Ask Chuck: Straightening of hair, good move or not

By Charles Colson
March 8, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 7, 2012 at 9:08 p.m.

I've heard there are pros and cons to having your hair straightened. Is it worth the trouble?

Straightening your hair is definitely a serious step to take if you have never experienced the good and bad side effects. To begin with, the hair should be in good condition, especially if it is color treated.

The results are dependent upon several factors, such as the length of hair and how curly it is at the time you start. Your hairdresser should always explain in detail the positive and negative effects. Some chemicals are quite harsh and damaging to the hair shaft, not mentioning the effect on the scalp.

If the hair is extremely curly, it is sometimes difficult to get the hair completely straight. It is healthier to just go to the point of a loose wave, and this will diminish the problem of the frizzies. It is very important to keep in mind that the hair will remain in the relaxed condition until new growth appears.

Usually, the straightening process will need to be done at least three to four times a year. There are no chemical solutions that will create a permanent straightening without over-processing. Professional treatments are also time consuming and quite expensive. Sound good so far?

I have been told that I could straighten my hair using a reverse perm treatment. Is this really true or just a myth?

Actually, it is a much milder method of straightening hair. If you choose to do this at home, always use a mild perm solution, such as a color treated perm. Remember, you are doing the reverse of perming, and it still takes the waving lotion and neutralizer to complete the process. Apply the waving lotion, completely saturating the hair. Keep the hair combed straight during this process. Never leave this solution on more than directions suggest, usually about 15 to 20 minutes.

Rinse thoroughly, towel blot the hair and apply the neutralizer. Even if the directions suggest neutralizing will take in approximately five minutes, I have found it is best to leave it on an additional five minutes. The neutralizer is what puts the hair back in the normal stage. Leaving this on longer is better assurance the hair will receive its proper conditioning. Even if you are giving yourself a regular perm, it is wise to neutralize for a longer period.

Remember, after your treatment is complete, the hair is in a much more porous state and will except any styling lotions, sprays, etc. much faster. This will allow more volume to the hairstyle. Pay close attention, and you should have great results. Need professional help yet?

Is it silly for men to think of straightening their hair at any age?

It's not silly at all. Men face the same problems with their hair as women do. They especially do not want to have a lot of curl to their hair. Usually, the reverse perm method is quite effective. They are happy if they can just get the hair in a more relaxed condition.

Your hairdresser can professionally judge the best method of straightening and is trained to know when to stop the action of the solutions to keep the hair in the best condition. Remember, your hairdresser can do repair work if you make a mistake at home. I guess it is really true - your hairdresser knows for sure.

Charles Colson is a local hair stylist and registered massage therapist. You may email hair or massage questions to or call 361-575-5331.



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