Most of us care about the appearance of our hair. It’s an essential part of our daily routine to wash and style it. Sometimes it can be a hassle to deal with it, especially if our hair texture isn’t the easiest to work with. There are many different tools available to help with styling and taming, but they all require a lot of effort to make them work well. Before we get into detail on various styling tools and methods, you should identify your hair type:
- Straight hair: this type is hard to damage but can be difficult to curl. Straight hair also tends to be the oiliest hair type.
- Wavy hair: it’s texture and sheen is between straight and curly hair. It tends to be frizzy and can be quite difficult to style.
- Curly hair: it has an ‘S’ shape and sometimes a ‘Z’ shape. It’s typically voluminous, prone to damage and more climate dependent. Less defined curls are caused by the lack of proper care.
- Kinky hair: it features a tightly coiled curl pattern and can be fragile with a high density. It shrinks when it’s wet and has fewer cuticle layers than other hair types which makes it more prone to damage.
Of course, each hair type can vary and no hair is the same, but these are the four main categories. Knowing your hair type is important as it helps you decide how to care for your hair.
Tradition styling methods
- Flat iron – this tool changes the structure of hair using heat. It breaks down the hair and causes it to open and flatten its shape. Straightening irons use mainly ceramic material for their plates. This isn’t the best option since it’s very damaging and drying for the hair. It also cause a lot of split ends.
- Curling iron – it creates waves or curls in the hair. The barrel’s diameter can vary. Smaller barrels create spiral curls while larger barrels give shape and volume.
- Crimping iron – this works by crimping hair in sawtooth style. The effect is similar to crimps left after taking out braids. Crimping irons come in different sizes with different sized ridges on the paddles. Large ridges make larger crimps while small ridges make small crimps. This hairstyle was popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Blow dryer – the most basic tool that is used to blow dry hair. It’s usually used with brushes to style the hair.
All of these tools use heat to change the natural structure of hair. They are all damaging and can cause permanent breakage which is why it’s recommended to try alternative styling methods.
Chemical straightening – aka hair relaxing. It’s the process of breaking bonds in the hair. When a specific number of bonds are broken in wavy or curly hair, then it becomes straight. It isn’t that easy though. If too many bonds are broken, the hair will go limp. On the other hand, if not enough are broken the hair doesn’t straighten out. This is why a professional salon is crucial.
Keratin treatment – this treatment is also quite popular. This is a safe technique for long-term hair straightening. Keratin is a natural protein found in hair. It decreases with age and a poor diet. The keratin treatment adds a coat of keratin onto the hair shaft and gives it nutrients which leave the hair smooth and straight. After the keratin solution is applied a fat iron is used to seal in the product. This creates a moisture barrier that reduces frizz and adds shine. The hair grows back into its original structure gradually and the treatment can be done repeatedly without damaging the hair too much. It lasts around six months and looks best when done consistently.
Japanese hair straightening
This is a popular alternative method for straightening curly or wavy hair. It creates a shiny, smooth and sleek finish. If done incorrectly, it can weaken the hair so it’s important to find an experienced and educated stylist. You should take all aspects of this treatment into account before considering it.
Japanese hair straightening is also called thermal reconditioning. It started becoming popular in the early 2000s. It became a hit in New York CIty and all around the West Coast. It seems like the perfect procedure for those with curly hair that wish to have silky straight locks.
The whole treatment relies on a specific solution that’s applied to the hair. The solution breaks down the hair’s bonds that give it shape. This allows it to become pin-straight when the flat iron is applied. The hair is then saturated entirely with the solution. After that, it’s rinsed, dried with a blow dryer and flat ironed with a ceramic iron in small, seperate sections. Neutralizer is also applied which keeps the hair in place. The full process is time-consuming and requires a few hours at least. The treatment lasts around six months. It also isn’t reversible and you must wait for it to grow out. This should be considered for those with wavy or curly hair near their roots. If you’d like to change it, you either have to wait for it to grow out, get it cut, or get it retreated.
It’s important to have an experienced stylist consider whether your hair is a good candidate for the treatment. To avoid damage, be honest and speak up if your hair has been colour treated before.
The cost for the treatment varies depending on your location. In NYC the cost of it is about $150 but in Manhattan it’s $400 and up. The more experienced stylists are typically more expensive. It’s best to read salon reviews before choosing one. Do your research on the products the salon uses and check ingredients, especially if you have allergies or sensitive skin. Touch ups are also typically needed around 6-9 months later depending on your hair growth. This visit shouldn’t cost as much and take less time. It’s important to flatten the new growth to match the old.
After the treatment, you have to be careful with your straight hair. You can’t wash it or tie it for at least three days. It should be known that you have to be very cautious with water or applying any products onto the hair. You also shouldn’t think about getting a perm or any chemical treatments. These chemicals will only add damage. It’s possible to dye your hair after permanent hair straightening, but you should wait at least two weeks and have it done professionally. Try a protein treatment ahead of time before dying hair so it won’t be too dried out. Sometimes, just like with every hair treatment, things can go wrong. Some examples are problems with unnatural “bends” in the hair, a lot of breakage, a tight scalp, and even hair loss. This has to do with the skills of the stylist and the quality of the salon. In this case, you should definitely ask for a refund and a solution to the problem. Japanese hair straightening isn’t for everyone – it all depends on the structure of your hair.
The whole treatment has many positive aspects to it. You achieve sleek, frizz free hair that doesn’t require any care besides basic brushing. You will also save a lot of time not having to deal with wavy or curly hair, especially with blow drying. Hair that has been treated and straightened by thermal reconditioning dries quicker and requires very little work. It gives you a professional look without having to go to the salon. You are also saved from the problem of fighting frizzy hair from humidity or working out.
In conclusion, there are many alternative hair straightening methods that aren’t as damaging on the hair. They may be more pricey, but are definitely worth it in the long-run. Japanese hair straightening lasts longer and makes your hair look flawless. In order to determine if it’s right for you, see your stylist and ask if they offer this treatment. You for sure won’t regret trying it.