What is hair straightening?
Hair straightening is a technique that removes all the waves and curls in the hair and makes it flat and straight to give it a very smooth and sleek look. There are different ways by which we can straighten our hair. Techniques like hot irons, hot combs, styling products such as gel, etc have a temporary straightening effect on the hair. Temporary hair straightening gets affected by environmental factors like contact with water from washing, rain, humidity, etc. Techniques like re-bonding, keratin treatment, thermal reconditioning (use of relaxing chemicals, neutralization treatments, deep conditioning and repetitive high-temperature ironing) etc, have a permanent straightening effect for at least one year and usually require only re-growth touch up. Flat irons and chemicals can damage the hair if used very often and also lead to split ends. Heat protectant sprays can be helpful to reduce this effect.
Hair straightening depends on the scientific properties of hair. As we all know, our hair is made up of a protein called keratin. Keratin is made up of long chains of sulphur containing amino acids. The sulfur atoms from adjacent chains of keratin, together form the disulfide (di = 2) bonds. These disulfide bonds makes the keratin molecules very strong and rigid and ensures that the keratin molecules remains fixed in one place which in turn gives each one of us a fixed type of hair i.e. straight, curly, etc. But when we want to change our natural hair type, we have to break these disulfide bonds. The easiest way to break these bonds is heat and hence, we use the hot combs and irons for hair straightening. When hair is exposed to high temperatures, the disulfide bonds break and allow the keratin molecules to move around a little and take up the position that results in straight hair.
In permanent straightening, they use other methods like use of chemicals to break the disulfide bonds and change them. These bonds are broken with the help of strong reducing agents which are bases and hence, alkaline solutions are applied to the hair to break these strong bonds. The hair is then made straight and acidic solutions are applied to it to maintain the hair type. The hair when washed thoroughly stops the reaction and the disulfide bonds are reformed in the straightened position of the hair.
The Cystine Hair Smoothing System is comprised of four components: Cystine Smoothing Shampoo, Cystine Smoothing Treatment, Protein Leave-In Conditioner and Keravis Hair Strengthening Protein Conditioner. It straightens hair through: a sulfite/urea active straightening complex, heat and protecting and restructuring proteins. The sulfite and urea combination work on the disulfide bonds of the hair to gently relax the hair fiber, resulting in the initial straightening.
The Cystine Hair Smoothing System performance was evaluated in salon studies, where its smoothing performance was demonstrated on a variety of hair types. However, in order to further evaluate its effect on the hair fiber microscopically, an instrumental study was conducted where an Atomic force microscope (AFM) was used to take a 3D image of the topography of the hair fiber. Untreated hair was taken as a baseline, and hair treated with the cystine system was compared to hair treated with more traditional relaxers based on sodium hydroxide and thioglycolate. It was observed that the hair fiber treated with the Cystine Hair Smoothing System most closely resembles the untreated hair.
The Cystine Hair Smoothing System can provide sleek, smooth hair with minimal damage and no added formaldehyde.
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