Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Curly Asian Hair & Home Straighteners

Q: Hello beauty expert. I am an Asian with medium thick dry hair and very curly hair towards the very middle of my head. I do not have the typical Asian soft straight hair, and having to deal with this hair is very frustrating. I have had three Japanese straighteners over the last 3 years, but it does not help especially. They are only just temporary until my new hair grows out. It is so hard to deal with frizzy and curly hair because you can never style it. All I can do is a ponytail. While I do like the Japanese straightening process, it is very expensive and only lasts a few months. It has been about a year since I have had my hair straightened and I do not want to go through another straightening. I wanted to ask if it would be good to invest in a home relaxer that is mostly used for black women. I was considering one with not so much strength, such as a children's formula and one with organic oils. Or if I should try {brand name deleted} or the {brand name deleted}, but also I do not want to make my hair in an even worse condition. I have read some comments about the Easy straight, and it may leave your hair like straw dry and falling out. So now I am ready to try a relaxer, but I just wanted to make sure it would be safe even though I am of a different ethnicity. Also your opinion of the in home straighteners such as {brand name deleted}, and {brand name deleted}, would be appreciated.
A: Given your ethnicity, and the likelihood of possible damage your hair already has, I would recommend you try the at-home straightening kits you mentioned before resorting to a relaxer. These at-home straighteners actually are formulated similarly to permanent waves and use ammonium thioglycolate to break the chemical side bonds in the hair and allow it to assume a straighter formation, then the chemical side bonds are reformed by the neutralizer (hydrogen peroxide).
Hair relaxers generally use some form of hydroxide compound (usually sodium hydroxide) to break the chemical side bonds in the hair. The difference is that these side bonds are broken permanently and cannot be reformed. Relaxers are generally only needed for very coarse Afro-ethnic hair when the hair is otherwise hard to comb and style. Relaxers are neutralized by shampooing the hair with an acid-balancing shampoo.
Either of these processes would require that the hair be retouched as the new growth emerges, so that will be something you should consider.
As to the dryness of your hair: You need to take care to condition your hair to restore moisture and smoothness to the hair. I recommend you use a shampoo and conditioner formula that offers "smooth and sleek" hair for daily use, and make sure you condition the hair every day even if you don't shampoo. In addition, at least once per week, use a moisture-rich conditioning cream to give yourself a deep-conditioning treatment.
When styling the hair, be sure to use a leave-in spray conditioner prior to blow-drying the hair as well as a smoothing serum. These should be applied to the hair after it has been towel-dried, but before it is combed and drying begins. If you follow these tips faithfully, you may find that the hair will be softer, smoother and easier to manage and that you are happier with your hair without straightening. Even if you still want the hair straightened, continue the hair care regimen to make sure to prevent and recover from any damage from the straightening process.
Related posts:
Asian Hair
Curly hair and hairstyles
Hair growth Q&A
Hair straightening and relaxing Q&A