Because of the challenges Naturalistas face in regard to going natural, rocking an afro, and dealing with the Shrinkage Monster-there have been many products created over the years to combat this uphill battle.
The original press n curl was too dangerous. Placing a hot iron with tiny metal teeth on an open flame was just a combination which invoked fear, inflicted pain, and fried hair cuticles and and melted dreams of having straight hair for longer than a few hours.
Then there was the metal flat iron, that cinched the hair between 2 hot plates, creating straight strands that were also very brittle and matted together. Then they created ceramic flat irons which was to be more gentle on the hair and leave the hair shiny.
Now today, there are Brazilian Keratin Treatments, Dominican Blowouts and other bottled treatments that, coupled with extreme heat, promise to straighten the hair and make it shiny and soft. Allbeit lovely to imagine straightening the hair temporarily, the keratin treatment has several “Don’ts” to abide by in order to make it work best for your hair.
- You can’t shampoo your hair for 24-48 hours after a treatment
- If the hair gets wet within 2 days, you have to blow dry it immediately
- You cannot swim for at least one week and before you do you MUST wet the hair, then apply a conditioner that has to be rinsed out once you are done swimming (sound familiar)
- It is not recommended that you wear your hair in a pony tail or updo
- You shouldn’t use styling products on the hair within the first 2 days
- Touch ups of the whole head are recommended when the curl pattern returns
- You should wear your hair down for at least the first 2 days after treatment
- You may not engage in any activity that may cause perspiration like exercising
- you can’t use bobby pins, barrettes, hair clips or hair bands for the first couple of days after a treatment
- And you shouldn’t place your hair behind the ears or wear glasses to hold your hair up (ie. sunglasses in the summer)
After you DON’T do all of that, you are supposed to have silky looking, soft and straight hair. It may not be permanent, but frequent use will eventually straighten the hair out. This is not a relaxer but requires most of the same regimen for wearing relaxed hair. Furthermore, the new growth near the scalp grows out and reverts sooner than the rest of the hair, but it is recommended that a touch up be done on the whole head at least once every three months. At least a relaxer only requires a treatment to the new growth. This is more costly and time consuming in the salon.
So think, think, think and do your research before plunging into the latest fads in hair straightening.