The Real Science Behind Hair Straightening

Technologies are developing day by day and advanced technologies are making our life easier than ever. Nowadays, we are using technology in every sphere of our life. Using technologies have made our life reliable and comfortable.

Who doesn’t love smooth straight hair? I used to have wavy hair, which I never liked ever. I always wanted to have straight, silky hair as it gives an elegant look. I have temporarily straightened my hair many times but never got the courage to do it permanently as I always heard it badly damaged hair. But I wanted it desperately.

I know that the process of straightening is related to science. Even we can find the presence of science everywhere around us. So I decided to do a little research to find out the real science behind hair straightening to know the thing better.

Scales on the cuticle layers of our hair can be smooth, or raised. When they are raised, our hair is more vulnerable to heat damage, wind damage and breakage as the scales can catch on each other. Source: Flickr

Scales on the cuticle layers of our hair can be smooth or raised. When they are raised, our hair is more vulnerable to heat damage, wind damage, and breakage as the scales can catch on each other. Source: Flickr

As you know, science is everywhere; every single thing is somehow connected to science. So before doing any experiment, it’s better to know the up to the toe of the real science behind hair straightening. This article will be beneficial for those who are straightening their hair daily or planning to have permanently straight hair. So any further due, let’s have a look:

Why is Awareness about the Science of Hair Straightening Important?

Hair is the most noticeable part of our body and is also very sensitive. How does your hair look like? It matters a lot as the hairstyle enhances the personality & beauty of a person. It can change your entire look in no time. There is a saying, “Your hair is considered the symbol of your youthfulness.” Because of all these significant roles it plays, it became a matter of great concern for everyone.

Beautiful, strong, and straight hair always attracts people naturally for its beauty. So most people, especially girls, have a tendency to straighten their hair. But usually, they remain unaware of the fact that it can cause hair fall, hair loss, or hair damage. So it’s essential for those who have a tendency of straightening their hair very often to know the real science behind hair straightening.

Knowing the science behind hair straightening will make you aware of what you are doing. There are also some matters of concern. You know that there are many processes to straighten your hair like using a straighter machine or using some cream to straighten your hair, which you will find in the local market.

You need to choose the technique you want to apply to your hair consciously. In the case of using straightening cream, you also need to know the ingredients it contains, which can be harmful to your hair sometimes.

What Is The Science Behind Hair Straightening?

When people want to change the shape of their hair to get rid of their curls or their wavy hair and try to make it straight, these disulfide bonds face a great problem. Most hair straightening techniques target these bonds. Heat is the easiest method of breaking these bonds. The flat iron technique is the most common heating technique; thus, we get straight hair.

Anatomy of the hair shaft.

Anatomy of the hair shaft


In this technique, the electric iron plates are heated to a high temperature between 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and they work on hair. You need to place your hair inside the two iron plates and then need to pull them upside to down over your hair.

When hair is passed through the iron, the plates hold hair tightly and straightly. You must be cautious about the pressure you are giving to your hair as extra pressure can break your hair down. Another thing you need to be cautious about is the heat limit. Extreme heat can break the disulfide bonds of our hair. This breakage moves around the keratin chains slightly, and that results in the straightened hair.

Facts That Determines the Natural Shape of Hair

The root of the hair is called the hair follicle. Hair follicles anchor every single hair into our scalp. The Hair bulb gives form to the base of the hair follicle. Inside the hair bulb, there are living cells. These cells divide and grow to build the hair shaft. The part above the hair shaft is called hair. The hair shaft is made of proteins called “Keratin” and “Melanin.” There are also some small amounts of metallic elements with these proteins.

The hair shaft consists of three parts: Cuticle, Cortex, and Medulla. Suppose a single hair is a tube containing two more concentric tubes inside it; parts of hair are also decorated in the same way.

The last tube layer of hair is called the “Cuticle,” protective exterior material made of downward-pointing scales. The middle tube layer is called the “Cortex,” which contains melanin granules and oval bodies, which determine the hair color & hair shape. The center tube layer is called the “Medulla” which is made of scales.

The follicle determines what shape the cuticle will get, either round or oval, and this cuticle determines the shape of our hair. A round cuticle is even from all sides and gives rise to straight hair, while the oval-shaped cuticle gives rise to curly or wavy hair.

The Way Heat Styling Change Hair Shape

Heat styling techniques that use flat iron are temporary because they only use heat to straighten hair. The excess heat breaks the disulfide bonds temporarily, and this temporary breakage allows the strands to get formed straightly, and when the hair cools down, the bonds get back to their old form. Though, humidity or getting the hair wet reverts the hair to its original form.

Is It Possible To Change Hair Shape Permanently?

In permanent straightening, it uses a strong reducing agent to break the disulfide bonds. A strong alkaline solution, like sodium hydroxide or ammonium thioglycolate, is used for this starting step. Once it’s done and left to sit for a while, the hair is combed straight and held in that position when acidic solutions are added, and the acidic solution neutralizes the base by allowing the bonds to form in their new positions.

How Hair Styling Damage Hair

Heat styling causes cracks in our hair’s protective cuticle layer; thus, hair easily gets damaged from chemicals and sunlight. Excess use of heat leads to the degradation of the cortex layer; thus, we get dry, dull, and frizzy hair. The use of high temperature also sometimes causes the steam to be trapped in the hair, which leads to the loss of the cuticle layer that protects your hair. As a result, it leads to hair breakage.

Shortly we can say, in temporary hairstyling, the physical side bonds of the hair are modified by exposing it to heath. In contrast, in permanent hairstyling, the permanent form is achieved by breaking the hair’s chemical side bonds. Both stylings lead to damage to the cuticle layer, and excess use of these methods can cause more severe damage.

Thus the best way to avoid hair damage is to eat healthy food. As we all know, hair is made of protein; intake of adequate amounts of protein will help you get healthy hair.


The things we notice in a person at a glance, hair is one of those. People always try to wear their hair perfectly to look better to others, and most of the girls choose hair straightening in this case. But they might not know that it can cause great harm to the hair.

Here we have tried to let you know all the real science behind hair straightening so that you can change your decision if you are planning to straighten your hair permanently. Is this article helpful or not? Let us know in the comment. I think now you have successfully understood the science behind hair straightening.

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