Q: What is the most effective way to straighten hair?
A: Shampoos, styling products and hot tools can give you smoother, straighter hair. But none lasts as long as chemical straightening. Chemical straightening breaks down the bonds in the hair, which give hair its texture, and then re-bonds them. The result is straight, frizz-free hair that lasts anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on the process.
Q: If used incorrectly, can chemical hair straighteners hurt my hair?
A: Yes. Anytime you put harsh chemicals on your hair and scalp, you risk damage. If they’re not used right, chemical straighteners can cause scalp burns, breakage and, rarely, hair loss. The best way to avoid damage is by going to an experienced professional.
Q: Before getting your hair chemically straightened, should I consult with a stylist?
A: Yes! Chemical straightening can cause serious damage if it’s not done by an experienced professional. Schedule a consultation in advance so your stylist can look at your hair and make sure it’s compatible with the treatment.
Q: How often can I straighten my hair?
A: It depends. Straightening too often can damage hair. How often you’ll need to straighten depends on which treatment you use, so talk to your stylist. Generally, hair straighteners shouldn’t be used more than every six to eight weeks.
Q: Can I straighten my hair and color it at the same time?
A: If you use a keratin straightener, you’re more likely to damage your hair if you do both at the same time. If you plan to color your hair, do it after you’ve straightened it. And try a semi-permanent dye rather than a permanent one. Semi-permanent color is gentler on fragile hair. However, it is safe to use an amino acid straightener and color your hair at the same time.
Q: Can the right hairbrush can smooth your hair and minimize frizz?
A: Yes! A large round brush, preferably made of a ceramic material, is best for smoothing your hair with the least damage. Use a rolling motion of the brush while blow-drying your hair. A boar-bristle brush uses your scalp’s own oils to smooth hair and tame frizz but won’t completely straighten your hair. Natural oils attach to the bristles and get distributed down the length of your hair as you brush, smoothing and protecting your tresses.
Q: What can I do to protect my hair when flat ironing?
A: Buy a high-quality flat iron, apply a silicone-based spray or serum beforehand; and use the flat iron on the lowest setting that works for your hair.
Q: Is cutting my hair the only way to fix it if it’s damaged?
A: Not necessarily. A haircut is a quick and easy way to get rid of damage done by heat or over-processing. But there are other ways to improve the look and feel of your hair. Shampoos and conditioners that are made for chemically treated hair can add moisture and make your hair look better. Products with dimethicone decrease static electricity and frizz and boost shine. Natural oils for the hair also help hair retain moisture and keep it straight longer.