(1) Traditional hair relaxers
Relaxers work by chemically breaking protein in hair.
For super-curly, kinky, and coily hair textures, traditional relaxing treatments are often the best choice. Relaxers have the longest history of any straightening treatments. There are many kinds of relaxers, often divided into ones that use lye and ones that don’t, no-lye relaxers. The lye relaxers are stronger and maybe harsher.
Relaxers straighten curls by breaking the disulfide bonds within the hair. Disulfide bonds are some of the strongest naturally-occurring bonds to break. Relaxers use chemicals and high heat to break the bonds and create straight hair.
Strong enough to straighten the tightest curls.
Since the hair’s bonds are broken to remove curl, this leaves the hair much weaker and may cause scalp irritation.
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Amore Beauty Salon
Address: 30242 Crown Valley Parkway # B3, Laguna Niguel, California 92677, United States
(2) “Thio-based” hair straighteners
“Thio-based” hair straighteners work by both chemically breaking protein in hair and mechanically straightening it with heat.
“Thio” is short for ammonium thioglycolate (ATG), the chemical used in the services. These hair straighteners work best for people with very little wave to moderately curly hair.
These treatments use the same ammonium thioglycolate (ATG) that is used in permanent waving and permanent curling but at a higher concentration and a different pH. These permanent straightening treatments use chemicals to break the strong disulfide bonds and add mechanical straightening to the process.
Common names for these treatments are Japanese Straightening, Thermal Straightening, or Hair Reconditioning.
Pro: Permanent straightening options are now widely available for different hair types, including wavy hair.
Con: You can only wear your hair straight until it grows out. Heat styling, including curling irons and hot rollers, won’t work on hair that has had Thio-based treatment processing.
How long does it last?
Thio-based hair straighteners are permanent. They will last until the hair grows out.
(3) Keratin-based straightening treatments
Keratin-based straightening treatments work by adding more protein to the hair.
Unlike traditional relaxers and Thio-based treatments, Keratin-based treatments are not permanent. Instead of breaking down the protein bonds inside of the hair, these treatments add protein to the outside of the hair and add heat to change the hair texture. Instead of changing the chemical composition of the interior of the hair, these straightening treatments are additive. They work by adding protein onto the outside of the hair.
There are many kinds of these treatments that work on many levels of straightening intensity and permanence, including Brazilian Hair Straightening, Brazilian Blowouts, Hair Botox, and Keratin Straightening.
During these straightening treatments, a layer or layers of keratin is/are applied to the hair. The hair is then flat ironed to produce soft, silky hair with less frizz.
Pro: keratin-based straightening treatments are not permanent. The results can last up to six months and then the treated hair eventually goes back to its natural texture.
Con: Some formulas are known to contain formaldehyde so it’s important to go to a professional to avoid any known carcinogens.
How long does it last?
Depending on the particular treatment, it can last several months.