Hair Care Tips Can A Straightening Iron Be Used On Relaxed Hair? By Marilyn Atkins Posted on August 28, 2023 0 If you have relaxed hair and you’ve been wondering whether it’s safe to use a straightening iron, we’ve got the answer for you. Many individuals with relaxed hair are cautious when it comes to heat styling tools, as they worry about damaging their already treated tresses. In this article, we will explore whether a straightening iron can be used on relaxed hair, providing you with expert advice and helpful tips to achieve sleek, straight locks without compromising the health of your hair. So, if you’re ready to discover the truth about using a straightening iron on your relaxed hair, keep reading. What is relaxed hair? Definition of relaxed hair Relaxed hair refers to hair that has undergone a chemical process called hair relaxing or hair straightening. This process is specifically designed to permanently alter the natural texture and structure of the hair, making it straight and easier to manage. Relaxed hair is typically achieved by applying a chemical relaxer or straightening cream to the hair, which breaks the protein bonds and softens the hair strands. Chemical process of relaxing hair The chemical process of relaxing hair involves the application of a relaxer or straightening cream to the hair. This product contains chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide, that break down the protein bonds in the hair strands. As a result, the hair becomes more flexible and can be straightened using heat or other styling tools. The relaxer is applied to the hair, left for a specific amount of time, and then rinsed out. This process permanently alters the structure of the hair, making it straight until new hair growth occurs. Understanding the straightening iron Features and functionality of a straightening iron A straightening iron, also known as a flat iron, is a hairstyling tool that uses heat to temporarily change the texture of the hair. It consists of two heated plates that clamp down on the hair strands, effectively straightening them as the plates glide through the hair. Straightening irons come in various sizes, plate materials, and temperature settings to suit different hair types and styling needs. Types of straightening irons available There are several types of straightening irons available on the market. Ceramic straightening irons are popular due to their ability to distribute heat evenly and minimize heat damage. Tourmaline straightening irons emit negative ions that help reduce frizz and static electricity. Titanium straightening irons heat up quickly and are lightweight, making them ideal for thick and coarse hair. It is important to choose a straightening iron that suits your hair type and needs to achieve the desired results without causing excessive damage. Can a straightening iron be used on relaxed hair? Considerations before using a straightening iron on relaxed hair Before using a straightening iron on relaxed hair, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, it is essential to assess the health and condition of your hair. If your hair is already damaged or weakened due to previous chemical treatments or excessive heat styling, using a straightening iron may worsen the condition of your hair. Additionally, you should consider your hair’s heat tolerance and whether it can withstand the high temperatures of a straightening iron without sustaining damage. Potential risks and damage to relaxed hair While using a straightening iron on relaxed hair can provide temporary sleekness and styling options, there are potential risks and damage associated with this heat styling tool. One of the main risks is heat damage, which can occur if the straightening iron is used at high temperatures or if the hair is not properly protected. Heat damage can lead to dryness, brittleness, and breakage, compromising the overall health of the hair. Additionally, frequent use of a straightening iron can strip the hair of moisture and protein, leading to dullness and weakness. Benefits of using a straightening iron on relaxed hair Despite the potential risks, there are also benefits to using a straightening iron on relaxed hair. One of the major advantages is the ability to achieve sleek and straight hairstyles that enhance your overall appearance. A straightening iron offers versatility in styling options, allowing you to experiment with various looks and textures. Furthermore, using a straightening iron can temporarily transform your hair, giving you a different style without permanently altering its texture. Lastly, a straightening iron can significantly reduce styling time, making it a convenient tool for those with busy lifestyles. Proper technique and precautions for using a straightening iron on relaxed hair To minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of using a straightening iron on relaxed hair, it is important to follow proper technique and take necessary precautions. Before using the straightening iron, it is crucial to prepare and protect your hair by applying a heat protectant spray or serum. This creates a barrier between the heat and your hair, reducing the risk of damage. Additionally, it is recommended to use the straightening iron at a suitable temperature setting for your hair type, as excessively high temperatures can cause significant damage. While using the straightening iron, it is advisable to section your hair and work on small portions at a time to ensure even heat distribution and thorough straightening. It is important to glide the straightening iron smoothly through the hair without stopping or pressing too tightly, as this can lead to hair breakage. Regularly using a heat protectant and avoiding excessive heat exposure can help minimize damage caused by the straightening iron. After straightening, it is essential to provide post-straightening hair care, such as moisturizing and applying nourishing hair products, to restore moisture and seal in the straightened style. Factors