HomeFASHION & BEAUTYHair Straightening: The Complete Guide

Hair Straightening: The Complete Guide

Straightening is the solution when you can no longer bear to spend so much time taking care of your hair, whether to care for it or style it or when you want a change. Here is an exhaustive review of this technique:

  1. What can we expect?
  2. Are there several types of straightening?
  3. What are the risks?
  4. Is there a straightener without chemicals?
  5. How much does it cost?
  6. Can the operation be repeated frequently?

Straightening: What Is It?

Straightening is an operation that consists of chemically modifying the structure of the hair to stiffen it. This technique removes curls and smoothes the hair in a lasting way, but when it regrows, it is in its natural state. Straightening or Brazilian straightening: what are the differences? The first difference between the two processes is that of the action time. 

Straightening is permanent, while Brazilian straightening is temporary (allow three to six months, depending on the product’s quality and the hair’s nature). The other distinction is the care aspect in Brazilian smoothing rather than straightening. Indeed, Brazilian smoothing consists of incorporating keratin into the breaches of the hair fiber to repair it and provide a protective sheathing effect. 

Why Choose To Straighten Your Hair?

We will not lie to each other; whether on TV sets or on social networks, the craze for straight hair is strong, and we are trying to impose it on us as a criterion of beauty. Some people are therefore tempted to straighten their hair to stick to this diktat.  Daily, we can especially be tired of curly or frizzy hair that tangles easily, requires a lot of maintenance and is sometimes difficult to style.

What Are The 2 Different Types Of Straightening?

The hair’s constitution is based on small fibers linked by disulphide bridges. When the hair is curled, these bridges are angled. Straightening will break some of these bonds and replace them horizontally to avoid curling. 

Thiol Straightening

It is also called gentle straightening, and it is for wavy, curly and medium-curly hair.  Prepared with thioglycolic acid, this straightener is placed on the hair’s surface, destroying 30% of the bonds between them. It, therefore, modifies the appearance of the chain of keratin molecules and gives a smoother appearance to the hair. For this new movement to persist, it must then be fixed, which is done with an oxidizing agent. 

Alkaline Straightening

It is a slightly more muscular method suitable for afros or curly hair.  Here, the hair scales are opened with an alkaline product so that the relaxer solution penetrates the heart of the hair fiber. This leads to the destruction of 90% of the bonds, and as a result, the hair has a greatly reduced volume. Here, no need for a fixer but just a specially adapted shampoo.

Straightening: What Are The Risks For The Hair?

We hear many things about straightening, particularly that it causes hair to fall out and is dangerous. What is certain is that a few precautions are necessary: ​​the hair must be in good health, neither damaged nor weakened. Soda and substances accused of being endocrine disruptors are used during straightening. If the break time of the products is too long, they can burn the skin and pass into the blood, which can contribute to triggering cancers. For this same reason, we also avoid hair straightening while pregnant. 

Does Straightening Damage The Hair?

Straightening is anything but trivial, and it affects hair health. By attacking the keratin, the relaxer destroys the organization of the hair and weakens it. The effects are immediate: dry hair, split ends, the appearance of dandruff, and sometimes even hair loss…

What Alternatives To Straightening?

The result will be less perfect and, above all, as long-lasting, but there are many alternatives to straighten your hair naturally. DIY enthusiasts can try homemade hair straightening with a mask made from corn flour. Mix three tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a cup of coconut milk, and the juice of a lemon. We mix well, apply the preparation on the hair, leave it on for at least 30 minutes, detangle it, and then shampoo. 

The effect could be more spectacular, but it is a good organic natural relaxer! The other solution for straightening without soda is combo brushing + straightening iron. Here, we work strand by strand with the brush and the hair dryer (not too close to the hair so as not to burn). We then spray a thermo-protective spray and arm ourselves with the straightening iron to finalize the work. 

When To Straighten Your Hair?

As we have seen, the hair will be sensitized by the relaxer; therefore, it must be in good health beforehand. If you have damaged hair, it is better to wait. In the same way, the scalp must be healthy before straightening: no irritation, scales or pimples that could be aggravated.

Can We Straighten After Coloring?

This is not recommended, and it is better to wait at least two weeks between the two processes (one way or the other!). Whether you have coloured or bleached hair, they need a little time to “recover” from the treatment.

How Does A Straightening Take Place?

The process is about the same regardless of the straightening. The first step is to untangle and separate the hair into equal sections. Then we proceed to the application of the relaxer. The exposure time depends on the texture: thick hair will be longer than fine. We finish with the neutralizing product or the specific shampoo, and in both cases, with a great rinse to eliminate all traces of products.

Can You Straighten Your Hair Alone At Home?

You can easily find kits in supermarkets or online to straighten your hair at home. The gesture is simple, but you must be careful when buying products, especially on the web. Indeed, some unscrupulous brands use too high concentrations of potentially toxic agents. In short, we scrutinize the list of ingredients and favor reputable brands of French origin, or at least Europe, to comply with the regulation. To properly prepare for home straightening, consider coating your scalp with oil or petroleum jelly to protect it from chemicals.

In-Salon Straightening: How Much Does It Cost?

Obviously, in the salon, the price is higher, but the duration of the effects of straightening will be too. There are strong variations from one professional to another, but at the hairdresser, the price of straightening is between 40 and 100€. Often, it is more expensive for long hair than short hair.

When Should You Wash Your Hair After Straightening?

You wait at least three or four days before washing your hair (and even getting it wet) so that the new shape of the hair stabilizes

What Shampoo To Use After Straightening?

We resolutely turn to gentle cleansing formulas without sulfites but also to repairing care shampoos or shampoos enriched with keratin to reconstitute the hair fiber.

How Long Does It Take To Keep A Straightener?

The effects of straightening do not fade, but the problem arises during regrowth. We adjust according to the regrowth speed, but a touch-up may be needed every three months.  When you are tired of straightening, and you want to go back to your natural hair and assume it, in short, be a nappy, there is only one solution: the big chop, that is, the big cut… 

How Often Do You Straighten Your Hair?

Before redoing a straightening, we keep in mind that it has made our hair fragile, and we take into account the condition of our hair. We wait at least six months; if that seems too long, we always stay within three straightenings per year. 

Read Also: How To Regain Its Natural Color? 7 Ideas


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