Phenomenal . . .

Phenomenal . . .
Life, Growth, and Connection (This sunflower was nourished by my hands.) 2010; Photography by Benita Blocker. Please become a follower of this blog.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The effects of Heat on hair!


Through my research, I have discovered that the metal straightening combs and hot tools were sold in stores such as Bloomingdales since 1872 before Madam CJ Walker went into business. So just like hair extensions, hot tools were NOT invented with African Americans nor slaves in mind. They were invented to enhance the beauty of the elite.

On average, typical caucasian hair is naturally straight, hard to roll, and hard to maintain curl. Taking a closer look, at these characteristics would explain why beauty inventions were developed.

Straight hair that will not hold a curl means there is no body to the hair. It could look flat and thin. Thus, adding hair extensions gave a thicker look to those who felt they had straight, thin or flat hair.

Heat has been proven to denature proteins. As it relates to hair, heat allows a temporary reformulation of hair shape by adding curl or removing curl. Thus, your hot tools were developed. Initially, these hot tools did not have a thermostat built in and required a "burner" to heat them up. Examples are the traditional straightening combs and marcel waving irons.

Denaturation of protein can be seen when an egg-white goes from clear-like liquid to a firm white substance when fried. Also, the pasteurization of milk makes it "whiter" and a little thicker.

So when we think of hair(protein) on our heads, consider this: if hot tools are used when they are too hot and are used frequently, they can cause a permanent change in our hair.

This means "hard pressing" could eventually give you the same effects as a chemical relaxer. Repeated flat ironing can train the hair to remain straight; therefore giving you similar effects as a chemical relaxer.

On the flip side, renaturation of the hair may happen at a slower rate if one wants their natural curl back. Renaturation of protein is spontaneous and out of our control. It is DNA related. So the hair's natural ability to return to its original state is dependent on if we have permanently altered our hair causing it not to renature.

As far as hair shaping, we can force a curl, a wave, or straightness through heat and/or chemicals, etc.

Heat in moderation causes a temporary change. Excessive heat can cause a permanent change. Water causes a temporary change. Chemicals usually cause a permanent change.

In summary, hot tools have been around since the late 1800's for hair shaping. Hot tools used in moderation allow a temporary change in hair shape until water or moisture causes it to renature. Caution should be used when applying heat to hair because excessive temperatures can damage and permanently change the hair regardless of the type of hot tool used.

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