Q: A few years ago I had my hair done at a Salon where the Stylist, Took a Candle, Took strings of wet hair and burnt the dead
ends. That helped to get rid of split ends etc, without losing too much length. What is that procedure called? I reside in South Africa.
A: The procedure you are referring to is called “Hair Singeing” and was used in many regions of the world to give a “smooth finish” to
a hair cut style. The theory was that by singeing the ends of the hair you not only removed the frayed, driest ends of the hair leaving
the remainder looking healthier, but you also left the ends of the hair smoothly tapered.
The practice has been around for centuries, although it is rarely performed in some countries these
days. Trendier and more “modern” techniques have emerged into prominence of use. However, it is still practiced widely in countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.
The technique often involved using a candle which would be touched to the ends of wet hair, and
allowed to smolder, burning off the ends of the hair. I have also seen the process performed using a thin piece of wood, with an ember
on the end which is touched to the hair and then the hair passed though with a wet comb.
I have seen the results of the techniques in the hands of an experienced practitioner and will
say that it’s very interesting. However, this is not something I would suggest for the average person at home to begin trying to
experiment with. For one thing, you would need to make sure to remove any and all styling product from the hair, since the residue of
hairsprays and other products can be highly flammable.