to consider before using a straightening iron on relaxed hair Hair health and condition Before using a straightening iron on relaxed hair, it is crucial to assess the health and condition of your hair. If your hair is already damaged, weakened, or excessively dry due to previous chemical treatments or heat styling, it may be more prone to damage from the straightening iron. It is advisable to prioritize the health of your hair and focus on repairing and strengthening it before subjecting it to additional heat styling. Previous chemical treatments If you have recently undergone other chemical treatments, such as coloring or perming, it is important to consider the compatibility of these treatments with using a straightening iron. Chemical treatments can weaken the hair structure and make the hair more vulnerable to damage from heat styling. It is recommended to consult with a professional stylist who can assess the compatibility of different treatments and provide appropriate advice. Heat tolerance of hair Each individual’s hair has a different heat tolerance, and it is crucial to consider this before using a straightening iron. Hair that has been chemically relaxed may be more susceptible to heat damage, and using a straightening iron at high temperatures can exacerbate this risk. It is important to find the right balance between achieving the desired straightened style and ensuring the health and integrity of your hair. Daily hair care routine Your daily hair care routine plays a significant role in determining the overall condition and health of your hair. If you already use excessive heat styling tools or products that strip moisture from your hair, such as harsh shampoos or styling sprays, using a straightening iron on relaxed hair may further damage your hair. It is advisable to adopt a hair care routine that focuses on maintaining moisture, minimizing heat styling, and using gentle products that promote the health of your hair. Potential risks and damage to relaxed hair Heat damage One of the primary risks associated with using a straightening iron on relaxed hair is heat damage. Applying high temperatures to already chemically treated hair can cause the hair strands to become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Heat damage can significantly diminish the overall health and appearance of relaxed hair, leaving it looking dull and lifeless. Breakage and split ends Using a straightening iron at high temperatures or using improper technique can lead to hair breakage and split ends, especially in relaxed hair. The heat can weaken the hair shaft, causing it to become fragile and prone to breakage. Regular use of a straightening iron without proper precautions can also lead to split ends, which negatively affect the overall appearance and texture of the hair. Loss of moisture and protein The heat from a straightening iron can strip the hair of its natural moisture and protein content. Relaxed hair is already prone to dryness, and excessive heat exposure can exacerbate this issue. Loss of moisture and protein can make the hair appear dull, rough, and weak. It is crucial to incorporate proper moisturizing and protein treatment into the hair care routine to counteract the effects of heat styling. Scalp irritation and burns Using a straightening iron too close to the scalp or applying excessive pressure can cause scalp irritation and burns. The scalp is sensitive and can easily be damaged if not properly protected during the straightening process. It is important to be cautious and avoid direct contact between the scalp and the hot plates of the straightening iron. Using a heat protectant spray or serum on the scalp can provide an additional layer of protection. Benefits of using a straightening iron on relaxed hair Achieving sleek and straight hairstyles One of the main benefits of using a straightening iron on relaxed hair is the ability to achieve sleek and straight hairstyles. The straightening iron can transform the hair from its natural texture to a smooth and straight look, enhancing your overall appearance and style. Versatility in styling options Using a straightening iron on relaxed hair provides versatility in styling options. You can experiment with different straightened looks, such as a sleek look, a bouncy blowout, or adding subtle waves with the straightening iron. This versatility allows you to switch up your hairstyle to suit different occasions and moods. Temporary transformation Using a straightening iron on relaxed hair offers a temporary transformation. You can enjoy the straightened style for a certain period of time, and if you desire to return to your natural texture, you can simply wash your hair and allow it to revert back to its relaxed state. This temporary transformation allows you to change your look without committing to a permanent change. Reduced styling time Using a straightening iron can significantly reduce styling time, particularly for those with long or thick relaxed hair. The straightening iron efficiently smooths out the hair strands, eliminating the need for excessive brushing or combing. This time-saving feature makes a straightening iron a convenient tool for individuals with busy lifestyles. Proper technique and precautions for using a straightening iron on relaxed hair Preparation and protection of hair Before using a straightening iron on relaxed hair, it is crucial to prepare and protect the hair. This involves applying a heat protectant spray or serum to create a barrier between the heat and the hair, minimizing the risk of damage. Additionally, it is important to ensure the hair is clean, dry, and tangle-free before using the straightening iron to achieve optimal results. Recommended temperature settings Using the right temperature setting on a straightening iron is essential for achieving the desired results without causing excessive damage. It is recommended to start with a lower temperature setting and gradually increase if necessary. Fine or damaged relaxed hair should be