Chemically Straightened Hair - Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Chemically straightened hair has exploded in popularity over the past few years. The chemical process is a great way to have sleek, straight hair without the hassle of using a hot iron.

Because of the trend, everyone seems to want their hair as straight as a board. Its both a good thing and a not so good thing, especially if your hair gets damaged in the process.

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Using heat on your hair everyday can damage it beyond repair, especially with long term or frequent use. Using excessive amounts of heat degrades hair’s natural tensile strength, dries it out, and takes up precious time. That’s one reason that chemical straightening products are so desirable, especially with women who have naturally wavy or curly hair.

Probably the most effective chemical hair straightening process is Thermal Reconditioning, (also called rebonding or relaxing) which can be a great long-term solution that will eliminate the time that’s required when you use more conventional measures.

Advantages of Chemically Straightened Hair

The products used for chemically straightened hair have drastically improved over time. They notably cut down the amount of time you spend on styling your hair and leave hair smooth and slinky if the process is done right and if your hair can support the strain of the chemicals. Another advantage of straight hair is that it can support hundreds of haircuts and hairstyles.

Disadvantages of Chemically Straightened Hair

There are still risks associated with using harsh products however. That’s why its so important to learn as much about the process as possible before you make a mistake or create a hair disaster!

Some of the problems associated with chemically straightened hair can happen a few months after the procedure’s been done. Having an itchy scalp and hair loss are two symptoms you may have to deal with.

If you get your hair professionally straightened, you may also be required to buy the products that the salon recommends that you use after the process. Salon’s like Schwarzkopf, won’t guarantee the service unless you use Schwarzkopf products for example. These can be costly when you add on the high price of getting your hair straightened. You may also have to deal with damaged hair. Not all salons have stylists that are highly qualified to use the products.

The other problem with using chemicals is that once you've had your hair straightened, it's permanent. You’ll need to get root touch-ups from time to time (about once or twice a year) as your hair grows out, so be prepared to pay for that too. All in all it’s an expensive process that may damage your hair. Still, if you’re determined to have chemical hair straightening, you should know how the process works.

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Chemically Straightened Hair - The Process

Permanent hair straightening products are harsh chemicals. Most professional stylists have used them and know how to use them. You can also buy hair relaxing kits for home use, but the process can be tricky. Hair relaxing formulas use chemicals that are much stronger than the chemicals in hair color or even perms. Straightening your hair at home is risky. You take your hair life into your hands when you use them. If you've used straighteners in the past, you must determine if it will harm your hair. You cannot mix some types of straighteners/relaxers! See the information on this page to help you.

Determining Hair Condition

The first thing a professional should do, is to determine your hair health by doing a strand test. Thin hair will require a shorter processing time while coarse hair may require a longer processing time or require harsher chemicals. Your stylist will need to determine your hair texture before straightening your hair.

If your hair has been chemically damaged and shows signs of being fragile, the professional may refuse service for you. That’s why it’s so important to keep your hair healthy in the first place! If your hair is too damaged for the process, its much better to wait until your hair is healthy enough to handle the chemicals.

If your stylist decides to go ahead and straighten your damaged hair, it can become dry, dull, or brittle and more prone to hair breakage. Damaged hair will definitely look worse after being chemically straightened and be susceptible to looking frizzy and dull.

Therefore, if your hair is damaged and you're determined to have it chemically straightened, take a month or two to prepare your hair using intense deep conditioning products. You'll need to use hair reconstructors and/or protein treatments with moisture to help strengthen your damaged hair.

Chemical Hair Straightening Application

Chemically straightened hair products are strong chemicals are applied directly to your hair. There are generally two solutions. The first solution is used to break down keratin protein bonds and the other solution is used to reset the bonds after the hair has been straightened.

The first solution is applied to dry hair. Then, it’s carefully combed through your hair so your hair doesn’t stretch or lose its elasticity. Your hair will be extremely fragile during this time and should be handled gently.

Timing depends on the condition of your hair and the amount of curl in it. Curlier hair will take longer to process than straight hair or wavy hair. On an average, the first solution is generally left on for about 5 to 8 minutes, depending on your hair type and the type of chemical hair straightening products that are used.

Once the stylist determines that the keratin bonds are free from your hair pattern, the first solution is removed and the second solution is applied to reset the bonds in the new, straight pattern.

Generally, you do not wash your hair for up to three days, so that the bonds have more time to set properly. Washing before the given time, could break bonds and revert your hair pattern.

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Chemically Straightened Hair Maintenance

After your hair has been chemically straightened, it's important to take good care of it and follow your salon’s instructions. Your hair will be fragile and prone to excess breakage, especially during the first few weeks. A protein rich moisturizing shampoo will help maintain hair elasticity, strength, and shine. Replace moisture by conditioning after each shampoo and use weekly conditioning hair treatments. Use a quality spray on detangler or leave in conditioner for detangling if necessary.

Depending on your own hair growth, touch up applications should be done around twice a year. You must avoid other chemical hair treatments, like bleaching or using permanent hair colors. If you want to color your hair, use a semi/demi permanent color instead. Two opaque demi permanent colors to use are Sebastian Cellophanes and Redkin Shades EQ. These act more like a permanent color if you use them more than once. Demi/semi permanent colors are much gentler on your hair and may actually help to improve the appearance of your hair.

If you are determined to straighten your own hair at home, you may want to consider using a natural keratin smoothing treatment. These are better for your hair than using a relaxer because of the keratin/protein base. However, check brands of the products you buy. Some brands are not worthy of your hair earned money and could potentially damage your hair and scalp!

Although chemically straightened hair can dramatically reduce your styling time, there's still a lot of effort required to maintain your hair and minimize damage. Although straightened hair is still trendy, the new trends of today are now leaning towards a more natural texture in hair.

Related Pages on This Site

Taking Care of Chemically Treated Hair – Before and After

Tips for Coloring Your Hair - Advantages and Disadvantages

Bad Hair Products Ingredients You’ll Want to Avoid

Best Hair Color Shades to Compliment Your Hair

Your Haircut and Your Face Shape

Straight Hair Tips for Sleek Straight Styles

Get Rid of Frizzy Hair – Steps to De-poof Your Hair

Scary Hairstyles from the Past

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