Some are born with curly hair and some are born with straight hair, but for some reason, no one is ever completely satisfied. I was born with hair that sort of fell in the middle. It’s always been pretty easy to manage. My two sisters who had very curly hair were both pretty jealous of how easy my hair was to take care of. They would constantly be using mousses and every possible product to try to control their frizz. My older sister constantly straightened her hair and now she blow dries it every day. My younger sister in the past few years has mastered using oils and creams. She’s done the keratin treatment. But for me, I’ve never put anything in my hair to tame it. Maybe hairspray on my wedding day.
Hair is made from keratin that contains sulfides. When the sulfides bond together, it creates a curl or a kink. How curly your hair depends on how many of these sulfides bonds you have. Hair straightening treatments have become a huge part of the beauty industry. These salon treatments promise their customers super straight hair that’s glossy and luxurious. The hairdressers and stylists fail to tell you the dangers of these treatments and how they can affect your health. Well, I’m about to blow your mind.
The Dangers Of Using Chemicals To Straighten Hair
Chemical relaxers straighten your hair by breaking the hair’s sulfide bonds. They rest your curls and kinks to fall into a straighter line. It’s basically a reversed perm. People use chemicals to straighten their hair to boost their confidence and attempt to make their daily hair styling much easier, but they don’t realize the dangers of using chemicals to straighten hair. They’re so dangerous because they usually contain formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is in a ton of hair products but it’s a carcinogenic impurity that is only released by the standard cosmetic preservatives. They can also cause chemical burns, damage, breakage, and hair loss.
Even after all the warnings and headlines, many treatments still contain formaldehyde. It’s not only found in straightening treatments. It’s found in hairsprays and other products as well. A lot of products claim to be more gentle than their competition, but don’t be fooled. Most relaxers use sodium hydroxide or a close relative. When you go the permanent straightening route, you’re going to need to make a lot of life changes. You may need to constantly touch up your hair because it won’t be fully the same texture. You’ll also want to avoid the rain like the plague. You never know how your hair will actually react to the chemicals, just how it’s supposed to react.
The Dangers Of Using A Straightener To Straighten Hair
Many people have the habit of straightening their hair every day. Let’s be honest, straight hair is definitely easier to deal with throughout one’s day. There are many side effects of using a straightener to straighten your hair. Applying heat directly to your hair so frequently is actually drying out your hair, which makes your hair more frizzy. Isn’t that what you were trying to avoid by straightening it? Straightening your hair using heat can also cause itchiness, redness, and rashes. One of the most extreme possible side effects of hair straightening is your hair beginning to fall out. This can simply happen by your hair iron breaking the hair at the root or burning it. Over time, the iron will cause your hair follicles and natural keratin to weaken the hair, causing it to fall out even more.
There are some flat irons that are worse than others. That’s because some irons have high levels of formaldehyde. When the iron is fully heated, it releases the chemical in gas form. This can irritate your eyes, throat, and nose. Exposure to this chemical for a long period of time has been linked with a higher risk of cancer.
Top 5 Ways How To Straighten Hair Naturally
1. Aloe Vera
The gel from the aloe vera plant can really do wonders. It quickly penetrates your hair, which not only moisturizes it but also straightens it. The gel also cleanses hair very efficiently and strip off all the extra oil and sebum. At the same time, it’s gentle and will preserve your hair’s integrity. It can even treat dandruff since its fatty acid reduces inflammation. It can also increase your hair growth with its ability to increase blood circulation.
You can apply it directly to your scalp or mix it with olive oil, almond oil, or coconut oil to reap all the benefits. Mix half a cup of aloe vera gel with the oil of your choice and apply it evenly to your hair. Better yet, massage it into your hair. Rinse the mixture off after an hour or leave it in and you’ll surely feel the difference. Aloe vera, in general, is a great way to make your hair look shinier, softer, and healthier. If you don’t already have an aloe vera plant in your house, you should probably think about getting one. It’s a great thing to have. Not only is it amazing for your hair and scalp, but it’s also great for your skin. From your simple moisturizing to burns, aloe vera is supreme.
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2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is a great ingredient to naturally straightens your hair. It’s packed with enzymes that help smooth your hair while promoting growth. Not only does it straighten your hair but is also fights scalp infections and restores your hair’s natural pH levels. Many even use it as a natural hair conditioner. Using it as a conditioner 3 to 4 times a week instead of your conditioner with chemicals has been shows to straighten hair. It smoothes out all the frizz and kinks. You can also add 2 tbsp to a cup of water and slowly and gently pour it over your hair after a shower. Leave the mixture on your hair while you let it dry naturally.
