Hair Relaxing vs Hair Rebonding—Which Is Better?
Hair Straightening: Should You Relax or Rebond?
If you have curly, frizzy, or unmanageable hair, you may have opted to have your hair straightened permanently. Straightening hair is increasingly common among women today.
There are a number of methods for straightening hair permanently, including relaxation or rebonding (also called Japanese thermal reconditioning).
What Is the Difference Between Hair Relaxing and Hair Rebonding?
Both relaxing and rebonding use chemicals to straighten hair, but they have different costs and end results.
This procedure uses chemicals to straighten the hair by breaking down and reforming the hair's components. Typically, the treatment does not straighten the hair completely. Rather, it softens very tight or kinky curls. Many women find they still need to straighten their hair after having it relaxed if they want it to be completely straight.
The chemicals used in this process are typically lye-based. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, has a high pH level, which means it is a strong alkaline (as opposed to an acid). It can straighten very quickly but can cause scalp irritation if you leave it on for too long. However, there are non-lye relaxers—a common one is guanidine hydroxide.
- Get a consultation with a stylist, during which you'll talk about your goals and the look that you want to achieve. You should also ask what their experience is with this procedure. If they are very new, you might want to choose somewhere else to go.
- Once you've decided on getting the treatment, your hair is washed and cut, and a straightening chemical is applied and left on for about twenty minutes, which loosens the bonds in the hair.
- The solution is rinsed and then neutralized with an acidic solution.
- Your stylist will give you instructions on taking care of your hair for the next couple of days after the treatment.
- You'll need to touch up your hair every 6-8 weeks as new growth comes in.
- The procedure is relatively cheap and does not take very long to do.
- The process does not take the curl all the way out of your hair, and you will need to continue to style it.
- The procedure, if done improperly, can cause scalp irritation and burning since it is applied at the scalp level.
- The texture of the hair after relaxing can be brittle or coarse.
Hair relaxing is popular because it is very affordable and the chemicals needed to perform the procedure are cheap. However, side affects can be severe. Many people complain about their hair falling out, scalp irritation, dry hair, hair loss, scalp burns, and others. The side effects can be especially pronounced if you have your hair relaxed frequently (every eight weeks).
When looking for a place to get your hair chemically straightened, go to centers with skilled and professionally licensed stylists. The application of the chemicals requires expertise. Delayed rinsing or improper application and execution can lead to hair damage.
Video: Professional Hair Rebonding
Hair Rebonding (Also Called Japanese Straightening or Thermal Reconditioning)
This procedure was developed in Japan and has become popular in other Asian countries and communities. Rebonding uses slightly different chemicals than relaxing as well as heat in order to straighten the hair.
Rebonding is done by the application of a solution, usually a perming solution with strong chemicals like sodium hydroxide, guanidine hydroxide and ammonium thioglycolate or thio. This process breaks the hair bonds. Then a flat iron is used to reset the hair bonds and make the hair straight.
- Get a consultation with a stylist. In the consultation, you'll talk about your hair's history, and you should also learn about the stylist and how many times they've done the procedure before. Some people say that if it's less than fifty times, you should find someone else. The procedure cannot be done to someone with hair that has already been relaxed.
- Rebonding chemical is applied and then left to set, loosening the hair structure as in a perm.
- After the hair is washed, the hair bonds are reset using a flat iron.
- A neutralizing agent is applied that will preserve newly restructured hair bonds and the hair is rinsed and ironed again.
- The stylist will give you instructions on how to maintain your hair for the couple of days following the procedure as well as what you need to do on a regular basis to make the treatment last for as long as possible.
- The procedure lasts for six or seven months.
- Treated hair looks very beautiful with a rich natural texture.
- The procedure is costly and time-consuming. It can cost between $400 and $950 and take up to seven hours.
- You won't be able to try new looks (such as curls) in the months following the procedure, because this could damage your newly-straightened hair.
- You should not try this procedure if you've already had intensive hair treatments such as straightening, hair coloring, or bleaching because your hair won't be able to handle the chemicals.
- People of African descent should not use this procedure because it is too harsh and will be more damaging than hair relaxation. The procedure is best to straighten bulky, loose, or medium curls, but not kinky ones.
Rebonding is an irreversible procedure that can lead to hair damage when not done properly or if the hair is not taken care appropriately afterwards. It can also be very time-consuming—no less than four hours for the shortest hair, and even longer for those with longer or thicker hair. It can also be more expensive than straightening.
That said, most people are extremely happy with the results of rebonding because their hair requires no additional styling. You should always ask your stylist about the results he or she would expect on your specific hair type.
So there you go! Now it's up to you to decide on which treatment you want for your crowning glory (your hair!)
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.