Hi Isabelle, I’m Indian and have thick, wavy, frizzy black hair. Because it is very thick and frizzy and takes a lot of time an effort to dry and blowout my hair, I have been getting it chemically straightened for 10 years now (about once every 10 months).
I love that I can wash and leave the house and let the hair air dry. But it is an expensive process that is hard on hair. There is also that awkward growing out phase where the new hair is wavy and the rest is straight, which requires me to use a flatiron.
I was wondering what my options are to achieve a similar result with other techniques? What is the best way to straighten thick, frizzy hair? I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks, Uravshi
I’m sorry to say that at the moment, I am unaware of anything that straightens as efficiently as chemical relaxer. A few years ago keratin treatments were a seemingly wonderful alternative. It would fade gradually from your hair over two to three months so there was no awkward grow-out phase. Also, it didn’t dry the hair like relaxers do. Sadly, it turned out that the “keratin” wasn’t responsible for the straightness. It was the large dose of formaldehyde hidden in the treatment. The incredibly toxic formaldehyde made hair spectacularly smooth. Yeah, that stuff is totally illegal now. I’m not too upset about it.
However, some people were pretty upset about it; particularly the companies that were selling these “keratin treatments” to unsuspecting stylists and consumers. Predictably, they have re-released “keratin treatments” under the new guidelines, i.e. no formaldehyde. They charge just as much for them, they still call them “keratin treatments”, and they make the same claims. There is, however, an important difference: They do not work. At all. At least with the old treatments you were paying for great results (while poisoning yourself). Now, you are paying an arm and a leg for frizzy hair after your next shampoo. Don’t believe the lies, and don’t pay for it.
So, for now, we are left with the old reliable chemical relaxer. Although this permanently straightens hair, it also permanently damages it. I almost never use it on my clients. You get trapped in a vicious cycle, endlessly relaxing to match the roots with the tips, (since no one wants to flat iron their hair every day). Although there is no other solution for making hair wash-and-go straight, there is an inexpensive, easy solution for making your hair smooth and frizz-free…
Braids. My-oh-my do I love braids! If I had long hair I would style my hair with them constantly.
Here is what you do: After you shampoo your hair, blot it gently, but thoroughly with a towel. Comb through it with a wide-toothed comb. Apply a smoothing, conditioning creme. I love Fekkai Essential Shea Pot de Créme for this. It’s a little pricey but costs nothing compared to regular straightening treatments.
If you think the chemically treated part of your hair won’t respond, run a little bit of gel along the straight portion (Schwarzkopf Osis Gelastic Ultra Strong Flex would be great for this). Then simply braid your hair into one or two braids. At this point I would go to sleep and undo the braids the next morning. Voila! Gorgeous, sleek, frizz-free waves that don’t cause any damage. Every type of braid creates a slightly different wave, so experiment until you find your favorite.
Although this isn’t going to give you straight hair, it is going to give you beautiful, inexpensive, healthier, frizz-free hair. Who knows, you might even find your braids so cute you might not want to take them out.