Posts Tagged ‘relaxing’

Texture: Giving Clients the Texture They Want

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010


Learn more about Texture!, a collaboration between CurlStylist, NaturallyCurly and Modern Salon

What if there was a product that allowed you to give clients exactly what they want? It could be used to straighten, loosen or defrizz waves and curls without damaging hair or creating an awkward grow-out period. What if this product could be used on any hair type to make the hair softer and shinier? And what if it boosted profits for salons and stylists by creating an entirely new market?

That product, say some stylists, now exists. Keratin treatments have exploded onto the scene, generating buzz among consumers and stylists alike.

A Cure for Frizz?

Keratin Complex Treatment

Three years ago, a handful of keratin companies existed—pioneers like Brazilian Keratin Treatment by Marcia Teixeira, Keratin Complex by Coppola and Global Keratin. At July’s 2010 Cosmoprof North America show in Las Vegas, there were more than 40 companies offering keratin treatment products, from large hair-care companies to small start ups.

“To have a product like a keratin straightener is a breakthrough,” says Stephanie Kocielski, a John Paul Mitchell.

Keratin Complex Products

Not so long ago, the only option to remove texture in the hair was to use a product containing sodium hydroxide—lye. Next came relaxers containing ammonium thioglycolate (nicknamed “thio relaxer”), a gentler service.

Most recently, those opting for a straighter look flocked to Japanese thermal reconditioning, a chemical process that permanently alters the internal structure of the hair shaft, rendering it totally straight. Thermal reconditioning (TR) was an all-or-nothing proposition, and many women with texture weren’t willing to commit to it.

But keratin treatments have not been without their share of controversy, either. When they first came on the scene, the formulas contained formaldehyde—sometimes in high concentrations. Formaldehyde is listed as a carcinogen by a number of health and safety agencies. Now many of the treatments are lower or free of formaldehyde and aldehydes, a family of compounds that straighten the hair. Many of the aldehydes are naturally derived and less toxic than formaldehyde. Additionally, some stylists and clients may wear masks to protect themselves from any irritants.

A World of Options

Global Keratin Products

Today’s new wave of relaxers, silkeners and smoothers give clients and stylists more choices than ever.

“It’s all about making your texture—whatever it is—better,” says Sasha Polit, marketing manager for Global Keratin Smoothing System. “If you want to change the texture, we offer that option, but if you want to work with your natural texture, we also offer that option.”

Global Keratin offers Light Wave, for those who want to keep their natural texture; Curly, for those who want more straightening capability; and Resistant, for the straightest look.

Methods vary, but the most commonly-used keratin treatment involves the stylist washing a client’s hair with a clarifying shampoo, applying the keratin treatment and then using a flat iron to straighten the hair and “seal” the treatment.

Global Keratin Before


“In the past, there weren’t a lot of options,” says Darby Shields, associate artistic director for ISO, which developed the Maintamer, a semi permanent retexturizer that softens and smooths naturally curly or previously permed hair. “You either had floppy hair, curly hair or straw hair. There wasn’t a lot in between. It was a big decision for people to do something so permanent with their hair. Maintamer is reversible the next day.”

Global Keratin After


With variety of new options comes an increased need for communication between stylist and client.

“When they start asking about a treatment, you have to dig deep into what they really want,” says Amanda Jenkins, master stylist and education director at Arrojo Studio. “Can they achieve it without a chemical treatment? I ask my clients to bring in pictures so we’re both very clear about what they’re expecting. It’s all about the consultation.”

Sleek Service

Some clients may want their hair completely straight. In that case, Kocielski says she may suggest The Relaxer by JPMS, a sodium hydroxide relaxer that eliminates curl. “Some people think they’ll be able to wash their hair and it will dry straight, but that’s probably not the case with a keratin treatment,” she says. “Keratin treatments can condition and soften the hair, but they don’t always straighten it.”

Price is also an important consideration. Keratin treatments and other types of chemical relaxers cost several hundred dollars, and may need to be redone every three to five months.

For the stylist, keratin treatments have provided a way to make their clients happy and boost their profit margin at the same time. One 32-ounce bottle of the KeraFusion System from De Fabulous can generate $4,000 for the stylist, says Rebecca Letizia, marketing director of De Fabulous.

BKT Products

In addition to the in-salon treatments, companies like Keratin Complex, Global Keratin and Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment offer maintenance products designed to extend the life of the service and enhance the results. These products can also boost retail sales for the salon.

“These clients will come back every three to five months,” Polit says. “The more they use the product, the shinier, softer and more manageable their hair will be. You’re building
a client for life.”

The PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer relaxes or texturizes all hair types with a non-chemical formula. It comes in two levels: one for fine, delicate hair and one for coarse, resistant hair.

Smooth Operators

Here are a few of the keratin treatments available on the market today:

Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola: Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy was founded by stylist and salon owner Peter Coppola. The therapy eliminates up to 95 percent of frizz and curl and instantly adds shine and condition to the hair.

Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment: This treatment is for all kinds of hair to leave it soft, shiny and frizz-free for up to four months. It can be used safely on just about any type of hair—dry, frizzy, overprocessed, color treated, ethnic unprocessed virgin hair.

Pravana Kerafusion Keratin Treatment: This salon service permanently transforms coarse, curly, unruly hair to smooth, straight and shiny. Or, it makes fine, limp hair voluminous. It contains no thio, no sodium hydroxide, no formaldehyde, no aldehydes. As part of the Keratin Fusion service, Pravana’s Thermal Insulator protects the hair during the texture control.

Brazilian Blowout: Through the use of a Brazilian Super Nutrient Complex and a proprietary polymer system, the Brazilian Blowout improves the condition of the hair by creating a protective protein layer around the hair shaft to eliminate frizz and smooth the cuticle. Results last up to 12 weeks.

Global Keratin: The Juvexin Hair Taming System incorporates a keratin formulation which protects the hair and prevents damage to hair surface. The system is an organic, active complex component, delivered to the hair in its raw, natural state. Amino acids and proteins remain whole to condition hair and protect it from damage caused by environmental factors.

ISO Maintamer: ISO Maintamer Straightening System is a two-step straightening system that smoothes coarse hair, taming unruly curls and waves, un-perming ends and controlling frizzy hair. Maintamer uses a damage-free, thio-free, lye-free Isoamine technology that processes primarily within the cortex of the hair, to minimize damage to the cuticle while altering the pattern of naturally curly or previously permed hair to soften and smooth.

La Brasiliana: Intense treatment that softens, smoothes and relaxes all hair types. Available in Original, Apple and Mocha varieties.

PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer: This non-chemical relaxer relaxes or texturizes all hair types. Formulated with molecules from egg and soya, it is odorless and does not contain lye. It’s available in two levels: for fine, delicate hair and one for coarse, resistant hair.

Straight Facts about Straightening

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Take care when straightening hair.

Everybody wants options when it comes to their hair, and women with curls and kinks are no different.

While you might like to wear your hair wavy or curly most of the time, sometimes it’s nice to have a straighter, sleeker look.

But when it comes to straightening your hair, say the experts, there are right ways to do it. And there are wrong ways.

“Straightening the hair is not an easy technique, and it requires a lot of practice,” says Jonathan Torch of the Curly Hair Institute in Toronto.

f you want the option to wear your hair both curly and straight, the cut is important, says Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue.

“The hair must be cut for versatility, with angles that frame the face,” Christo says. “And the bottom line must be reversible and cut with slide angles in every direction, so when you blow it out straight it will look just a good as it does when it’s curly.”

Since all methods of straightening can stress the hair shaft, it is crucial to keep the hair healthy and moisturized.

“Make sure your hair is in good condition before you start,” says New York stylist Rodney Cutler of the Cutler Salon. “Sexy hair is not enough. You need sexy, healthy hair.”

The Blow Out

To temporarily straighten curls, there’s no easier way than with a blow-dryer.

“When you blow dry, you’re not locking yourself into one look,” Cutler says. “It’s less damaging and more cost-effective.”

Make sure you use products designed to work with the heat to protect the hair and lock in the style. There are a number of products on the market especially for blow-drying, including heat-protectant stylers. When applying the products, pay special attention to the ends.

Get the right tools for the job. Invest in a good ionic or ceramic dryer. A good dryer cuts drying time and reduces heat-related damage. Make sure you have a nozzle.

“A nozzle is key because you’re directing the heat from the roots to the ends,” Cutler says.

Round natural-bristle brushes are the preference of many stylists. The more bristles, the better. Some stylists like to start with a flat paddle brush until the hair is 70 percent dry, finishing off with a round brush.

The hair should be about 50 to 60 percent dry before you start blow-drying it, says stylist Cynthia Cheslock of Practically Frivolous Salon in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“If you make more than two passes with the blow-dryer, then the hair is too wet and you are just boiling the water on the hair,” Cheslock says.

Separate the hair into small sections, using a clip to keep the other sections out of the way. Start at the back of the head, since it is the thickest. Hold the dryer at least 12 inches away from the hair shaft, and hold it an angle, pointing it down on the hair shaft — not on the scalp, says curly hair stylist Shai of Capella Salon in Studio City, Calif. This will force your hair cuticles to lie flat, making your hair shinier and smoother. You can tilt your head slightly to make this movement easier.

