Since time immemorial, individuals have been altering their hair to opt for new looks. Not only do people try a myriad of hairstyles, but they also currently try curls, perms, straightening, and smoothening their hair to make it look physically different.
Here, we’re going to be talking about hair straightening – what it is, how you can straighten your hair, and perhaps most importantly, how you can take care of your hair once it has been straightened. If you’re someone who straightens their hair regularly or is at least considering it, then this is the place for you to be.
As sought after as hair styling is, hair care is an equally neglected area that most people do not pay heed to since the initial signs of hair damage can be mild and negligible. However, as you will observe, hair is made up of sensitive properties that are affected by many factors – so read on to find out whether your hair can be damaged by using a flat iron.
What Is Hair Straightening?
As you may know already, hair straightening refers to the process that individuals use to alter the way their hair looks into a neater, straighter appearance. The process of hair straightening has been around for a surprising amount of time and is usually preferred by people with either wavy or curly hair who are looking to make their hair more manageable or are simply going for a new look.
Contrary to popular belief, there are various ways in which one can straighten their hair – and not just the traditional methods of applying heat to one’s hair. Some of these methods might render your hair permanently straight, while some of them are temporary and can be undone by introducing moisture to your hair.
What Are The Methods of Hair Straightening?
1. Using A Flat Iron
The flat iron hair straightener is usually one of the most popular methods of straightening your hair. It is especially handy for those looking for a quick new look but not looking to sustain it for a long time since flat irons cannot bring about permanent hair straightening.
The science behind flat irons suggests that the high amounts of heat that your hair is subjected to can result in the disintegration, and subsequent rearrangement of the keratin bonds present inside it. Once these keratin bonds have rearranged themselves, the shape and structure of your hair are altered temporarily – simply put, it is straightened for a certain period.
2. Using A Hair Straightening Cream
This novel method of straightening the hair has quickly gained popularity, and it is easy to see why. While flat irons for hair straightening visibly look like they’re damaging your hair, hair straightening creams seem to be innocuous on the surface and, thus, assumably, safe to use without causing any extraneous damage to your hair.
Additionally, hair straightening creams can straighten your hair for an extended period – even up to five months or further. Not only this, but it is also extremely easy to use hair straightening creams.
While flat-irons require you to prep your hair to ensure minimal damage is caused, hair straightening creams can be applied once you wash your hair. All you need to do is apply the hair straightening cream to your hair and then blow dry it, effectively straightening your hair once the blow dryer air has heated the cream.
What Are The Side Effects of Hair Straightening?
1. Hair Starts to Dry Up
One of the side effects of permanent hair straightening, especially as far as flat irons are concerned, is dry hair. Dry hair is a given with hair straightening – since almost all hair straightening methods use heat, which is transferred directly to your hair strands and their subsequent composition.
All moisture in your hair is essentially sucked in by the flat iron, which can make your hair devoid of any kind of hydration. Thus, the first and most noticeable side effect of straightening your hair is your hair drying up.
2. Split Ends Begin To Occur
A constant enemy of anyone who has ever been privy to hair damage is the occurrence of split ends. Split ends can mostly occur when your hair strands are damaged to the point that they start breaking or splitting from the middle. This breaking and/or splitting can cause your hair to begin looking less than desirable, and the heat also causes it from your straightening flat iron.
3. Hair Begins to Frizz
If your hair is naturally frizzy and you want to straighten your hair in an attempt to smooth it down and get rid of some of the frizz, then there’s bad news in store for you. Not only is hair straightening responsible for drying up your hair immensely due to it soaking in all the moisture your hair has and letting it out in the form of steam, but it also has adverse effects on the quality of hair. Naturally, the drier your hair, the more frizz you can expect to see.
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4. Hair Starts to Dull
Yet some more noticeable side hair straightening side effects on a long-term basis, your hair can get extremely dull and start to look quite unsightly after constant hair straightening. This is because flat iron straighteners, as mentioned before, are responsible for drawing out the moisture and natural oils present in both your scalp and, subsequently, your hair. When this moisture is taken away, the shine of your hair dulls tremendously owing to the dryness.
