When you have naturally curly hair you basically have two options. You can accept it "as is" or you can straighten it with a few different options.
If you decide to straighten it you can do it chemically, the most common reason that people decide to have their hair straightened is to eliminate curls. Sometimes this process will be used also to soften or eliminate wavy hair. Chemical hair straightening, also known as relaxing, involves a process where the basic structure of overly curly or wavy hair is changed into a straight form.
If think you’re ready to relax those natural curls, read on.
Before you begin, please make sure your hair can handle a chemical relaxer. If your hair is damaged in anyway, then a relaxer is not for you. If you’re an avid swimmer, have recently used any other chemicals in your hair or you don’t really have the time to maintain your hair, then a relaxer is not for you.
Now that you’re ready to relax your hair:
· Start by applying a scalp-protecting base to your hairline and throughout your scalp. A petroleum jelly can often do the job, but be sure to check with your relaxing kit’s instructions first.
· Wearing gloves follow the relaxer kit’s instructions and place the relaxing cream into a plastic bowl.
· Select the area where your hair is the curliest and section it off with a wide tooth comb.
· Beginning 1 inch away from the scalp, apply the relaxer to the section of hair using the tool provided with your kit or your fingertips.
· About 3 inches from the ends, separate that same section into smaller sections and apply the relaxer to each new section.
· Continue applying the relaxer using the same technique until you have applied from center to front. Now go back and apply the relaxer to the roots of your hair.
· Next, run your fingers through your hair from root to end to distribute the relaxer cream evenly. By now you should see the relaxer working.
· Be sure to leave the relaxing cream in for no more than 10 minutes from start to finish.
· Rinse the hair with warm water for at least five minutes and gently squeeze any excess water from your hair.
· Next, add the protein pack provided with your kit to the hair, making sure you saturate hair completely. Allow the protein to set for at least 10 minutes.
· Finally, shampoo and condition hair.
Consult A Professional
Chemical hair straightening is not a difficult procedure, but it does require a thorough technical knowledge of the relaxing process. Therefore it should always be performed by a hair careprofessional with a track record of success with straightening.
It is best to have the relaxing process performed by a professional so that they can perform a strand test to determine the recommended strength of the relaxer that should be used.
The stylist will also need to evaluate current hair texture, porosity, elasticity and the presence or absence of any hair damage.
Fine, chemically lightened, or colored hair generally requires a very mild relaxing formula. Normal, medium-textured virgin hair can tolerate regular strength relaxers.
Coarse virgin hair may require a strong or super relaxing formula. The professional will be able to determine the best type of relaxing formula based on the results of a strand test and by looking at and touching the hair to be treated.
A good professional will also keep detailed records of any chemical relaxing treatments that have been performed on the hair and can use those written records to determine the best course of treatment.
Post Relaxing Treatment
Once hair has been relaxed it will require special ongoing treatment to protect the hair and maintain the effects of the straightening. If the newly relaxed hair is not treated with special care it can become brittle and stiff and "see through". Relaxed hair is more porous and tends to hold on to dulling residue. Therefore it is very important to rinse out shampoo and other hair products thoroughly.
Relaxed hair will also break more easily. Use a good detangling conditioning product and a wide pick with smooth teeth to detangle wet hair. Work from the bottom of your hair up towards the roots. Take your time and be very gentle.
Regular deep conditioning is a must on hair that is chemically relaxed. Plan on doing a deep conditioning treatment once or twice a week and more if your hair needs it. You can use a high quality deep conditioning treatment
Newly relaxed hair tends to become a lot drier. Use a moisturizing shampoo designed for chemically treated hair.
Use a good rinse out or leave-in conditioner as well. Chemically treated hair requires more careful and delicate treatment. If your hair does not respond well to the extra deep conditioning treatments you may want to do some moisture reconstructing treatments.
The only sure way to restore the appearance of chemically processed hair is through the application of good conditioning products. Chemical processing can erode the hair and damage the cuticle.
Conditioners will smooth the damaged outer surface of the hair by coating the hair and by putting back oils and proteins that chemical processing strips off.
When possible, limit the use of hot blow dryers and hot styling tools. If you must use a blow dryer, use on the coolest heat and apply a good protective leave in conditioner first.