I often wrestle with the idea that Stone Bridge ought to carry more styling tools, like brushes and straighteners and so forth, and not just concentrate only on great quality hair accessories. Straighteners, in particular, are a huge market. So, if I ever came across the best straighteners in the world, would we sell them?
Because they will probably damage your hair. And I'd feel guilty about that.
I want to tell you exactly why straighteners work and what they do to your hair. I hope you will stop using them except on very special occasions.
How does heat styling work on hair?
When you straighten or curl your hair using heat you are temporarily resetting the chemical bonds that give your hair its natural texture. Inside, your hair is dotted with sulphur "points" that pair up adn bond together as your hair dries, pinching your hair up into it naturally occurring wave or curl.These bonds break apart when your hair is exposed to water.
The number of sulphur bonds in your hair is different all over your head, and it of course varies from person to person as well. The amount of sulphur in your hair determines not only how wavy or curly your hair is, but also how well your hair can held a set hairstyle. Naturally straight hair, for example, can have a tendency to refuse to hold a curl if it's sulphur content is very, very low. Permanent wave treatments simply "lock" your sulphur bonds together, so hair that is already low in sulphur may not take a permanent treatment either.
For most women, though, all that is needed to set a curl in your hair (or to straighten it) is for the hair to be shaped when damp and left until it is completely dry. The sulphur bonds will hold the set shape until exposed again to moisture, whether it is in your shower, perspiring on a hot day, or simply humidity in the air. Once water is introduced back into the hair, the bonds break and reset themselves along their natural alignment.
We use heat in the styling process mostly because it helps the hair dry faster, which give you more control while styling. There is also an added benefit that a low level of heat can help the cuticle dry flatter, smoother and stronger.
Done properly, you can use blow dryers and straighteners without causing too much damage to your hair. The way to do this is by using these tools only on damp - not wet - hair, on a low setting. Using a high heat setting can cause the water inside the core of your hair to boil. The steam will burst through the protective cuticle of your hair and cause irreversible damage to your hair.
Heat protection serums can provide a little protection, but only when the heat setting is kept low, not at the 200-degree level many straighteners are pre-set for. Hair which is straightened every time you wash your hair is at high risk of damage. Manufacturers of these tools are not going to tell you this and they will encourage you to believe that if you buy special conditioners and serums (ideally from them) then your hair will be in wonderful, healthy condition.
In my next post I will explain about "negative ions" and the relationship they have with the magic smoothing and heat protecting serums you are encouraged to use with your straighteners and blow dryers.