“Dry the hair following the way the hair grows, to create more shine,” Shai says. “Blowing hair against the natural direction it grows creates frizz and damage.”

Make sure you keep either your dryer or hair moving at all times. Overheating your hair happens easily and can damage it.

Stretch each section with a round brush.

“The key is in the tension, the heat and the cooling,” Torch says. “While you’re pulling on a piece, direct the heat of the blow-dryer toward the tips to seal the hair into that position.”

Don’t try to wind your hair round the brush starting at the tip of your hair. The key is to start with the brush half way up the hair and keep turning your brush gently around until you reach the tip of your hair. That way, the hair naturally curls round the brush when it gets to the tip.

If your hair is short, you can simply place your brush at the roots of the section of your hair, and blow the hairdryer up so that the hair strands curls around the brush. Keep turning the brush so that the hair curls around the brush.

Let each strand cool before releasing the brush and letting the hair fall. Repeat the process on each sections of the hair until all the hair has been straightened.

Tame flyaway hair with an anti-frizz serum or pomade. Place a few drops in your hand, rub gently to distribute it, then apply it to your hair.

Blow-drying takes patience. It can take 45 minutes to straighten shoulder-length curly hair. For special occasions, it may be worth it to pay for a professional blow out at the salon.

“You will never be able to get the same results at home because you do not have four hands or the over-head angle that stylists have,” says Amie Zimmerman of the Dirty Little Secret.

Finessing the Flat Iron

To get the hair extra sleek after you blow it dry, flat irons can be highly effective tools.

“It’s just going that extra yard,” Cutler says.

Buy a high-quality iron. such as an ionic or ceramic flat iron. The ceramic irons use consistent heat and negative ions to remove static and smooth frizzies. Ceramic irons flatten the cuticles of wavy hair and seal in moisture.

“Buy the best iron you can afford, because a bad flat iron can really damage the hair,” Cheslock says.

Before using any flat iron tool, always test the temperature first. Take a piece of tissue paper and moisten it (making it damp, not wet). Press the tissue paper between the heating plates of the iron and hold for a few seconds. A small amount of steam would be normal. But if there is any smoking, scorching or discoloration of the paper, the iron is too hot and the temperature needs to be adjusted to prevent the hair from burning.

Take 2-inch sections through the iron and work your way through the section, from the top to the bottom upward.

“Pass it through the hair in very fast motions,” says Christo.

After straightening each segment, allow it to cool. Once it’s cooled, pass a comb through it to break the hair apart and give it a smoother finish.

thermal reconditioning

Before thermal reconditioning
thermal reconditioning Before thermal reconditioning

Chemical Straightening

If you are ready to go to extremes to get straight hair, you can visit a salon to get a chemical relaxing treatment. Make sure you select a salon that is experienced with relaxers.

“With a chemical process, the success is determined by the qualifications of the technician,” Torch says.

Do some research before selecting a salon. Make sure they work with a lot of clients with your hair type, and that they’re well trained in chemical services.

“Leaving the cream on too long can result in hair that’s relaxed, but badly damaged,” Christo says.

There are three basic types of hair relaxers: sodium hydroxide, guanidine hydroxide and ammonium thioglycolate.

One of the reasons hair is curly is because of hydrogen bonds between the proteins (keratin) that make up your hair; these bonds are weak and can be enhanced by water. Relaxers simply break these disulfide bonds and cap them so that they cannot chemically reform.

Sodium hydroxide is the strongest type of relaxer, and is often called the lye relaxer. It is a very strong, harsh chemical, and can only be used on coarse, extremely kinky hair. The pH level is between 10 and 14, which means it has the most potentially harmful relaxer. If not used by a professional, it can cause the hair to break.

No-lye relaxers are either guanidine hydroxide (a combination of calcium hydroxide cream with guanidine carbonate) or ammonium thioglycolate “thio.” These have a pH of between 9 and 9.5, and are considered to be less damaging than the sodium hydroxide or lye relaxers. However, it is still vital to give your hair the same care that you would give your hair with a sodium hydroxide relaxer.

One of the hottest trends in chemical straightening is the thermal reconditioning straightening treatments. After shampooing the hair and applying a protein solution, a cream or gel-based thio solution is applied to the hair to soften the hair and disassociate the sulfur bonds inside the hair shaft. Small sections of hair are thermally restructured with a flat iron at a very high temperature (over 300 degrees). Next, a neutralizer is applied and the hair is pulled straight.

