By Master Stylist Vicki Ogden-O’Fee
Before and after chemical straightening on a V For Hair and Beauty client.
What you need to know
Many people tame their hair into submission with hair straighteners, but if you need professional help, or your hair is too badly behaved, chemically straightening/relaxing your hair could be the answer.
Chemically straightening your hair will rid it of kinks, curls and waves, leaving it poker straight, super shiny and much more manageable. If you’re thinking of getting your hair chemically straightened, read this first!
While it may ‘relax’ your hair, it can stress it out too. Our team have spoken to technician hairdressers and expert trichologist’s to give you the lowdown on chemically straightened hair. The first time you have this service done your hair may still be left with some waves; it all depends on how curly and frizzy plus the condition of your hair before the straightening service is performed. The best way to achieve great results with this service is to have an expert regular hair stylist and get a plan of hair service treatment visits to get your hair to exactly how you desire it to be, and this may take time and numerous salon visits.
There are many different treatments and processes to chemically straighten your hair and some are harsher than others. Usually a mix of chemicals is used to break down the bonds that hold the shape of your curls and heat is passed through the hair to help oxidise the chemicals and keep hair poker straight. But the treatment isn’t suitable for all types of hair. “Extensively damaged hair should not be treated.” A consultation with your expert hairdresser should be able to determine whether your hair is suitable or not for chemical straightening. If your hair can withstand it, then results can be blissfully long lasting and life changing. The treated hair is permanently smoother and straighter as the hair grows the new hair will need to be treated – usually every three to six months.
What does it involve?
Chemical straightening treatments vary from salon to salon and can go under many different names from ‘Straight Perms’ to ‘Hair relaxing, V For Hair and Beauty Merivale have done a lot of research to bring the latest techniques and providing the best in thermal hair treatments like permanent straightening.
When straightening hair in this way it’s important to keep hair in optimum health for the best results. Some straightening treatments can be very stripping and drying, so always check what formulations your hairdresser is using.
Is it bad for your hair?
Well yes, is the straight answer. Anything that can transform spiral curls to sleek straightness has got some intense chemical processes at work, and while it may give you the hair you’ve always wanted, it’s not without risks. But in expert hands the results will be amazing. The chemicals used are almost identical to those used in a perm lotion, the only difference being how you arrange the hair before you apply the chemical – around a rod…for curly hair, or combed straight for it to act as a chemical straightener. “These range from products which contain sodium hydroxide (very strong, mainly used for afro Caribbean hair) to the ammonium thyoglycolates (also used in perming) All of these have the ability to badly damage hair if not used correctly. We at V For Hair and Beauty Merivale have a company policy of not using any straightening or keratin products that contain formaldehyde. Many people come from having their hair chemically straightened in such countries as India or China where formaldehyde straightening products are readily available and used.
Studies have shown women who have been exposed to formaldehyde either before or after conception of babies, had outcomes when examined including menstrual abnormalities, infertility, spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, congenital malformations, premature birth, and birth weight. These are pretty heavy side effects. You can be assured at V for Hair and Beauty that all our products are formaldehyde free.
Things to think about
We all know that vanity wins in the end, and that if you’re after long lasting straightness then a chemical relaxing treatment is already on your to-do list. But even the most stubborn minded beauty addicts ought to read up on the risks before taking the plunge… Trichologists say to keep these tips in mind:
- Chemical straightening can easily break too many bonds in the hair, causing it to become very damaged and easily broken.
- It is not a permanent solution. Newly grown hair will continue to be curly so you will end up with curly roots and straight ends.
- Hair which is straightened more than once has a far greater chance of breaking. Of course your expert stylist should talk you through the pros and cons of relaxing/straightening your hair and should always discuss the quality of your hair with you, so together you can decide whether you want to go ahead with the treatment.
- We always suggest it’s a good idea to get a test strand done before committing to a whole head of treatment. A piece of your hair will be taken and treated so you can see the results, and the condition that your hair will be left in.
- Commitment phoebes be aware – once you start chemically straightening your hair it’s hard to stop, unless you want a mulita-textural look to your locks….hmmm maybe not.
The process of permanently straightening your hair can leave your locks feeling dehydrated. So it’s essential to invest in a decent home aftercare routine. Chemically straightened hair needn’t look parched and distressed. By using effective products after your straightening/relaxing treatment you can avoid breakage and split ends from the beginning, as well as maintain a luscious shine and ‘just-stepped-out-of-the-salon’ look. As hair experts we always recommend the correct home care to our clients before they leave the salon and we explain the correct home aftercare regime. “Make sure you use a professional shampoo and conditioner range from your hairdressers as a lot of less expensive hair brands will leave build up in your hair because they are designed to give you an instant (but not permanent) silky feeling.”
Great hair with any service to continually look amazing takes investment and commitment from the client and hairstylist and together by doing this the results will be amazing.
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