Chemical Texturizing Services
Cosmetologists are trained and licensed to perform chemical texturizing services to hair, such as permanent waving, commonly called “perming” and chemical straightening. Permanent waving involves softening the hair with chemicals so that the hair will take the shape of whatever it is wound upon (usually permanent wave rods of varying sizes, depending upon the tightness of curl desired), and then allowed to harden (by means of applying a chemical called “neutralizer”) so that it when it is brought back to its natural state, it will have a new “curled” configuration. The curl is permanent, meaning that it is there until it grows out and/or is cut off. Permanent waves last anywhere from several months to a year or more, depending upon the length of the hair and how often it is cut. Because permanent waving involves altering the structure of the hair with chemicals, cosmetologists must have knowledge of chemistry not only to ensure that the process will be successful, but also so that the hair and scalp will not be chemically damaged. Permanent wave services usually take around two hours, as opposed to a haircut, which commonly takes about 30 minutes, and cosmetologists must schedule appointments accordingly to allow ample time to complete the service.
When doing a perm, the cosmetologist will do a consultation with the client, in which information is obtained about the size of curl as well as the type (such as spiral) that the client is looking for. The cosmetologist then decides what size perm rods (the curlers that are used for permanent waving) to use to achieve the amount of curl that the client wants.
Cosmetologists use their education and knowledge regarding chemistry to select the type of permanent wave that would be best for each client, based upon the length, texture, and condition of the hair.
Cosmetologists are also trained to chemically straighten hair, which can transform frizzy or curly hair into straight, silky hair. This process, also known as “relaxing” the hair, is chemically similar to permanent waving, except that instead of wrapping the hair around permanent wave rods, the chemical is applied while the hair is combed straight. The cosmetologist checks whether or not the hair is softened enough by pressing it with the back of the comb. When it is determined that processing is complete, the hair is rinsed and neutralized in its straight position. Like a permanent wave, relaxing is a permanent service that will last until the hair grows out or is cut off. For clients who aren’t interested in chemical straightening, their hair can be temporarily straightened with styling tools such as a flat iron or a blow dryer.