Apple cider vinegar is meant to balance everything out, but if you’re not careful, you can overdo it. It contains acetic acid, which means it could irritate the skin if overused. If you find that the apple cider vinegar is worsening your scalp issues, then you should cut back on using it as much. When you use apple cider vinegar in your hair, you’re also repelling lice. As an adult, you may not care about that, but when you have a daughter who goes to school, you don’t want them bringing home any critters that could end up literally bugging you. Apple cider vinegar is for the whole family.
3. Castor Oil
Castor oil is great for naturally straightening your hair because it doesn’t contain any harmful compounds that could cause damage. The oil has been commonly used to treat hair loss in people suffering from alopecia. It can also help your hair grow more quickly. It’s also used as a treatment for many scalp conditions. Usually, the hair follicle will grow a little over a centimeter in a month, but many have claimed that castor oil can increase the growth 3-5 times that amount, which is really wonderful for patients with alopecia.
To use castor oil as a natural hair straightener, you’ll need to heat it up. While still warm, apply it to your entire scalp and massage it in for about five minutes. Wrap your hair in a warm towel. You can either wet the towel then heat it up or dip it in warm water. After about half an hour, rinse it out with your usual shampoo. Castor oil can easily stain your clothing, so I would recommend putting on an old t-shirt that you don’t care for before you do anything with the oil. You may also want to use rubber gloves to apply the oil to your hair just to be more comfortable, but it’s up to you.
4. Brushing Hair Out
If you want to make sure your hair dries straight after a shower, you need to brush it out until its dry. Okay, you don’t need to constantly brush it the entire drying time, but every five minutes should do the job. You can also brush your hair continuously in front of a fan. For the best results, make sure you used a lot of conditioner. It’s not the greatest thing to brush wet hair, but having a head of hair filled with the remnants of conditioner definitely helps. Generally brushing your hair when it’s wet causes breakage.
This is definitely not the best method if you need to run after you take your showers or want to go right to sleep. We all know that if you sleep on wet hair, in the morning, the hair will still be wet and very curly. Which is why it’s important that your brush it until it’s completely straight if that’s the look you’re going for. Making your hair do something it’s not used to doing takes a lot of time and energy.
5. Natural Conditioner
The great thing about naturally straightening your hair with a natural conditioner is that they do so much more than just straighten. They nourish and moisturize. This makes your hair look shiny, voluminous, and healthy, all while being straight. There are plenty of different routes you can take when choosing a natural conditioner or mask, but the best would be for you to make it yourself at home. There are so many more options when you take the DIY route.
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You can choose to use almond milk. Rich in vitamin E, almond oil softens curls while strengthening the hair. To make an almond oil straightening mask, all you need is a half a cup of almond milk, 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. All are ingredients you most likely already own. After you have all your ingredients, warm the mixture in a pan on your stovetop until it’s thick. Remove it from the burner and allow it to cool before you apply it to your hair. Massage the mask into your hair and cover with a shower cap. Keep yourself busy while you wait the 20 minutes to rinse it out and for it to work its magic.
How To Straighten Hair Naturally Permanently
As mentioned above, there are plenty of ways to naturally straighten your hair, but you may find it an issue that none of these ways are permanent. Even though there may be some brands that claim they can provide you with a natural way to straighten your hair, it’s not really possible. Nothing in life is actually permanent. Even tattoos fade. You may think that you want something to be permanent but then after a week, you’re sick of it. Think of your nail polish color. The moment you get it, you love it and never want it to fade, but by the end of one week, you’re ripping it off. That’s just the way of the world.
Trends and styles fade, pin straight hair used to be in style in the ’90s, but now people prefer waves. There are definitely natural ways to straighten your hair, but none of them are going to be permanent. Our hair continues to grow until we die, so it may seem like we have unlimited opportunities to fix it, but some damage is irreparable. Our physical health and hair health are dependent on us taking caring of ourselves. Sometimes it’s better to embrace what you consider your “flaws” then try to fight them off.
Even after hearing about all the dangers of using a hot iron or chemical relaxers, I’m sure one you will still continue to do it. Therefore you should know that there’s a right way to do things and a not right way. There are many different hair treatments and you should have a consultation with a hairstylist before you decide to do any of them. What you may not know is that treatments can be combined. If you have a section of hair that’s thinner than the rest, you can use keratin there and a relaxer everywhere else. The hairstylist should be able to guide you.
Limit your use of a hair iron to twice a week if that’s your preferred way to straighten your hair. The temperature of the iron should stay on the low or medium setting. You should also never straighten your hair when it’s wet, even if the box and instructions say that you can. We all know that chemical relaxers and hot irons are damaging our hair and our health, so instead of using them, go the natural route. Sure you won’t get any permanent results, but you will get healthier results.