadvantage of this method is that one does not get a complete straightened hair as with the other straightening techniques.
The effect lasts till the next shampoo. Regular use of a hair dryer can make the hair dry and excessive heat over a long period can make the hair brittle and fragile with split-ends.
|Hair ironing |
Hair pressing, also called hot coming and flat ironing, is a method of temporarily straightening curly, frizzy, or unruly hair by means of a flat iron, preferably ceramic. Ceramic hair irons have gained a lot of popularity due to their ability to make hair soft, silky and straight and diffuse heat better and result in less damage.
- Flat irons should be used only on hair that has been thoroughly dried.
- For protecting the hair, apply a heat protecting cream.
- Separating the hair into sections before ironing will help to achieve better straightening.
- Take a one or two-inch section of hair and clamp the iron down without touching the scalp. Slide down the hair iron starting at the roots and ending on the tips of that section.
|Chemical methods |
The hair can also be straightened with the use of chemical hair straighteners. The procedure is also known as relaxing. Chemical hair straightening is not a difficult procedure, but it does require a thorough technical knowledge of the relaxing process. Therefore it should always be performed by a hair care professional with a track record of success with straightening.
A professional conducts a strand test first to find out how strong the relaxing chemical should be. Individual hair must also be examined to see the hair texture, elasticity and the state of health of the hair.
|In this process, the chemicals enter each hair shaft and change the structure of the inner layers of the hair, by which curly or wavy hair becomes straight. Fairly strong chemicals are applied directly to the hair. |
The following products are generally used in chemical hair relaxing procedures:
- Chemical hair relaxer formula.
- Petroleum cream.
- Shampoos designed specifically for relaxers.
- Hair relaxing conditioners.
There are three basic steps that are performed during a hair relaxing process. The steps generally include the following:
The effects of a strong relaxing procedure may last up to 6 months.
- A protective cream may be applied as protection to the scalp and previously relaxed or damaged hair. A chemical hair relaxing formula is applied to soften, loosen and relax the natural curls.
- After the hair has ‘cooked’ or been processed for the appropriate time limits, the chemicals are completely rinsed from the hair with warm water. A neutralizing formula is then applied to the hair which helps to oxidize and restore the hair's pH because a high pH, as a result of the relaxing, can cause the hair to swell and break.
- A conditioner is applied to the hair. Depending on the condition of the hair to be relaxed, the conditioner may be applied before the relaxing formula, after or sometimes it may even be applied before and after. Two types of conditions are available. These include the cream conditioners and the protein or liquid conditioners.
|Thermal hair straightening/rebonding |
Thermal reconditioning and straightening (ionic hair retexturising) is a chemical process that changes the structure of the hair, making it straight and is done in conjunction with straightening irons that seal in the hair’s moisture and shine.
This process makes the hair frizz free and improves the hair texture. Treated hair will remain straight till new hair growth appears. New growth usually needs to be straightened 3 to 6 months after the initial straightening. The thermal straightening process will take 3–7 h to complete depending on the length, thickness and curl pattern the hair.
|The treatment is performed as follows: |
- Assessment of hair type and condition.
- Washing and shampooing the hair.
- Application of protein to the hair.
- Applying the first solution to break the hair bond and leaving it for sometime.
- Rinsing the hair.
- Drying the hair.
- Reapplication of the protein solution.
- Ironing the hair with the hair iron.
- Application of a neutralizer.
- Rinsing the hair and conditioning.
- Drying the hair.
|Hair care after straightening |
Once hair has been straightened chemically, it requires special ongoing treatment to protect the hair and maintain the effects of the straightening. Special products are available in the market for the same. If special care is not given, the hair becomes brittles and dull and can very easily break. Regular deep conditioning is also advisable for hair that is chemically treated.
The tips and special hair care methods will be explained by the hair specialist after the straightening treatment.