Hair Straightening: Don’t Fry Your Hair

Model with before and after back views straightened hair

Everything You Need to Know About Hair Straightening and Hair Relaxers

The best solution for ultra-curly, coarse hair types may be hair straightening or hair relaxers. Hair relaxers are a very diluted form of depilatory, meaning that they soften hair to the point where it can be restructured into a straighter form. The result is that curly, coarse and kinky hair looks smoother, shinier, and is more manageable.

A relaxer treatment will need periodic reapplication (about every 6 weeks) to maintain a consistent appearance. As the hair grows, the part nearest the scalp will resort to its original shape. Just like you need to touch up the roots when the hair is colored, you need to touch up the roots when you use relaxers as well.

All relaxers are alkaline to a certain degree, regardless of the type you use. For this reason, it is smart to neutralize or even slightly acidify the hair after treatment. Depending on the type of hair relaxer, these treatments will usually be done in a hair salon with a special shampoo or neutralizer immediately after the treatment. In addition to neutralizing the hair, the use of hair conditioner after a relaxer treatment is very important because the natural oils are stripped away during the relaxing process and need to be replaced. Gentle shampoo and moisturizing conditioner should be used on relaxed hair and care should be taken in grooming and styling the hair.

If you are a regular reader of mine, I think you already know my opinion on this one, but I will say it again. Leave hair relaxing to the professionals! Don’t try this at home. The chemicals in hair relaxers and hair straighteners are quite unpredictable. Even long time professionals walk very carefully before these treatments are attempted.

Applying Hair Straightening Chemicals to Client In Hair Salon

Hair straightening treatments will weaken the hair. This is the result of the breaking the bonds, which is necessary to relax the curls. Great care must be taken in the first application and particularly in touch up applications. Overlapping too much onto previously relaxed hair can result in excessive breakage. This is another reason to leave this one to a professional and experienced hairdresser. It is well worth the money and not worth the risk of doing irreversible damage to the hair by attempting straightening with a relaxer at home.

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