Undo Hair Straightening

Long straightened hair
Photo: Traveliving/Shutterstock
Q: Is it possible to buy some kind of product that will undo chemically straightened hair? I had my hair done recently, and I can't bare it. I heard it will take months to grow out. My hair is naturally curly. What do I do?
A: Generally speaking, the reason we call the chemical formulas used in straightening and curling hair “permanent wave’ formulas is because the results are permanent. However, your options for recourse in your specific case depend largely on exactly what chemical straightening method was used.
If a process that uses hydroxide-based formula was used, then you basically will need to let the chemically treated hair grow out and be trimmed away. Hydroxide-based formulas are typically used with African-ethnic hair types to soften and smooth out the naturally kinked texture, but are also used in other hair types to straighten and soften the curl.
Other chemical straightening processes – such as Japanese Straightening or Thermal Reconditioning/Restructuring – use formulas that make it possible to have the hair permed afterward if the results are not to your liking. This can help you to restore some semblance of your previous curl pattern.
Your next step is to see the stylist who performed your chemical straightening service (or if you performed the service yourself at-home to visit a professional stylist) for an assessment and discussion of your options. The stylist will be better able to discuss what is the safest way to help you be happy with your hair again.
Remember, that depending on what was done, you may have to live with the existing results until your hair is in the proper condition to do something about it. (This includes the potential for waiting for the chemically altered portions to grow out.) Your stylist’s primary concern will likely be maintaining the integrity of your hair, so your hair’s current level of condition will be of paramount consideration.
In the future, remember that you can usually find a less-permanent option for most all chemical services which will allow you to “test drive” a look before you commit to it. If you are concerned about whether or not a process is exactly what you want, talk to your stylist about the less-permanent options and try them first.
See also:
Permanent hair straightening
Undo L'Oréal Extenso hair straightening
Is it safe to perm straightened hair back to wavy or curly?