Q&A: Hair Won't Take A Press. What Can I Do To Avoid Chemicals?
Question:My hair will not take a press. What product can I use so I don't have to use chemicals?
Answer:I'm going to answer your question in two parts. Part A is for if you are still interested in pressing your hair. Part B is for if you are tired of pressing, and are looking for alternatives.
Pressing is basically affected by two things. These are...
- What you do to prepare your hair for straightening.
- The type of tools you use to straighten your hair.
If you are still interested in pressing your hair here are some tips to help you out.
To prepare your hair for straightening:
- Be sure to use a shampoo and conditioner (some people skip using conditioner) and use gentle, natural products. Look for a shampoo that is sulfate free (contains no "sodium lauryl sulfate" or "sodium laureth sulfate") because these can be very drying to the hair and scalp. Use a conditioner that is made with natural vegetable oils, not mineral oil, silicones, or petrolatum, because these can also have a drying effect on the hair.
- After you condition your hair, but before you rinse out the conditioner, detangle your hair with a wide tooth comb. This will make pressing easier later.
- After shampooing and conditioning your hair, be sure to rinse the product from your hair completely.
- After washing, let your hair air dry somewhat, and then gently use a blow-dryer at the lowest setting with a wide tooth comb attachment to complete the drying process. This will help to smooth out your hair and prepare it for pressing.
- Use a natural hair oil as a thermal protectant. Apply it to your hair before pressing to protect your hair from the heat.
- Use a heated straightening appliance with a temperature gauge. You may have to try some different ones out to see what works for you.Some people who have a hard time maintaining a press have found success with the maxi-glide. Start at a low temperature (I use 370 degrees). If your hair has been prepared properly, you shouldn't have to turn it up to the max to get good results.
If you are tired of pressing, but want alternatives, consider "curl defining" or "wet-styling." This is where you use conditioners, gels and other products to bring out the curl pattern in your natural hair. You can straighten your hair somewhat. It won't be like relaxed hair or pressed hair, but the results can be very pretty if you take the time to work with it.