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Best Hair Straightening Notes

Introduction

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Tom Carson All rights reserved

Many billions of dollars are spent every year by hair consumers wishing to alter the texture (straight, wavy, curly, kinky or a combo) of their tresses. It's a well known fact that people with straight hair often want to add waves and curls and vice versa.

Although some hair consumers have embraced the "love your natural texture" movement which many curly haired folks promote, not everyone is happy to go with their own hair flow.

The hair and beauty industry has developed a wide range of options to straighten hair over the years.

Whenever you alter the texture of your hair, there is a price to be paid. Is there a best hair straightening method which applies across the board? Not really. Since no two hair consumers with naturally wavy or curly tresses is the same, every hair straightening treatment will have different results.

When it comes to straightening natural waves and curls there are a wide range of methods. Hair straighteners designed to remove waves and curls are available with the following methods:

  1. Chemical Hair Straightening
  2. Chemical Hair Relaxing
  3. Temporary Hair Product Straightening
  4. Mechanical Straightening - Hot Irons, Flat Irons
  5. Mechanical Straightening - Blow dryers, hot rollers, round brushes
  6. Hair Straightening through hair cutting and styling

Chemical Hair Straightening

Image From MMI Media

Tom Carson All rights reserved

This requires the application of chemicals to break the existing hair bonds and reform them from wavy/curly to straight. Chemical hair straightening has been around for many years and has pros and cons. Japanese hair straightening is one method of chemically straightening hair. Hair straightening is often referred to as thermal reconditioning.

Chemical straightening involves altering naturally kinky, curly or wavy hair into straight strands through the use of specific chemicals designed to effectively break the chemical bonds of the hair, destroying the traditional curl or wave patterns.

Chemical straighteners are considered permanent. Over time, as hair re-growth occurs from the roots, the effects of the chemical treatment will be lost.

Dangers of Chemical Hair Straighteners

Chemical straightening can cause hair damage although options exist to minimize the damage.

According to the US Food & Drug Administration's Office (FDA) of Cosmetics & Colors, chemically induced hair straighteners and relaxers are among the top consumer complaint areas. The official complaints against hair straightening products range from serious hair breakage and hair damage to serious scalp burns that may require an emergency room visit.

Side effects of a bad chemical hair straightening treatment can include total or spot hair loss, hair breakage where hair breaks at the scalp line, bald spots scalp rashes, irritation and potential scarring of the scalp. In rare cases, if burns occur on the skin, these can leave scars as well. Also, hair may stop growing temporarily or permanently as a result of the chemical treatments.

Chemical Hair Relaxing

Image From MMI Media

Tom Carson All rights reserved

Although these products also require the application of chemicals to alter the hair's texture, the treatments are often more gentle and will soften curls and waves but not necessarily remove them completely. Chemical relaxers often are available for a range of natural textures.

Relaxers will soften or relax natural curls or waves but may not make hair completely straight. For some people relaxers will give a completely straightened look but for the majority of super curly or wavy tresses people, the results will be more relaxed than straightened. Relaxers soften hair to the point where it can be restructured into a straighter form.

Chemical relaxers are considered semi-permanent. A combination of time and root re-growth will soften the effects of the relaxers until the hair returns to its natural texture.

Similar to chemical hair straightening treatments, chemical relaxers alter natural texture through the use of specific chemicals designed to effectively reform the natural texture of the hair.

As you can imagine, any time you apply a chemical strong enough to alter your genetic hair pattern, it can have other unexpected side effects.

While thermal reconditioning and chemical straightening procedures should never be done at home, some manufacturers have created relaxing kits that can be done at home with a high level of safety if the instructions are closely followed. (PhytoSpecific Relaxer #2)

Phyto is one company that specializes in the creation of home relaxing kits. They manufacture kits in two different strengths to deal with different types of hair. The Phyto folks have spent a great deal of time and research into creating relaxing formulas that are safe for consumers to use at home, if they follow the instructions. The Phyto relaxers are effective for the majority of people that try the treatment.

