Women's Health (South Africa) - - BEAUTY & STYLE -

More and more women are trad­ing re­lax­ers for nat­u­ral ringlets – but the in-be­tween phase can take some work. A lit­tle back­ground: there are three meth­ods for per­ma­nently straight­en­ing or re­lax­ing hair and they all work by break­ing the disul­fide bonds in curls to smooth them into straight strands, says cos­metic chemist Jim Ham­mer. The straight­en­ers may be per­ma­nent, but new root growth dis­rupts the sleek­ness. The full grow-out process takes time (up to two years if you want hair to fall past the shoul­ders!), so you’ll have plenty of time to per­fect your me­di­a­tion skills.


Choose one that will tran­si­tion seam­lessly with the shape of your in­com­ing curls to make the grow-out process eas­ier. For ex­am­ple, hair­styl­ist Ur­sula Stephen sug­gests that some­one with tighter coils go for a short afro style (the round shape of the grow­ing hairs plays well with the round shape of the look) and that some­one with flat­ter waves try a lob (a sharp cut flat­ters this type of hair, which grows down in­stead of out).


The lived-in wave (a curl to­ward the roots with box­ier ends) is hav­ing a mo­ment, so girls with a wavier curl pat­tern are in luck. To en­hance your in­com­ing curls, wrap sec­tions of hair around a five-cen­time­tre curl­ing iron, leav­ing out eight cen­time­tres of your ends. An­other pro trick? Book fre­quent trims and ask your stylist to tex­turise ends – it will soften the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two tex­tures, mak­ing the curly top and straight bot­tom more vis­ually har­mo­nious.


As your new hair grows in, don’t for­get to give some TLC to the older strands, which can be weak­ened dur­ing the re­lax­ing process, says Ham­mer. Once a week, ap­ply an ul­tra­repar­a­tive, deep-con­di­tion­ing treat­ment to the straight parts for 10 min­utes to help heal dam­age, then rinse. Look for one with strength­en­ing in­gre­di­ents, like vi­ta­min B5 found in Carol’s Daugh­ter Black Vanilla Mois­ture & Shine Hair Smoothie (R299).

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