When it comes to straightening curly hair, you have a lot of options. But not all of them are safe.
Some hair straightening options can cause permanent damage to your hair, while others involve dangerous chemicals and other substances that can be harmful to your skin or can affect your health in other ways.
Perhaps the oldest and most widely used method for straightening hair involves running a flat iron through blown dry hair. This technique actually breaks down the hair’s hydrogen bonds, flattening hair until water or water vapor penetrates the hair fiber, allowing hydrogen bonds to revert to their natural positions.
While the flat iron option is chemical free, the iron itself can be dangerous. Your skin or scalp can easily be burned if the iron simply touches it for a moment. And in some cases the escaping steam can cause serious burns.
Straight Hair – Breaking Disulfide Bonds
Some products contain chemicals that break the disulfide bonds that hold adjacent hair strand together. While this will straighten the hair, the changes it causes are nearly irreversible because they last until the hair grows out and is cut off.
The chemicals used in this process include lye and similar “hydroxide-based” relaxers, or the chemicals used in the most common permanent wave solutions, which are thiolglycolate or sulfite-based reducing agents. The danger in this option lies in its being irreversible. Once you do it, there’s no going back.
Straight Hair – A Better Way
Brazilian keratin treatments offer a better alternative for getting straight, silky hair without the risks of flat irons or dangerous chemicals. They rely on keratin, a naturally occurring protein that is already found in your hair.
A Brazilian keratin treatment is long lasting — it can keep your hair straight for up to 12 weeks — but it isn’t irreversible.