Hair Straightening- What, When and How?
Long, sleek, shiny, and straight. Aren’t these the perfect adjectives for your dream-hair? Some of us are lucky enough to be gifted with straight and shining tresses, but what about curly-haired beauties out there? We just have two options; either to accept our hair as it is, or to try and try and try, endlessly to fight our natural hair texture. With improved technology, this fight to straighten curly or wavy hair has become much less time-consuming. Today we have innumerable techniques and treatments to tame our unruly hair and achieve the desired results.
Mind you, this article is not meant to influence your mind, nor do I support or abhor any of the following techniques to straighten hair. What I mean to do is provide as much information as possible for my readers so that they can make a wise choice, keeping in mind their expectations, budgets and hair texture.
Also famous in the market as Brazilian hair straightening, this is by far the most widely-accepted technique. The keratin straightening includes application of a keratin (natural hair protein) and formaldehyde treatment, directly to the shaft to create the illusion of straighter hair. Though costly, it is most beneficial for wavy hair, as it de-frizzes the hair completely and softens tight curls along with giving your hair shaft a natural shine. The only drawback is the cost, which is relatively higher than other treatments. And the fact that it lasts for only about 2-3 months, make it even more expensive. But the keratin can help in making your shaft healthier and stronger if the treatment is taken-up regularly.
Japanese Hair Straightening
Japanese hair straightening is also known as Thermal Reconditioning. This technique of straightening the hair, though widely used, is by-far the unhealthiest treatment for your hair, as it includes the usage of both heat and harsh chemicals. The stylist would apply a chemical solution to your hair, which helps in breaking the natural bonds of your hair shaft which create curls; and let the solution sit on your hair for some time, depending on your hair texture. Then the hair would be washed, blow-dried and exposed to a flat-iron set at a high temperature to lock in the reconditioned state of hair bonds. Sounds too harsh? Yes, it is. So better talk to an expert before committing to it.
Chemical hair straightening, more commonly known as chemical relaxing, is the most affordable of the three permanent solutions available for straightening your hair. Relaxing generally involves a process of changing the structure of your hair by breaking the keratin bonds of your hair shaft with the use of specific chemical relaxers. The results of this treatment are not as drastic as the keratin or Japanese hair straightening methods, but do help in softening hair and make them straighter and easy to manage. But the only drawback to this treatment is that it can make your hair dry and brittle if not taken care of.
Yes, yes, I know repetitive usage of hot irons is very unhealthy for your hair. But if you use your flat-iron rods to straighten your hair occasionally and that too after using a good-quality heat-protecting spray or serum; this wonder-tool can come in really handy. No expertise required, just part your hair in various little sections and let the iron work. As simple as that. Depending on the iron, you can achieve shiny, smooth, de-tangled hair which can last up to a day or two.
(Read my list of 10 best hair straighteners in India)
Blow-drying and Brushing
Ok, this is a bit tricky way to straighten your hair, but is much less harmful for your beautiful locks. If you want the natural looking straight fair in warm weathers, go for a quick blow-dry while using a round brush to keep your hair straight. I said warm, because the hair tends to frizz a lot after blow-drying, especially in humid weather. If you can hold sections of your slightly wet hair straight, and blow-dry them using a good hair-dryer, it will hold-on to that position; resulting in naturally straighter hair.
Specialized hair styling products are flooding Indian markets these days. Products for hair straightening are no exception. These products work to give your hair the salon looking straight hair on a temporary basis, without using dangerous chemicals. No, they are not chemical-free, but are relatively safer than the chemical treatments discussed above. Applying these products can be a bit tricky and are best applied by an expert.
Natural home-remedies to straighten hair
Home remedies for natural hair? Yes, I am serious! No, I am not kidding! You can gradually but surely improve the curly texture of your hair and give way to shinier, sleeker and straighter hair with the products lying around in your own kitchen.
Give coconut milk and lemon juice a try!
Grate a piece of coconut, depending on the size of your hair, and extract the milk of it. Add some lemon juice to the wonder-milk and refrigerate the mixture for a few hours. The thin creamy layer which accumulates on the mixture is the actual product we want. Apply it to your entire hair and let it dry before washing it off.
Heat up a sufficient amount of any oil, preferably olive or almond oil, in a microwave or pan. Make sure it is warm to touch and not steaming hot, you surely don’t want to burn off your scalp. Apply this oil to your hair shaft and cover your hair with a plastic shower-cap. Wrap a hot-towel above the shower-cap and let the oil work wonders. Wash off after at least two hours.
Your hair would love it too. Just fill up any spare spray-bottle with half cup water and half cup milk and spray it onto clean hair. Wait for the hair to dry and then wash it off as normal. This treatment along with conditioning your hair will leave your hair looking straighter if done regularly.
These natural treatments may take time and energy, but if you use any of these twice a week, the hard-work will totally pay off. That too without damaging your hair with unruly chemicals! Wow!
So here you have it, my complete list of ways to straighten hair. I hope this helps you to make a wise decision; after all it is your hair, your life, and totally your choice.
Stay beautiful, and accept yourself. ☺
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