Practical discussion on thermal reconditioning

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Thermal Reconditioning
Thermal Reconditioning is perhaps the most trendy hair straightening treatment today. This hair straightening treatment gives a glossy, smooth, shiny hair texture. Thermal reconditioning is also called 'Japanese hair straightening' as it originated in Japan and is now been practiced all over the world.

The popularity of thermal reconditioning is largely due to its long lasting effect. Once the hair is treated thermally it will never become curly in its entire cyclical process. So a second, subsequent application of thermal reconditioning will only be applicable to new curly hair. The second application of the chemicals will only be done after the new hair has completed 4-6 months of growth in order to avoid adverse effects.

Though thermal reconditioning is the best procedure to straighten curly African hair, it may sometimes cause damage in the rigid black hair As the hair fiber of African-Americans is relatively fragile and may not withstand the heat and chemicals that are used in this hair treatment.

Components and mechanism of thermal reconditioning
The main components used for thermal reconditioning are the salts of thioglycolic acids, such as ammonium thioglycolate and calcium thioglycolate. In previous times these components were used in curling the straight hair though the modern components of curling or permanent waving have largely changed. Currently these thioglycolic acids are used to straighten curly hair.

Mechanism of thioglycolic acids in thermal reconditioning

Thioglycolic acids break the cystine proteins which are present in the cortex layer of the hair shaft. The sulfur-containing amino acid cystine is an important component of the hair shaft which supports the formation of disulfide chemical bonds. These disulfide bonds give strength to keratin protein, an important element in the composition of hair fiber.

Once the cystine present in the hair fiber is broken down, the hair can be given any desired shape.

Suitability for thermal reconditioning
Some hair types may not be suitable for thermal reconditioning like previously lightened or bleached hair. As in bleaching application, it is not possible for every hair fiber to contain a similar amount of bleaching agents. So some hair fibers may be more bleached than that of the other. The hair fiber in which the application of bleaching agents are greater, are prone to quicker thermal reconditioning than the other fibers where the bleach application is comparatively less. This early completion of thermal reconditioning in some hair strands makes the overall effect of the hair treatment in the scalp unbalanced.

Hair care after thermal reconditioning
Once the thermal reconditioning is complete pay special attention to the ends of the hair. Roll the hair in a slight curve movement using a round brush. This rolling of hair is necessary or the ends may give you a broom like appearance.

A special attention also should be given to shampoos, conditioners and other styling aids that are to be applied after thermal-reconditioning. The hair becomes dry due to the excess use of chemicals so you need to use special cleansing and conditioning system that are effectively formulated for chemically treated hair.

Like any other chemical treatments for the hair, thermal reconditioning should be done by an experienced, trained professional and the results will not only be beautiful but inspiring for the person wearing the style.

Victoria L. Holloway, “Ethnic cosmetic products”, 2003, V.L. Holloway / Dermatol Clin 21 743–749
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