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

Updated on March 23, 2013


Photographer: Perfecto Insecto: Attribution License:
Photographer: Perfecto Insecto: Attribution License:

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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