How to Straighten Your Hair Safely: Safety Advice For Straightening Your Hair

HAD IT WITH YOUR HAIR?

Photographer: Perfecto Insecto: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/
Photographer: Perfecto Insecto: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

Handle With Care!

Although I have never actually straightened my hair, I have looked into it. When I was younger, my hair was very curly and bushy, and that was right at the time when girls were ironing their hair and rolling it on orange juice cans to get it straight. No amount of temporary measures like that would have helped me! In the end, I decided not to use a hair relaxer, and these days I am likely to advise anyone who wants to that it is best to embrace your lovely, curly hair and make the most of it. But if you are considering straightening your hair, here are some things you may want to know.

There are hair relaxers with and without lye. Lye is a very strong chemical that helps a hair relaxer work; however, it can also burn your skin and damage your hair. Relaxers without lye are safer, but it is still important to handle them with extreme caution. Anything strong enough to straighten your curly hair is also strong enough to hurt you!

Be Kind & Gentle!

Get a friend to help you. Don't try to do your relaxing process alone. By having someone help you, you will be sure of getting even coverage all over your head and throughout your hair.

Don't open the pores on your scalp by brushing your hair or scratching your scalp before your treatment. In fact, it is a good idea to protect your scalp with a little conditioning oil gently applied before you apply the relaxer. Olive oil is always a good choice.

Be sure you follow all package instructions. Don't leave the relaxer on your hair any longer than the recommended time. To do so can damage your hair and burn your scalp. When the time is up, rinse the relaxer out thoroughly and use a neutralizing shampoo. Be sure to purchase this shampoo when you purchase your relaxing product so that you will have it on hand for immediate use.

Use a good conditioner or a hot oil treatment immediately after relaxing your hair. Olive oil is a good hot oil treatment. Warm it by placing a few ounces in a heat proof cup and setting this cup in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes. Stroke it gently through your hair and wrap your head in a towel. Leave the oil in for 15 minutes and wash it out gently. Your hair may remain a little oily, but that's OK. Let it stay that way for a couple of days to protect, rejuvenate and strengthen your hair. Avoid blow drying your hair or using other heated hair dressing devices for several days.

Before you throw away the packaging that your straightener came in, make a note of how long you must wait before straightening your hair again. Usually, the recommended amount of time is six to eight weeks. If your hair grows very fast, consult a hairdresser to find out what products are milder and can be used more often. Straightening your hair too often can cause irreparable damage to your hair and scalp.

One Thing At A Time!

If you color your hair, be sure not to do it at the same time you straighten your hair. To do both processes at once will cause a high likelihood of damage. Additionally, you will get unpredictable results from both products by using them simultaneously or even closely in time. As a rule of thumb, wait two weeks between processes; however, it is best to consult a hairdresser regarding this. Additionally, bear in mind that if you straighten your hair, it is a good idea to use a semi-permanent or temporary color rather than a permanent color. This will cause less damage to your hair.

A Child's Hair is Always Just Right!

Make the Most Of the Hair You Have!

Don't use hair relaxer on children. It is simply too dangerous, and it sends them the wrong message about self acceptance. Help children to make the most of the beauty they have naturally. There is plenty of time for a child to decide to straighten, dye, perm, and so forth when s/he grows up.

As I said, these days I am highly likely to encourage people to accept themselves as they are and celebrate their individuality, but if you absolutely must straighten your hair, please be safe. Here are a couple of other sources of information regarding hair straightening. I hope they are helpful to you.

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Comments 14 comments

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I have very curly hair, when I want the straight look, I use a new heat wand with mineral steam, it works very, very well. In High School, college and all the way to the corporate world, I tried to get the sleek look and it would get frizzy or curl up with the East coast humidity. Nowadays, I usually leave it curly and longish, and have received compliments; on occasion I opt for the straight look.

Your tips are good, I do not straighten my hair these days with chemicals, but I do straigthen my bangs, and use no lye products and leave it on for no more than 10 minutes, and only once a year.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Yeah, funny I did look into the idea of straightening my hair quite a lot, but I never did do it. Now I am glad to have it the way it is. Of course, when we grow up, it is easier to accept ourselves as is than it was when we were teenagers! Then, no matter what you have - something else would be better! ;D


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

That's it - we accept ourselves - and then we become so lovely and self-confident and get that natural glow. And find time to do other things that make us happy.

But of course in my mispent youth I did all these horrifying hair things - probably a danger to myself, the beautician, and the environment.

My locs make me happy! It's nice to grow old gracefully!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Yes it is! Although, I am coloring mine until the roots grow out completely gray. When that happens, I will stop, get it cut short, and let it grow out gray. Right now it is an unattractive mix of brown and gray, so I am keeping it blond until it can be silver! :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

My teenager has very curly auburn hair which she despises, and would dearly like to change. She has mineral stream straighteners which we wield on special occassions, but I've told her that she can't dye her hair until she can pay to have it done professionally. I'm hoping that she might grow to appreciate being a little different from the rest in time, meanwhile I just have to resist her nagging! LOL!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Oh, for heaven's sakes! Yes! Who wouldn't love to have curly red hair!?! I wish I had it! Of course, if I had had it as a teenager, I wouldn't have wanted it! :D


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 7 years ago from Massachusetts

I can't imagine anyone wanting straighten their hair. :) I have been "blessed" with straight hair (aka "stringy hair" when it is not having one of its "as good as can be expected" days). I enjoyed a brief moment of being in fashion back in the late 1960's when straight was a good thing - but that's about it. If someone wants to straighten their hair to change their look for a night, I can see that; but young women really need to learn how to make the most of whatever pretty hair they have (and most of the time, whatever hair they have is pretty in its own way). I wish they knew that.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Yes, I agree Lisa, and you may have noticed that I mention this a couple of times in the article! But you know, when we are young, we are never happy with what we have, no matter how wonderful it may be! Of course, the hair straightening industry has always marketed itself heavily toward African American women, which is a shame since their hair is so delicate and easily damaged. Using straighteners just ends up causing a need for more and more products. I agree with you, it is best to make the most of what you've got, but our advertising industry makes it hard to believe that!


stagnetto 6 years ago

very good advice. Thanks.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

My pleasure! :)


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 5 years ago

Thanks for these tips! My hair is actually straight but it gets frizzy most of the time. It was actually in great shape until I decided to color it in flaming red to ease my broken-heartedness back in college days. Now, even if my hair is free of artificial coloring, it would not go back to its really healthy condition.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

Try adding Omega 3 Fatty Acids to your food plan:

Gaining Health and Fighting Illness With Omega-3 Fatty Acids

http://hubpages.com/health/Gaining-Health-and-Figh...

Gaining Health with Omega 3 Fatty Acids

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1475338/g...

:)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Like you I have never tried to straighten my hair. I have had exactly one permanent in my life as a youngster and it was so curly that it was impossible to comb so much of it got cut off. Ha! For a few years I had my hair highlighted but gave that up and have just gone natural. Certainly easier and I know it is better overall for the health of my hair. This was interesting for those who wish to straighten their hair in a safe manner. Voted that and up and useful. Tweeting.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! My hair is so gray now that I am letting the color grow out. I don't mind it being all gray, but I didn't like it before when it was blotchy. Now, without color, it is curlier! :)

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