subjected to lower heat settings, while thicker or coarser relaxed hair may require slightly higher temperatures. Finding the right balance between effective straightening and minimal damage is key. Sectioning and styling small portions To ensure even straightening and heat distribution, it is best to section the hair and work on smaller portions at a time. This technique allows for more control and precision when using the straightening iron. By working with small sections, you can pass the straightening iron over each strand evenly, reducing the need for repeated passes that can lead to excessive heat exposure. Using heat protectants To minimize the risk of damage from the straightening iron, it is highly recommended to use a heat protectant spray or serum. These products create a protective barrier on the hair, shielding it from the high temperatures of the straightening iron. Heat protectants also help retain moisture and reduce frizz, resulting in smoother and healthier-looking hair. Avoiding excessive heat exposure Consistently subjecting relaxed hair to high temperatures can lead to damage and compromise the hair’s health. It is important to avoid excessive heat exposure by limiting the frequency of straightening sessions and using the lowest effective temperature setting. The less heat applied, the better the hair’s integrity and overall condition in the long run. Post-straightening hair care After using a straightening iron on relaxed hair, it is crucial to provide post-straightening hair care to restore moisture and protect the hair from damage. This can be done by applying a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing serum and gently combing through the hair. Additionally, using hair oils or serums can add shine and provide essential nutrients to the straightened hair. Alternatives to using a straightening iron on relaxed hair Blow drying with a comb attachment One alternative to using a straightening iron on relaxed hair is blow drying with a comb attachment. This technique involves using a blow dryer with a comb attachment to simultaneously dry and straighten the hair. It provides a similar effect to a straightening iron but with less direct heat exposure. It is important to use a heat protectant and the lowest effective temperature setting when blow drying to minimize damage. Roller sets and twist-outs Roller sets and twist-outs are heat-free methods of achieving straightened or stretched hair. Roller sets involve wrapping damp hair around large rollers and leaving them to air dry or using a dryer. Twist-outs involve twisting sections of hair while damp and allowing them to dry. Both methods result in stretched and straighter-looking hair without subjecting it to the direct heat of a straightening iron. Using a hair relaxing brush A hair relaxing brush, also known as a hot brush, is a heated styling tool that can be used as an alternative to a straightening iron. It combines the functions of a brush and a straightening iron, allowing you to easily pass the heated bristles through the hair, straightening it as you go. It provides a similar effect to a straightening iron but with a softer and more gradual straightening process. Professional hair straightening treatments For those who desire long-lasting straightening effects without the need for frequent heat styling, professional hair straightening treatments are an option to consider. Treatments such as keratin treatments or chemical hair straightening can permanently or semi-permanently alter the hair’s structure, providing straightened hair for an extended period of time. These treatments should be performed by a professional stylist to ensure proper application and minimize potential risks. Tips for maintaining healthy relaxed hair Regular deep conditioning treatments Regular deep conditioning treatments are essential for maintaining healthy relaxed hair. Deep conditioning helps replenish moisture, repair damage, and strengthen the hair strands. It is recommended to use moisturizing deep conditioners at least once a week or as needed, focusing on the ends of the hair and areas prone to dryness. Minimal use of heat styling tools To preserve the health of relaxed hair, it is advisable to minimize the use of heat styling tools, including straightening irons. Heat can cause significant damage to the hair, leading to dryness, breakage, and loss of shine. Whenever possible, opt for heat-free styling methods or embrace your natural texture to reduce reliance on heat styling tools. Protective hairstyles Protective hairstyles, such as braids, buns, or updos, can help protect relaxed hair from daily styling and environmental damage. These hairstyles minimize manipulation and friction, reducing the risk of breakage and damage. It is essential to ensure that protective hairstyles are not too tight or pulling on the hair, as this can lead to tension and breakage. Avoiding harsh chemical products Using harsh chemical products, such as sulfates or high-alkaline shampoos, can strip the hair of its natural moisture and cause further damage to relaxed hair. It is recommended to use gentle and moisturizing hair products specifically formulated for relaxed hair. Look for sulfate-free shampoos, moisturizing conditioners, and leave-in treatments to maintain the health and integrity of your relaxed hair. Conclusion Using a straightening iron on relaxed hair can provide temporary sleekness and versatility in styling options. However, it is important to consider the potential risks and damage associated with heat styling. Proper technique, precautions, and overall hair care are essential in minimizing these risks and maintaining the overall health of relaxed hair. It is also worth exploring alternative styling methods and adopting a hair care routine that promotes moisture, protection, and minimal heat exposure. By understanding the factors to consider and taking the necessary precautions, you can successfully use a straightening iron on relaxed hair while keeping it healthy and beautiful.