At Home Hair Straightening Problem

Naturally curly hair
Photo: Karyna Che/Shutterstock
Q: A couple of days ago I bought a "do-it-yourself" permanent straightening kit, and I tried it out hoping for at least some improvement. But when it was all done and my hair had dried, it went back to normal. My hair is naturally curly with a frizzy layer on the outside. But the kit said it works on all hair types and I did all the steps correctly. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but I live in a very humid environment.
But that shouldn't affect it, right? And because I live in a humid place, I can't straighten my hair with my iron because it will immediately go curly again. I really need help! I also can't go to a hairdresser and get it done professionally because they aren't experienced with that. I live on a small island in the Pacific, previously Australia. I don't know if you can help me or not, but it would be greatly appreciated if you can give some pointers.

A: It is entirely possible that you performed all of the steps correctly, but didn't get the desired results because your hair is resistant.
These at-home straightening kits use the same chemical formulas as home perms, but instead of wrapping the hair on rods to create curl, the hair is combed straight to remove the existing curl. Just as some women find that their hair doesn't perm as easily as other women's hair, some women need more processing time to straighten the hair.
If the hair is longer than shoulder length, you may also need to enlist the assistance of a friend to help you keep the hair combed straight while the hair processes. Because of the fact that some hair types will require adjusted processing times, I usually encourage women to seek professional assistance for straightening services, but I understand your situation and that this is not an option for you.
If you decide to try to straighten your hair again with an at-home kit, consider enlisting a friend's help, and extend the processing time in five minute increments, keeping a careful watch on the hair to make sure you avoid any damage.
As for tips on straightening your hair in general, I can offer the following advice: In order to combat the humidity of your environment, you need to use styling products that will seal the cuticle layer of the hair and prevent the humidity from having this big an effect. Silicone-based products, such as anti-frizz serums, are excellent for this purpose as they naturally repel moisture.
See also:
Hair straightening
Flat iron styling
How to maintain your hairstyle in humid weather
How to prevent that the humidity of sweat affects your straightened hair