Why Hair Reverts

Why does the hair revert? After all, the hair has been permanently altered. Uneven hair porosity will lead to uneven penetration of chemicals during processing. Hair has varying degrees of porosity or resistance along its length with hair nearest the scalp being less damaged, and therefore, more resistant to penetration than hair near the ends. This explains why some people say: “I love my TR, however, the ends of my hair are fried”.

Most hair care products, including shampoo and conditioners often leave a waxy film on the hair. Coatings have negative effects on chemical services, they counteract the lasting qualities of chemically straightened hair. Occasionally, hairsprays leave a coating on the hair shaft that can’t be removed with normal shampooing. This type of coating should be removed before beginning any reactive chemical process.

You will find this even more so with long hair (6 inches or longer) or hair with straightened or color-processed ends. Not making allowance for this variability can lead to uneven straight patterns, extreme dryness near ends or broom-stick-like frizzy ends with not enough straightness near the scalp. •Some clients seem to have a hair variation which causes rapid reversion. This variation may be influenced by medicines and the state of health. This hair also seems to have excessive elongation. Bleached/highlighted hair has less structural support, and usually reverts more quickly.

Unsuccessful results and reversion can also be due to:
  • Structurally incompetent hair that was not properly reconditioned before it was straightened.
  • Neutralizing lotion rinsed too soon or too late. Over neutralizing can be as damaging to the hair structure as the straightening crème; over-processing can change the texture of the hair—permanently, and make it coarse.
  • Straightening creme left too long or not left long enough.
  • Improper rinsing between the straightening creme and the neutralizing lotion step trap thioglycolate in the hair.
  • Wrong formula.
  • Improper application techniques.
  • Did not follow manufacturer’s directions.
  • No professional follow-up reconditioning treatments.
  • Improper at-home care, and plain neglect!

Professional chemical straightening, as with any other major salon service presents some factors that can cause failure that is out of the stylist’s control. It doesn’t always work! The ultra-violet rays from sunlight have the capabilities of breaking the previously altered disulfide bonds to gradually revert to its original form. Chlorine is an oxidizing agent which attacks the protein structure of the hair, thereby weakening it and causing loss of elasticity. Anything taken into the bloodstream can usually affect the hair, medication, and poor diet.

Clients using anti-dandruff shampoos which are sulfur based will notice their chemically straightened hair revert faster. Anti-dandruff shampoos, baby shampoos and many hair care preparations have the capabilities of breaking the altered disulfide bonds, thereby allowing the hair to revert back to its original state.

There are also medical conditions that are thought to interfere with straightening service. Certain medications may alter the balance between “spring-like” and “glue-like” proteins, or interfere with the formation of disulfide bonds in the hair’s protein structure. Unfortunately, there is little evidence on specific medications, though thyroid medication, tranquilizers, birth control pills, and anti-cancer drugs have all been suggested. Antibiotics, blood pressure, heart, and hormonal medications, may also interfere with the performance of hair straightening.

Scientific tests prove that medications administered internally will reach the hair shaft in approximately 48 to 72 hours and will be present throughout the hair shaft in about 12 days. Medications present in the hair shaft will not harm you, however, the hair may not be rendered completely straight and may also cause breakage. If the client has a medical problem, it is suggested that chemical straightening be tried at a later date.

Hair type and diameter will also affect the success of straightening. As diameter varies, so does the proportion of cuticle to cortex. Up to 40% of the cross-sectional area of fine hair may be cuticle compared to 10% for coarse hair. The high proportion of hard, moisture-resistant cuticle in fine hair means less setting power, combability and increased abrasive damage caused by tangling.

Before we continue let me just say that these causes aren’t meant to be used as excuses for all failures. I brought them to your attention so that you would have a clearer idea right from the consultation of how to plan and help avoid any failures.