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For men and women with curly hair, straightening the hair strands requires either a heat tool or a product like hair straightening gel. Sold by several different beauty brands, this gel releases the curl in the hair strands, allowing them to lie flat and straight against the head. The product also gives hair extra hold and helps control frizzy or fly-away hair.
As with most hair products, hair straightening gel can be used every day or only occasionally when the user wants to achieve a different look. The hair gel works in several different ways. For example, once applied, its weight works against the curl in the hair strands, pulling the strands downward so that they lie straight. As the product dries, it helps lock the style into place, keeping the hair straight until the product is washed out with a shampoo. Since the gel coats the hair strands, it also helps reduce the frizz that is caused by moisture in the air.
Traditional straightening methods cause damage to the hair. Stylists apply a chemical solution and use heat to relax curls and waves, but while this process lasts for several weeks, the combination of chemicals and heat causes the hair strands to break and split at the ends. The chemical solution can also strip the hair, causing the strands to appear dull.
Unlike professional treatments or heat tools, hair straightening gel does not damage the hair strands. A hair straightener can be used at home to temporarily straighten wavy or curly hair. This tool generates heat and is run over the hair strands, forcing them to lie flat. As with professional heating tools, however, this heat damages the hair. Straightening gel does not generally contain a high level of chemicals and does not require heat to work.
Applying hair straightening gel is a simple process. A dime- to quarter-sized amount of the product is poured onto the top of wet hair. Once applied, the product is either brushed through or pulled through the hair by hand. After application, the hair can be dried using a blow dryer or allowed to dry naturally.
Removing the hair straightening gel is also simple. Washing the entire head with a mild shampoo in cool or warm water will remove the product. A trace amount of hair straightening gel may remain on the hair after washing. In these cases, a second wash with a mild shampoo is necessary to remove any lingering product.