More African American women straighten their hair without harsh chemical relaxers
SUN Spotlight On: Hair 2 nv Salon
Owners: Lisa Johnson and Susan Bagley
901 East Willow Grove Avenue
Wyndmoor, PA 19038
Appts: Wednesday and Thursday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Friday, 9:00 to 6:00 PM; Saturday, 7:00 AM to Noon; Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Walk-Ins welcomed but appointments preferred
Specialties: Hair Color and Haircuts; Weaves, Press and Curl; Perms and Relaxers; Offers Full line of hair product; Retails an upscale jewelry collection: Books Bridal Parties; Gift Certificates available
Telephone: 215-948-3509 ; Facebook: Hair 2 NV Salon
By Leah Fletcher
Many African American women are abandoning relaxers, but are still looking for ways to straighten their hair. The good news is that there are many ways to straighten extra curly hair without the use of chemicals. The results don't last as long but they are safer.
It has long been a fact that many African American women use chemical products to permanently relax their hair. The trend is backed up by Philadelphia-based Society Hill Dermatology, which estimates that 80 percent of black women chemically relax their hair to make it straight and more manageable.
"Before the introduction of relaxers, black women straightened their hair by using a hot comb," explained Susan Bagley, co-owner of Hair 2 NV Salon, located in Wyndmoor, PA. She observed, "Many still choose to straighten their hair by using a hot comb or electric straightening comb or even a flat iron because they believe the chemicals in the permanent relaxers are far too harsh."
Her partner Lisa Johnson noted that chemical relaxers break down the interior structure of the hair stands and deplete its moisture resulting in weakened strands and breakage. "Knowing how to properly care for highly textured hairs goes a long way toward keeping it healthy and growing," said Johnson, a 27-year industry veteran.
According to Johnson, African American hair has a texture that is unique. The hair ranges in texture from straight to extremely curly, and should be treated with patience and delicate care. 'Chemical straightening treatments, improper combing, tight styling and lack of sufficient moisture may cause breakage of African American hair," she explained.
Both Bagley and Johnson offered the following instructions to achieve straight hair using an array of options.
Manipulate a blow dryer. Put a comb attachment on it. Then on freshly washed hair, apply conditioning oil. With your blow dryer on high, comb through sections of your hair until it is straight. Then, style as usual.
Twirl a curling iron. Use one with a large wand. Let it heat up. Then, section off 1-inch pieces of freshly washed and dried hair. Wind them around the curling iron until they are straight.
Set your hair in rollers. This process works for African American women who enjoy tight curls. Apply setting solution to wet, clean hair. Then roll up individual pieces. Keep in mind the more rollers you use, the curlier your hair will be. Then, sit under a hooded dryer for 15 to 30 minutes. Your hair will be straight and curly after it is completely dry.
Wave a hot comb through your locks. Use a hot-comb heating appliance or heat it up on a stove and then wipe it off on a paper towel. Then, section off quarter inch sections of your hair. Apply light conditioning oil to each piece and comb through it. Work your way throughout your entire head until your hair is completely straight.
Flat iron your hair. Make sure you use an expensive one because they generate more heat. Apply light conditioning oil to your entire head. Part your hair into small pieces. Then flat iron each.
Protecting Your Hair
Protect your newly straightened hair and prolong your style by wrapping your hair up at night with a silk or satin scarf or by sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase. This keeps your fragile hair from snagging and breaking during sleep.
Ultimately, Johnson and Bagley believe lifestyle, environment, scheduled hair maintenance and costs are contributing factors for electing a straightened hair existence.
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