Not everyone likes to have the same hairstyle for ages, no matter how natural it seems. Change is a constant when it comes to fashion, and it stands true for black men with naturally curly hair as well. So, that brings up the question, “is it possible to straighten your hair as a black man?”
Well, good news, it definitely is possible. However, it’s not that easy of a procedure to go through. African-American hair works differently than most other types of hair, and that’s why it’s important to handle and configure them carefully.
However, due to sheer lack of knowledge or experience, multitudes of people freak out at the mention of straightening African-American hair. The truth is, you’ll only cause harm to the hair when you’re treating it incorrectly or impatiently.
So, let’s break the taboo by looking at some of the ways to straighten African-American hair and find out how they work.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s the Science Behind Straightening Black Hair?
- 2 What Are Some of the Ways to Straighten African-American Hair?
- 3 What Are The Pros & Cons Of Straightening Black Hair At Home?
- 4 Should You Straighten Your Hair As a Black Man?
- 5 Conclusion
What’s the Science Behind Straightening Black Hair?
Usually, hair is naturally quite straight, even when it doesn’t seem like so at first glance. The curls are not that strong, and they can be converted back to straight hair with almost little to no heat. This is possible because the hair is super thin and flexible.
On the other hand, African-American hair is the polar opposite in configuration. The hair is much tougher, has a rough texture and strong build-up. Plus, the curls are super strong as well, and since it’s a deep curl, it gives off an afro-look to the hair.
While that certainly looks pretty cool, it also makes it less manageable and sudden changes can cause the hair to frizz up. There is, however, a fine line during the transition period, which you can use to your advantage to straighten the hair.
Here’s how it works. The core of your hair consists of keratin. Reshaping your hair means that you are altering the keratin in your cortex. So, if you find a way to control that procedure, you can technically reshape your hair however you want.
When your hair is dry, the keratin is in a compact position that leads to the deep curls in your hair. So, to counteract that, whenever you apply heat or warm water to your hair, the compound starts to relax.
If you were wondering why your hair seems longer than normal in the shower, this is why. Heat acts as a make-shift relaxant for your hair, and by applying it correctly, you can have short-term straight tresses.
What Are Some of the Ways to Straighten African-American Hair?
There are a plethora of ways to straighten afro hair. Some allow you to enjoy straight hair for a short time while others will let you enjoy it permanently. Let’s have a look at some of the ways to straighten African-American hair and figure out how it works.
Always remember that heat is the most effective way to straighten hair, no matter what type it is. It’s also the most affordable method of straightening African-American hair.
To use a flat iron, start by shampooing your hair to get rid of any dirt. Again, you can find conditioners in the market that specifically cater to hair prepping before application. Get one of those and condition your hair after shampooing.
Get rid of the excess moisture by patting your hair dry with a towel next. Then, apply a herbal hair balm all over your locks and massage it thoroughly. This balm will protect it from any damage due to the additional heat.
To be safer, you can also apply hair spray that prevents heat damage. After the spray dries off, slowly use the flat iron in small sections. Remember to make sure that the heat settings are appropriate for your hair type.
It’s best to start off with low heat and then work your way up to high. If your hair is more dense and curly, it will require more heat. Be patient and continue to straighten your hair in small sections.
Another important thing to remember – always comb your hair thoroughly before and after you use the flat iron. Your hair might burn if there are any knots while pressing the hot iron against it. Again, you have to comb your hair after straightening, so that it doesn’t immediately curl up again.
If you want to try out more options instead of applying direct heat to your hair, then you can use chemical relaxants. Even though it can take hours for effect to occur, it lasts comparatively longer than flat irons or electric combs.
These relaxants contain chemicals that relax the cortex of the hair and, by doing so, helps you to straighten them. However, make sure that your hair is clean and free from knots and dirt beforehand as that will react badly with the chemicals.
Furthermore, to protect your hair from within, make a habit of applying hair oil regularly from at least two to three weeks before the procedure. You can use a protein conditioner as well every week to strengthen your hair.
Also, put on proper gloves before applying the relaxant. Once everything’s set up properly, slather the mixture onto your hair and ensure that each section is covered properly. Keep it on for ten to fifteen minutes or, as instructed.
If possible, it’s best to get this done by a professional if you lack the experience. Again, sometimes an individual might have an allergic reaction to any of the chemicals in the relaxant. So, it’s important to keep an eye out for that as well.
Keratin & Brazilian Hair Treatments
This is one of the most effective ways to achieve straight hair for a long time. However, you really should visit a certified professional to get this type of treatment as they require special equipment and accessories.
In this treatment, keratin itself is used strategically to smoothen out the hair cuticles. As a result, the cortex is in a more relaxed position, and it becomes easier to straighten them.
Again, since keratin helps to bond the hair strands together, the straight hair lasts for months instead of mere weeks.
In addition to the straightening, Keratin hair treatments or Brazilian blowouts will ensure healthy hair and bring a glossy vibe to it. You will, however, have to spend over 400 bucks to get proper treatment.
Also, you’ll have to abstain from washing your hair for the next few days as the keratin needs time to work on the hair from inside. A regular application of hair oil is needed as well for the hair to remain healthy and shiny for a long time.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of Straightening Black Hair At Home?
Depends on perspective and experience completely. If you are accustomed to the procedures and can take probable care of your hair, do it at home by all means! That way, you can save up all the costs of going to hair parlors or spas as well.
Plus, you won’t have to wait for appointments. You can do it at 3 in the morning for all that matters. But, there are a lot of disadvantages to this as well.
For example – you won’t always have the right accessories or relaxants available to you at home. At least, not in a way you’ll find them at the salon. Also, since you can’t see the back of your head, it’s harder to straighten the hair back there.
But personally, everyone just needs to be pampered once in a while and that’s why it’s necessary to treat ourselves to these small joys. So, instead of stressing out over it at home, it’s much better if you just take a trip to the salon instead.
Should You Straighten Your Hair As a Black Man?
There are many controversial opinions regarding whether black men should straighten their hair or not. For some unknown reason, many believe that it’s somehow cultural appropriation while others feel that it ruins the natural African-American look.
On the other hand, we feel that straightening African-American hair shouldn’t have anything to do with any political or racial agenda. At the end of the day, you should only do what makes you happy. If that includes straightening your hair to get a new look and style, go right for it!
Now that we are at the end of this article, what do you think? Is it possible to straighten your hair as a black man? At this point, we sure do hope that the answer is yes!
It’s entirely possible to explore a new look without going out of your way to disrespect someone else’s cultural and historical background.
As long as you keep that in mind, something as trivial as straightening your hair shouldn’t be an issue at all. So, go get that glossy straight hair right away, and like always, don’t forget to exercise proper precautions!