Dangers of Chemical Hair Relaxers

Side effects of a bad chemical hair relaxing treatment can include total or spot hair loss, hair breakage where hair breaks at the scalp line, bald spots scalp rashes, irritation and potential scarring of the scalp. In rare cases, if burns occur on the skin, these can leave scars as well. Also, hair may stop growing temporarily or permanently as a result of the chemical treatments.

The FDA acknowledges that many of the complaints that are received about hair straighteners or relaxers are due to the incorrect use of the product by the consumer or a stylist rather than a problem with the actual product used.

Although some products manufactured in the past (Rio Naturalizer & Rio Naturalizer System with Color) were discovered to be the cause of straightening problems, the majority of products available today are considered to be safe for use, when instructions are followed closely.

Temporary Hair Product Straightening

Depending on the intensity of the natural curl and/or wave pattern, temporary straightening can be easily performed with the use of temporary hair straightening creams, gels and similar formulas. Combining a hair straightening styling product with an anti-frizz product will also provide assistance with controlling curls, waves and frizz, all at the same time.

The downside to utilizing straightening products is the fact that they also often require the use of a round or flat brush and a blow dryer, to guarantee maximum straightness.

Other drawbacks to temporary straightening include no protection against sudden weather changes such as high humidity and rain which can destroy the most carefully straightened hair.

Mechanical Straighteners - Hot Irons, Flat Irons

Depending on the straightening expert you talk to, there are a vast number of hot tools designed to "straighten" hair. Known in the consumer hair world as hot irons or straightening irons, they cover a huge range of pricing from inexpensive to very expensive and have a wide range of features.

Mechanical straighteners are constantly being enhanced since there is always so much competition from the various manufacturers to corner the hot straightening iron market. What most hair consumers don't know is that the majority of irons are manufactured by a handful of companies, usually in the Far East or South America.

Just as the big auto makers often have their cars made by the same plants and depend on marketing and advertising to capture consumer attention, the same is true with hot hair tools, including hot irons.

Big name hot iron labels which are competitive are often made side by side in the same overseas manufacturing plants. The only difference are some minor design features, colors and the price tag to make sure consumers are not any wiser about the industry.

Contrary to what hot iron manufacturers might have you believe, the use of hot irons, especially on a frequent basis (more than once a week), will result in long term hair damage. Any time you apply heat to your hair, there is a danger of both short term and long term damage.

Why? Regardless of the latest technologies embedded in the iron's plates, the recurring application of heat to the hair will eventually cause damage. The higher the heat setting on the straightening irons, the more frequent the use, the higher risk of damage.

The risk of damage increases on tresses that have been chemically colored, straightened, relaxed or treated in any manner.

Mechanical Straighteners - Blow Dryers, Hot Rollers, Round Brushes

When used in combination with brushes and a range of hot tools such as hot blow dryers, straightening irons and even hot rollers, the texture of wavy or curly hair can be temporarily straightening.

Hair Straightening Through Hair Cutting & Hair Styling

One popular method to tame waves is to wear tresses long and heavy. This helps to keeps waves under control. Combining a long hairstyle designed to flatten waves with temporary straightening products is often a great options that eliminates the need for any chemical treatments.

Men have the option to completely removing curls and waves by wearing their hair cut very short or by completely shaving their heads. This option has become more popular for men over the past few years. Justin Timberlake who is famous for his natural curls is known to wear his hair very short to contain his ringlets

Best Hair Straightening Methods

When used in combination with brushes and a range of hot tools such as hot blow dryers, straightening irons and even hot rollers, the texture of wavy or curly hair can be temporarily straightening.

Summary

Whether you decide to have your hair thermally reconditioned, chemically straightened or relaxed it is important to do your initial research into the type of treatment you desire and then either visit a certified hair care professional or carefully follow all product instructions.

Social Media Network Information

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- Revised Publication Date: 03/09/10

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