It is beautiful to see natural hair beauties embracing their natural hair texture and the movement is trending towards natural hair styling vs. hair straightening. There are still many women with natural hair, that prefer smoothing and straightening their hair and it is paramount to do so without causing damage.
Natural hair texture varies tremendously, straightening or smoothing will vary based on texture and outcome. Many of our clients prefer individual strand hair extensions, i.e. i-tip links or keratin bonds, in order for these methods to grow perfectly, a smoother hair texture is desirable. Oval-shaped hair follicles produce curly hair, the twist and turns of regrowth can often weaken curly hair, curly hair may require some extra TLC.
We often work with damaged curly hair versus its healthy counterpart, our first line of defense is to use mild chemical processes, as well as damage-free hair extensions. We do not offer sewin weaves, especially with top closures, since the constant pressure on the hair follicles leads to "traction alopecia."
Straightening And Smoothing Without Chemicals
At our salon, we prefer a roller set, under a hairdryer, to a hot comb, silk press, or high heat flat ironing. Most of our wash and set clients will visit our salon on a weekly basis and receive a moisture-intensive conditioning treatment. This is the healthiest approach to care for curly hair, especially when wearing hair extensions.
Keratin treatments infuse protein into dry hair of all textures and work especially well on curly hair. A keratin treatment will not render hair perfectly straight, nor does it change the diffuse bonds of curly hair. The treatment of our choice is the Brazilian Blowout brand which is formaldehyde-free. The treatment washes out of the hair after 3 months or so, it is not a permanent treatment. There are certain treatments mislabeled as a "keratin treatment," which contain harsh chemicals, often imported from other countries, they are not one and the same. A keratin treatment can also be used in between stronger chemical straightening processes such as Japanese Straightening and hair relaxers. A caveat is to always do a strand test on hair to ensure there is no adverse chemical reaction.
A hair relaxer with an active ingredient known as sodium hydroxide should only be performed on the healthiest of hair. Gone are the days of relaxers containing 'lye," but we must proceed with caution. We only use "mild relaxers" containing shea butter, it is recommended to roller set after relaxing instead of blow drying and flat ironing since the hair will be at a weak state after the relaxing process. This is a permanent process and regrowth will need to be treated as hair grows.
The active ingredient in Japanese Straightening is "ammonium thioglycolate" which is less caustic than sodium hydroxide. Both chemicals make hair bonds permeable which enables the hair to be curled or straightened. The Japanese straightening process is quite labor-intensive and requires several passes with a thermal heated flat iron. This is a permanent process and regrowth will need to be treated as hair grows.
In the below picture, our client had severely damaged curly hair. We performed a strand test to determine if a keratin treatment would render positive results without damage. A strand test is a step that should never be skipped and the best way to determine the health of the hair. The client had keratin treatments that simply smoothed her hair cuticle, and she was informed that she would still need to blow dry her hair to create a smooth hair cuticle.
We can and do attach hair extensions after a keratin treatment, We chose to use an individual strand method of hair extensions which were custom-tailored to her own hair paying careful attention to the strength of the hair follicle. Approximately 100 strands of 1 gram hair extensions were applied to her hair. I do not recommend attaching extensions after Japanese Straightening or hair relaxers since the hair is too pliable and indentation will occur at the attachment area.
The good news is our client wore hair extensions until her own hair grew healthier. She now wears her hair in its natural state. Had we chosen a different extensions method or chemical straightening, we may have not had such a positive result. It is imperative to seek out a salon/stylist that addresses your concerns and works with your hair to achieve improvement versus more damage.
Determine your budget, allotted time to fit your hair needs into your schedule, lifestyle concerns, and ultimate hair goals. It is not unusual to have at least 3 consultations and I recommend going with your gut feeling. We can all decipher a stylist's confidence, attitude, and expertise., if they fall short of these, seek another.
Hair Extensions Background
At Noelle Salon, we evaluate your natural hair, listen to our client's wishes on styling, color match, and look. We use human hair extensions like 100% Remy human hair, or Virgin Hair (unlike Bellami hair). Hair extensions can be used for short hair or 24 inches of a full head of hair, and have worked with different methods like tape-in extensions, clip-in hair extensions, Keratin and enjoy using our Pull-thru Veila Hair Extensions for ease of hair care. Styling can vary from flat iron, natural curl, or curly hair. Whether you are looking for a change of style or look for a day such as a Clip-in ponytail, having a high-quality ponytail extension can mix it up for you. Your natural hair journey with your hair growth can be enhanced with Hair extensions when protective styling is applied, and regular maintenance is used. You can change your hair in one day - feel free to reach out to us and explore the possibilities.