5. Roots Start To Grow Back
It is essential to understand that even if you’re permanently straightening your hair, the roots of your hair will grow back in accordance with the natural texture and type that your hair has always been.
Essentially, this would mean that you would have a combination of wavy or curly hair and straight hair on your head – which can be quite an undesirable result. It also means that the quality of your hair would be vastly different from your roots to your tips – with the former being healthy and natural while the latter being dry and brittle.
6. Hair Starts to Fall Out
Not only does hair straightening with a flat iron or other chemicals cause somewhat irreparable damage to your already grown-out hair, but your roots are affected quite adversely as well in accordance with the side effects of hair straightening. The follicles of your hair can get exponentially weaker, just weakening your roots – and with weak roots, the only expected result is the fact that your hair begins to fall out quite rapidly.
7. Scalp Begins to Itch
Some unexpected problems in terms of side effects of straightening hair that you might face after having straightened your hair are that your scalp will begin to itch uncontrollably and start drying out, even leading to problems such as flaking. This happens mainly because your scalp is stripped of its oils, which can then lead your scalp to get too dry and thus perpetually itchy without the hydration that would usually keep it moisturized.
8. Hair Texture is Affected
If your hair has already begun to show signs of damage after being straightened with the help of heat, then the damage may be permanent. Past a certain point, it is impossible to restore the natural health of your hair no matter what hair masks, serums, or other hair products you may use. Here, the only way to restore the shine and moisture of your hair would be if your hair was allowed to grow out naturally once again.
9. Hair Growth is Slowed
Not only in terms of outward appearance, but straightening your hair with flat irons can have far-reaching consequences in relation to the composition of your hair as well. If you do not protect your hair against the heat from the flat iron, you’re indirectly harming your hair cuticles, which are crucial for ensuring steady and quick growth of your hair. As a result, your hair growth can become extremely slow.
10. Allergic Reactions May Be Caused
The hair straightening process often employs several chemicals that can be taxing for both your hair and the rest of your body. It can worsen, especially if you may be allergic to some of these chemicals used, and may lead to consequences such as rashes on your skin, burning inflammation on your scalp, or even bloodshot eyes.
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Can You Avoid Side Effects of Hair Straightening?
While there are many ways your hair can be negatively affected by the hair straightening process, there are ways you can minimize damage to your hair before you engage in straightening. So if you’re wondering, “is straightening good for hair,” there is no distinct answer.
The factor that affects your hair negatively the most is the heat that results during straightening – something that can be kept in check if you use a product that protects your hair from heat.
Additionally, before the straightening process, you can also take several precautions, such as conditioning and oiling your hair, which will replenish the hydration in your hair. Another excellent measure you can take is deep conditioning. It is also not advisable to use a flat iron to straighten your hair if your hair is wet since it can break extremely easily or has already been straightened more times than twice a week.
Lastly, using products such as honey, yogurt, coconut milk, olive oil, and such can prove to be miraculous as hair masks that are both inexpensive and easily accessible. You can also employ the assistance of apple cider vinegar to make your hair shine after the straightening process has dulled it.
While all of these steps may sound simple and extremely negligible, they’re, in fact, crucial to your hair’s health. As you have seen, your hair is affected in numerous ways by exposure to extreme heat – so it is best to keep hair damage at bay with these precautions.
As you have seen, while there is nothing wrong with straightening your hair with the help of a flat iron, there are some things that you have to keep in mind if you have fallen in love with your silky strands of straightened hair.
In terms of answering “is hair straightening good for hair,” while there are some risks, you can just as easily avoid them. It is easy to forget that your hair is, in fact, extremely sensitive.
Having these hair straightening precautions in mind can help you avoid the aforementioned side effects of straightening your hair while preserving the smoothness of your tresses. So grab that flat iron and remember to be cautious and take it one small section of hair at a time!