There are several drawbacks to thermal reconditioning. The service takes several hours and costs several hundred dollars. It also requires periodic touchups to the new growth. And it works much better on softer, wavier textures than on coarser, kinkier hair types. Some people who have lightened or color-treated their hair also should stay away from thermal reconditioning.

Those who embark on this process must realize that once the hair is straight, it’s straight for good. For those who blow-dry their hair straight everyday, it can make life easier by cutting blow-drying time.

But some curlies find that their options are limited. Stylists recommend blowing your hair straight for a a few weeks or trying on a straight wig before you have it done to make sure you like the look.

“It is not reversible,” cautions Christo. “If you want your hair curly again, the only that can be done is to cut off all your hair and start from scratch. At our salon, we may turn down certain requests for this chemical process out of concern for our clients’ hair. Because, after all, we love curly hair.”

Before straightening the hair, Diane Da Costa, author of “Textured Tresses,” suggests clients try a less-drastic chemical service like a softener or texturizer that loosens the curl rather than straightens it.

“This can make it easier to blow-dry or flat iron the hair straight,” Da Costa says.

With any chemical straightener, the hair will tend to be more porous and will need extra moisturizing and protection when being blow dried or heat styled. Use gentle cleansers and deep condition once to twice a week.

Stylists caution that you should never use a thio straightener on hair that has been straightened with a sodium hydroxide straightener. It can be like giving your hair a chemical haircut.

“Layering on different relaxer types can definitely cause breakage,” says Titi Branch of Miss Jessie’s Salon in Brooklyn.

Quick Tips for A Great Blow Out

STEP 1: To straighten hair, begin by shampooing, conditioning and towel-drying hair.
STEP 2: Apply a heat protectant product to your hair, paying special attention to the ends.
STEP 3: Place a quarter-size dollop of straightening balm in your palm. Rub your palms together to distribute the product over your hands, then massage it evenly through hair.
STEP 4: Comb through your hair with your fingers while gently blow-drying it on a low setting. This removes excess water.
STEP 5: Pull your hair into three sections, two at the sides and one at the back. Clip the two sides up.
STEP 6: Select a small portion of the hair from the unclipped section to straighten.
STEP 7: Using a thick, round brush and beginning at the roots, gently pull the brush through the hair to the ends while blow-drying it. Pull the hair away from your head, stretching and straightening it as you go.
STEP 8: First pull the brush through the underside of your hair so that you expose it directly to the heat of the dryer. Once that area is mostly dry, switch to the top of the hair.
STEP 9: Keep the tension consistent and evenly distribute heat over the section of hair you’re working on. This ensures uniform hair texture and prevents overdrying of certain areas.
STEP 10: Once that portion of hair is straightened, continue selecting and blow-drying small portions until that section is dry and straight.
STEP 11: Repeat the process on the two other sections to straighten your entire head of hair.

— Source:

Tips for Making the Back of Your Hair Look as Good as the Front

STEP 1: After applying a straightening balm to damp hair, create four equal sections - two in front and two in back. Clip the front ones up and pull the back ones forward.

STEP 2: To blow a back section straight, tilt your head forward, place a paddle brush an inch below the roots to hold them taut, and aim the dryer above the brush for a few seconds.

STEP 3: Next, pull the brush forward around your neck (this curving motion creates body), placing the dryer in front of it until you reach the ends. Repeat until dry.

Straightening Products

AG Hair Cosmetics Insulate
Curlisto Straight Time Glaze
Cutler Straightening Cream
Ojon Leave-in Glossing Cream
Cutler Specialist Protectant Treatment Spray
Ojon Shine & Protect Glossing Mist
PhytoSpecific Integral Hair Care
Curly Hair Solutions ReMane Straight
Redken Straight Straightening Balm
Blended Beauty Straightening Glaze
Redken Fabricate
Kenra Platinum Hot Spray
Bumble & bumble Straight Control Freak Extra Extra Straight Hair Straightener
Biosilk Silk Therapy Smoothing Balm
Frizz Ease Straight Answer Straightening Spray
Alterna Hemp Seed Straightening Balm
TIGI Bedhead
Paul Mitchell Straight Works
KMS California Flat Out Straightening Creme
Rusk Str8 Anti-Frizz Anti-Curl Lotion
ABBA Straightening Balm
Tigi S-Factor Heat Defender Flat-Iron Spray
Got2B CrazySleek Hot Smooth Flat Iron & Blow Dry Lotion
Blended Beauty Straight Pearl
CurlFriends Shine Hair Gloss
Elucence Extended Moisture Repair Treatment

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