As humans, we are all unique… and so are our hair types. We can have a large array of hair going from fine, thin, and straight to robust, curly, and full. But regardless of where we fall in those two categories or in between, we have something in common; why our hair is the way it is.
In each strand of hair we have unique chemical bonds that can be found in the strand. These chemical bonds are sensitive to heat and break during straightening (where they are flattened), curling, or blow-drying. Styling with heat products works because it temporarily changes the texture of the hair strand. According to Cornell University, we can thank the hydrogen bonds that form between the keratin proteins in each strand for our natural hairstyles.
Cornell reports that the hydrogen bonds that can be found in each hair strand are weak and easily affected by water and therefore, easily react to humidity in the air. There study reports that the reason why certain hair products work better than others is because they are responsible for coating hair strands temporarily with products that diminish the penetration of water into the hair. The study also continues on to discuss why hair is naturally curly or straight. The conclusion that was based was that the curlier your hair is, the more disulfide bonds you have in each strand. In short, keratin proteins contain cysteines (amino acids) that are linked by disulfide bonds, which consist of two sulfur atoms that are bound together.
The only thing is, askbiologist.or.uk reports that disulfide bonds are not affected by water and can only have their covalent bonds broken by extreme heat (that often times cannot be administered by a hair straightener) allowing the conclusion that hair straighteners do not break these covalent bonds, but in fact “re-naturates” the keratin proteins found in the strands of the hair. But after a conclusion like this, one must ask why do certain heat styling products work better than others?
According to livestrong.com and ehow.com, non-ceramic products do not heat the hair cuticle from the inside out and therefore heats the outside of the hair first causing damage to your hair and a shorter lasting affect. The website continues to say that ceramic straighteners thermally straighten hair by using heat to temporarily break down and reform the hydrogen molecules in the hair cuticle. With this being true, to limit potential damage to your hair, the AAD/The American Academy of Dermatology does not suggest straightening your hair more than 2-3 times a week using heat or using an iron that exceeds the temperature of 347 degrees Fahrenheit. After learning about how heat styling works, what would you change while styling your hair?
*First photo obtained on redkensaloon.com
*Second photo obtained on my-hair-style.com