One of the newest phenomenons for Black hair, most often targeted for naturals, are the so-called “straightening systems” which are almost always keratin-based. Keratin is a protein and when hydrolyzed (fragmented) easily deposits itself on to the hair shaft in the regions of porosity and damage. Hydrolyzed keratin proteins are small enough to go beyond the cuticle and penetrate the hair shaft due to its low molecular weight therefore, reducing damage (read more on Hairlicious Inc) and protecting hair from heat damage. After the explosion and consequent fall of the infamous Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT) many ladies are extremely hesitant to use any “system” that claims to use keratin to aid in loosening kinks and curls, no matter how much the manufacturer reassures customers the effect is temporary. What we have to realize is that keratin is a natural component of hair and is not at all harmful by itself, BKT’s utilize high heat to seal keratin into the hair cuticle and often contains a harmful chemical, formaldehyde or a derivative.
As I said, these new smoothing systems are usually marketed for those with natural hair but everyone can benefit from them. Black hair is textured, even after relaxing, and these systems can protect the hair from heat, give sleeker results, fight frizz and extend the results of straightening. Straightening/Smoothing systmes, unlike keratin treatments, do not contain formaldehyde or urea or a high amount of heat for application making them a safe alternative to provide sleek strands with a less lasting effect, normally 4-6 weeks. However, does that mean these straightening systems for Black hair are safe? The verdict is still out…but in case you would like to take the plunge here are a 5 popular straightening systems:
- Motions Straight Finish: A 3-step system containing keratin to elongate curls consisting of a shampoo, leave in conditioner and sealer (gloss) used to transform the hair from curls and deep waves to sleek and straight. Lasts until next wash, retails for approximately $20 for all three products. See my full demonstration and review for more information.
- Design Essentials Straightening Therapy System: A heat activated, non-permanent, protein based treatment that last up to 6-12 weeks depending on how often you was your hair. STS is made up of four signature products: Strengthening Therapy Sulfate Free Cleansing Shampoo, Strengthening Therapy Transitioning Mousse, Strengthening Therapy Elongation Mousse and the Strengthening Therapy Silkening Spray. Each of the signature products work in different ways but are all designed to strengthen the hair. Our staff writer, Roni attended an informative webinar and gave her full thoughts here.
- Beautiful Textures Texture Manageability System: Allows you to go from curly to straight styles, without harsh chemicals and without permanently changing your natural hair texture. Reversible straightening lasts up to 4 to 6 weeks and the maintenance system (included) defends against reversion, fighting humidity so straight styles last longer. Check out the results our staff writer Monet(CurlsandMo) here.
- Shea Moisture Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Straightening System: Comprised of six total protein-based treatments designed to smooth, soften and control frizz which leaves textured hair more manageable for up to four weeks. Full system containing 2 oz sized products retails for $19.99. For more details, check out the product information here.
- Silk Elements Kera-Minerals Smoothing System: A technology that combines sericin silk protein with hair keratin to produce effective results in reducing frizz and volume, while adding shine and conditioning properties to the hair. Helps to loosen unmanageable curls and detangle hair with each usage. Hair becomes smoother and less frizzy. Easy to apply with no gloves needed. Dramatically reduces frizz up to 90%. Can be used on all hair types and lasts 6-8 weeks.
These systems are not only great for natural hair, but also transitioners and relaxed women who would like to stretch the amount of time between their relaxer touch ups.
Have you tried any smoothing or straightening systems for Black hair?
If so, please tell me your favorite and experience, I think I may try one soon!