Hair straighteners are used to straighten curly or wavy hair. They contain active chemicals that penetrate each strand and rearrange the internal structure, producing straighter and smoother strands. They are usually applied with neutralizing creams or shampoos to minimize corrosion from the acidic ingredients. Most hair straighteners also contain conditioners to add a glossy finish to the hair.
Types of Hair Straighteners
Kinds of Hair Straighteners include the following:
Lye hair straighteners
Lye hair straighteners use sodium hydroxide to penetrate and soften the hair.
They work faster than no-lye straighteners and can be applied in smaller amounts.
They are highly caustic and acidic, which may weaken the hair and cause skin irritation.
No-lye hair straighteners
No-lye hair straighteners contain guanidine hydroxide, a much milder and less acidic chemical.
They are less damaging than lye straighteners, although they still require neutralizing or conditioning to prevent damage.
They also tend to dry out the scalp and irritate the eyes.
Choosing Hair Straighteners (Buying tips)
Sun protection: Choose a hair straightener with an ultraviolet blocker to protect newly straightened hair, which is usually delicate from contact with harsh chemicals. Look for one with sunscreen protection of at least SPF 15 to keep heat from further weakening the strands. Acidity: Choose a hair straightener with a high pH to ensure low acidity. Highly acidic straighteners corrode hair and skin faster. Those with a pH above 7 are non-acidic and much safer for regular use. Use neutralizing conditioners before and after application to help minimize acidity.