While it is easy for previously unprocessed hair to withstand the chemical straightening process, it can wrack havoc on already thin, weak, or bleached hair. There are five main types of hair straightening, and all of them cause varying degrees of dryness and hair breakage.
So, if you are thinking to straighten your hair permanently or temporarily, you might have considered ways to reduce this damage, like putting oil in hair before straightening.
So, should you put oil in your hair before straightening to help reduce the damage caused by chemicals like ammonium thioglycolate?
No, because putting any oil in your hair before employing any hair straightening technique will not get you perfectly smooth and sleek hair. The oil limits the chemical action to break the disulfide bonds responsible for getting you straight hair.
Moreover, flat ironing hair that contains oil is more damaging than using a flat iron on dry hair strands or those containing heat protectants. How? We will answer it shortly.
This article takes a closer look at whether you should put oil in your hair before straightening it using chemicals or flat iron. So, Let’s get started!
Should I Put Oil In My Hair Before Straightening?
All of the techniques you employ to straighten your hair involve breaking hydrogen and disulfide bonds. Typically, chemical hair straightening deals with breaking disulfide bonds and flat ironing with hydrogen bonds. So, if you put oil to protect your hair, you are limiting the action of chemicals or heat from breaking those bonds and straightening your hair.
Therefore, you may not consider straightening your hair when it contains oil. Otherwise, you will not get compensation for the chemical damage in the shape of straight hair.
In the following, we have explained why you shouldn’t put oil in your hair before straightening with any of these techniques.
Can You Put Oil In Your Hair Before Flat Ironing?
Flat ironing your hair is a relatively safe hair straightening technique as it only breaks and flattens hydrogen bonds. But it only lasts until you wash your hair which reverts these flattened bonds.
Why shouldn’t you use oil before flat ironing your hair? The first thing is oil doesn’t allow heat to do its work of breaking bonds, and you may need to increase the temperature of the flat iron to a damaging level.
Secondly, when you heat the oil to a specific temperature, they start to burn, producing harmful smoke. All oils like coconut you use on hair except olive and argan have a smoke point less than 400°F.
So, when you put oil in your hair before flat ironing, it limits the action of heat, and to straighten your hair, you may need to go above 400°F. And this temperature will not only burn the oil but damage your hair strands by ripping off their moisture and proteins.
Therefore, what’s the point of putting oil in your hair before straightening it with a flat iron when you can use certified heat protectants?
If you want to straighten your bleached hair, give it time to recover from the chemical damage. And then, you can flat iron it occasionally while using heat protection.
Should You Chemically Straighten Hair That Contains Oil?
Chemical Hair straightening can be permanent or temporary. Hair rebounding, mainly done at salons, involves harsh bond relaxant and neutralizer. In other words, you can call it a perm that straightens your hair. It lasts until your hair grows but is the most damaging of all the hair straightening techniques.
The temporary hair straightening can be done at home by buying an at-home kit that lasts for a few months.
During the chemical hair straightening, you or your hairstylist applies a solution to your hair strands that breaks the core bonds, also called disulfide, to change the configuration of proteins. If you put oil before applying this hair straightening solution, the bonds will not break fully because the oil will restrain the chemical from working.
As a result, you will not be able to straighten your hair and may need to reapply the straightening solution after rinsing out the oil. So, it is better not to put the oil in your hair at the first step.
If you are trying to straighten your virgin hair, it may easily withstand the chemical. However, if you already have straightened or bleached your manes, give them some time to get healthy and thick to handle chemical havoc.
How To Use Oil Before Hair Straightening?
Whether you are doing it at home or going to a salon, hair straightening involves varying degrees of damage to your hair. Dryness and breakage are the most common repercussions of chemical hair straightening or excessive flat ironing.
So, you would need to prepare your hair to withstand this damage. In this regard, you can use the following oils.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the most useful of all oils when moisturizing and nourishing your hair. It contains medium-chain fatty acids that penetrate the hair shaft instantly.
According to a study, coconut oil prevents protein loss from hair strands more than mineral and sunflower oil during chemical treatment. Therefore, people who want to lift their hair color to only one or two levels put coconut oil in their hair before bleaching.
However, putting coconut oil in your hair before straightening might resist the chemical action that breaks disulfide bonds and reconfigure the protein structure to help you get straight hair. So, you may need to reapply straightening solution that can be severely damaging for hair.
So, if you want to prevent hair damage and breakage and also want to have straight manes, start conditioning your hair a month or weeks ago before straightening. It will strengthen your hair with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
2. Argan Oil
When comparing the medium-chain fatty acid content, Argan oil is no different from coconut oil. It is moisturizing but doesn’t contain amino acids like coconut oil. Argan oil has more antioxidants like vitamin E and phenols that help hair growth and prevent damage.
So, if you want to protect your hair from straightening damage, start applying argan oil weeks before visiting the salon. It will make your manes thicker. However, putting argan oil in your hair before straightening will do more harm than good by not allowing the chemicals to work properly.
Putting any oil in your hair while straightening it using the chemical solution or flat iron can’t protect your hair from damage. It limits the action of straightening chemicals, and you may not get perfectly straight hair.
Flat ironing the oily hair also does not go well. The heat from flat iron may warm the oil that will damage your manes. It produces toxic smoke, which can be dangerous to inhale. However, you use these oils to nourish and prepare your hair for straightening.