Hair Straightening Methods: Straighten Curly Hair, Smoothing Frizz and Using Temporary or Permanent Methods for Straighter Hair
If curly hair has you in desperate straits, you have a
few options for taking control. The most user-friendly
but least effective mode of straightening or relaxing
your hair is probably the home-use flat iron, a ceramic
heater that flattens the hair and applies heat to
temporarily smooth and straighten it. Perfect for use
when your style of the moment requires sleekness, flat
irons are quick, convenient and relatively inexpensive.
You may also want to buy hair products that maximize the
smoothness you can get from a flat iron: deep
conditioners or glosses for after care can help keep
your hair soft even after it's been through the fire.
Pay attention to hair care tips after straightening:
your hair will be more fragile than before.
Chemical Relaxers for Really Curly Hair
For serious straightening of super curly hair, many African American women turn
to chemical relaxers, often done in the safety of the beauty salon. Made with
ingredients much like permanent solutions, chemical relaxers work by breaking
down, reforming and then solidifying the protein bonds in the hair shaft. If you
have a friend with lots of experience and a kitchen timer, you can probably do
chemical relaxing at home with a product from a beauty supply store, but if
you're nervous at all about potential results, or if your hair has damage from
previous stylistic explorations, you may want to work with a professional
stylist to get the hairstyle you want.
Permanent Hair Straightening in a Professional Salon
The latest thing in hair straightening is called Japanese Thermal Hair
Straightening, a process that combines chemical relaxers with hair irons, for a
permanently straightened head of hair. Of course, since hair does grow, the
straightened part will eventually grow out and need replacing, but since most
hair grows at a rate of about a half-inch per month, many people don't even need
a touch-up until six months later—or more. Long hair will show the curl less,
since the weight at the bottom will pull it down more than the ends of short or
medium hair. Whether you want o get rid of a little wave or an all-out Afro, the
process will work: for long, curly air, it will take longer.
But thermal straightening costs a lot—often more than $500—and you can't get
your best friend to do it over the kitchen sink, because we're talking high-tech
processing here. There are at least two applications of a perm-like fluid, the
first to break the bonds of the hair, and the second to harden it. In between,
the stylist smoothes and straightens small portions of hair with a special iron
until all the hair is perfectly straight. Afterwards, there is rinsing and
conditioning. Your stylist will tell you not to get your hair wet for the next
24-48 hours, or you could lose all that nice smoothness.
The people who tout thermal straightening are right in that the hair, when done
right, is smooth, shiny and straight as can be. It is not impervious to
humidity, and no matter how good it looks, it's not "healthy". After subjecting
your hair to alkaline chemicals, heat extremes and a couple of blow-drying
episodes in a process that lasts four hours or more, it would be silly to think
that your hair won't be drier, stressed and more likely to break. Deep
conditioning is the answer, and avoidance of all things chemical. For perfect
straightness, you'll still have to blow dry it, but it will still be quite
straight if you let it air dry. If you've always wanted a head of board-straight
hair falling in a silky curtain to your shoulders, with very little upkeep,
here's how to get it.
Some popular flat iron brands include: Chi, Sedu & Solia