Let's face it. Thick, unruly and frizzy hair does not look good. But, spending a better part of the morning straightening your hair with a flat iron is time-consuming. Straightening hair permanently, especially extremely curly or wavy hair, makes it easier to style. Straightening hair reduces frizz, while enhancing the shine and gloss of hair. It is also useful in reducing the volume of very thick hair. Straightened hair remains smooth, is easy to untangle and does need to be blow dried or set frequently. Chemical hair straightening is a long procedure, but the results are well worth the time and effort.
What is Permanent Hair Straightening
The permanent method for straightening hair is called Japanese hair straightening or thermal reconditioning. This method was introduced in Japan, and later gained popularity all over the world. In this method, the internal structure of the hair is permanently altered with the use of ammonium thioglycolate. It is important to note that thermal reconditioning is different from Brazilian hair straightening. Brazilian hair straightening is a semi-permanent hair straightening process and the results lasts only for two to four months.
Before opting for thermal reconditioning, there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind. Thermal reconditioning is best done on virgin hair, i.e. hair that has not been chemically treated or colored before. Previously colored hair can also be straightened permanently, but the texture you obtain post straightening might vary slightly. With this method of hair straightening, you will have poker straight hair. However, you cannot create curls or waves by using a curling iron or hot rollers. This will limit the number of hairstyles that you can experiment with. Permanent hair straightening does not imply that your hair will remain stick straight forever. New hair growth will have the texture of your original hair and you will require root touch ups.
The Hair Straightening Process
In this process, hair is first washed with a pretreatment shampoo, which is free of sodium. After rinsing hair thoroughly with lukewarm water, it is blow dried with a blow dryer in medium setting. Hair is then divided into sections. Next, a two-part solution known as a neutralizer is applied to each section of hair. The first part of the neutralizer is applied on dry, detangled hair which enables the release of protein bonds in the hair. This solution is applied only to the hair, not to the scalp. It is left on the hair for around five to seven minutes, depending upon the intensity of curls or waves of your hair. The solution is then thoroughly rinsed off and the hair is blow dried. Once the hair has dried thoroughly, it is divided into equal sections and each section is ironed with a flat iron. This is repeated several times, until the hair becomes poker straight. Then, the second part of the neutralizer is applied and allowed to remain for around ten minutes. It is then rinsed off thoroughly and the hair is blow dried once again. Finally, hair is ironed once more to give it a sleek and straight look.
The entire process of straightening hair can take anywhere from three to seven hours, depending upon the length, thickness and texture of hair. Straightened hair should remain untouched for the next three to four days. You cannot tie your hair or tuck your hair behind your ears, as this create kinks in the hair. Shampooing and conditioning can be done only after seventy two hours.
Maintaining Straightened Hair
Post the straightening procedure, chemically straightened hair needs a lot of care and maintenance. It needs to be washed and conditioned with hair care products which are specially formulated for straightened hair. Blow drying should be avoided. Hair needs to be protected from the sun, dust and pollution, to avoid excessive damage. If a proper hair maintenance routine is not followed, it may result in hair breakage, dry and dull hair.
Since hair is straightened permanently by the use of heat and chemicals, it is bound to cause some amount of damage to the hair. If you are not pleased with your straightened hair, it would not be possible to get your natural hair texture back immediately. You would have to grow your hair to obtain your natural hair texture. Use of protein-based shampoos and conditioners, and frequent deep conditioning may help restore the health of your hair.
The most important point while considering permanent hair straightening is that, it would require regular touch ups, if you want to maintain your straight hair. This becomes an expensive and time-consuming process, and it also exposes your hair to harsh chemicals. However, if you want to be free from blow dryers and hair irons, then permanently straightening your hair is a good option.