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Straightening Gone Wrong


Straightening Hair PictureMany of us have unmanageable, frizzy hair that refuses to behave, or are faced with the hassle and rush on a morning to tame ‘bed-head hair’ that we find ourselves completely unable to avoid waking up with.  For those who see chemical straightening as a viable and appealable option to solving this problem, the nightmare caused by a mishandled procedure is a final straw and more unnecessary hassle and concern.

Once you’ve discussed all your options with an expert, the process of having your hair chemically straightened is, in theory, a relatively simple process. On the other hand, while there are only a few steps involved in chemically straightening hair, it does require precise timing and the use of some dangerous chemicals which can cause problems if not handled correctly.

A hairdresser should follow the chemical straightening procedure as follows:

  • Determine the hair type.
  • Conduct a ‘strand test’ which involves pulling the hair, applying a little relaxer and then doing a finger test.
  • Apply a protective base cream to the hairline, tops and backs of the ears and to partings in between sections of hair.
  • Heat the hair and process it for the appropriate amount of time.
  • Thoroughly wash the chemicals off with warm water.
  • Apply a neutralizing formula to oxidise and restore the hair’s natural pH.


If your hairdresser misses one of these steps or did it incorrectly your hair could be badly damaged.

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It is important to determine the hair type as each requires one of several different chemicals to straighten the hair.  Sodium hydroxide is the strongest relaxer, which softens the hair fibres and causes the hair to swell. Guanidine hydroxide is a no-lye relaxer which is weaker than sodium hydroxide, but it can still do damage. The chemicals can leave a reddish cast but this can be removed by a colour rinse. The correct strength of relaxer must be used to stop your hair being unnecessarily damaged and further weakened.

A strand test must always be done to determine your hair’s elasticity. Poor elasticity only stretches a limited extent and it breaks easily. A little relaxer must be applied to see how your hair reacts to make sure that it is safe to continue with the full procedure and that the right chemical is being used for your hair type.

Straightening Hair PictureThe protective base cream is vital as it protects the scalp from coming into contact with the chemicals which might cause irritation, burning or blistering.

If the hair is processed for too long under the heat then the hair becomes damaged and over-processed making it dry and fragile. In extreme situations hair can end up being fried making it dry and over-porous.

The chemicals must be thoroughly washed off with warm (not hot or cold) water otherwise they could burn, blister or irritate the scalp.

Neutralising the hair is a vital step as it stops the process and restores the hair’s pH. A high pH could cause the hair to swell and break off.

The hair should not be combed during this process because its elasticity can be affected. If it is combed it could be stretched up to twice its normal length. Also, the hair is very fragile during this process and easy to break which can occur while it is being combed

If you recognise any of the above symptoms or suspect that you hairdresser has not conducted one of these important steps, you may be entitled to compensation. Bad hairdressing and hairdresser’s negligence are problems that can cause you both stress and injury.  As this is the case, these problems should be dealt with legally so that you can make the best of an unfortunate situation. If you would like to receive advice and help with your situation, call Free phone 0800 980 9386 or 01642 252828. Alternatively, visit the website at and complete the online claim form. Macks Solicitors will be happy to give you expert advice on making a compensation claim for the extra expenses and for your emotional and physical injuries. Making a claim with Macks Solicitors will help you to deal with and move past the stress and upset inflicted upon you by hairdresser’s negligence.