In the never-ending quest to be whatever we perceive as beautiful, many women put their hair through some incredibly harsh treatments, often in a misguided attempt to improve what doesn’t need to be improved upon, or more often by trying to achieve a look that isn’t appropriate for them in the first place. Of course, everyone has the right to pursue the looks they desire, but I’d love to encourage people to think twice before risking damage to their hair that is often irreparable.
Among the major chemical services that are causes of hair damage are bleaching and high-lift hair color. Any color process that involves lightening the hair’s natural color does so by using a chemical reaction to disperse the color molecules in the hair. This has the side effect of dispersing protein from the hair as well. It also results in leaving the cuticle layer of the hair raised which means that the hair becomes more porous.
Increased porosity is also a side effect of chemical services like relaxers and permanent waves. Relaxers are even more dangerous because the effects of the relaxer (which is what allows the relaxer to straighten the hair) are cumulative. The relaxer straightens the hair by destroying the disulfide bonds in the hair that hold the hair’s wave pattern. The fact that these effects are cumulative is why it is so imperative that stylists performing relaxers not overlap areas of the hair that have already been relaxed when doing retouch services. Doing so risks destroying too many of the disulfide bonds and causing the hair to break.
These risks are the reason many African-ethnic women have opted to go for natural hair. They don’t buy in to the common idea that only straight hair is “good hair”.
This potential damage is also a good reason for many women to try to avoid the more extreme hair color processes. Trying to lighten the hair too much (such as attempting to go from a dark brunette to pale blonde) results in such extreme damage to the hair that it often needs heavy and constant conditioning treatments to even appear remotely healthy.
So, please carefully consider the damage you can do to your hair before you undertake the more extreme chemical processes. Remember that healthy darker hair is preferable to damaged hair of any other color.
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