Step 1: Step 1: Deciding if home thermal reconditioning is right for you..
There is also a risk, as with any chemical hair treatment, that it could go poorly. Whether you are still deciding or know you want to do this, DO A TEST PATCH. Part of a thermal recondition is a thio relaxer, which can cause hair problems if your hair has been previously treated with chemical relaxers or dyes. When I did this, all of my hair had been processed with a sodium hydroxide relaxer except for a few inches of new growth, and I had no problems. But then, I have hair like rock climbing cables.
Hair type is also a consideration. I have multiethnic hair, and so many thermal treatments are not suitable for my hair. For this instructable, I used Rusk Thermal Str8, which is formulated to work on any type of hair. These days, I use One N Only Brand Thermal Ionic, Resistant formula, which is available at practically every Sally Beauty for ~$25. I recommend trying a test patch of ONO first to see if it works for you, as it is about a third of the cost of the Rusk stuff.
Step 2: Test Patch
Heres how you do it:
After about 5 minutes, take your treated strand, and tie it in a loose knot, just tight enough that you cannot see through the middle at all. Then let go. If your hair bounces and you can see through the center of your knot again, then it isn't done yet. Keep the solution in until the knot stays closed even after you let go. For me, this is about 30 to 45 minutes.
Wash out the solution and flat iron. Comb through a small amount of the Step 2 solution, let rest for 5 minutes, wash out, let dry, and check the condition.
If you have problems with breakage or are unsatisfied with the hair after this test patch is completed, DO NOT process the rest of your hair.
Make sure to record your processing time!!
Step 3: Applying Step 1
Step 4: Flat Iron
Rusk recommends doing it this way:
First blow dry your hair until it is about half dry. Then put in a heat protectant- either the one rusk recommends or any silicone or soy based hair serum(hair spray not recommended). Finish blow drying, and begin flat ironing,
ONO does it this way:
Again, blow dray hair until it is half dry. Then, let it air dry naturally the rest of the way. Flat iron.
Both methods have worked equally well for me. Whichever you use, be sure to iron the hair completely straight from root to end, and make sure that it stays flat out while you're straightening the rest. Keep in mind that the hair is delicate in this stage, so don't pull it hard and try to keep brushing to a minimum.
Step 5: Applying Step 2
Note: this stuff is RANK. Unfortunately, I was unprepared for this, and so one of my nice towels ended up ruined and my bathroom reeked for a week. I've since gotten better at containing the stink, but my bathroom always smells a little funny for a few hours after. Make sure to be careful applying this stuff so as to not get it around the bathroom, and use a towel you aren't terribly attached to when you get out of the shower, and give it a good wash right away.
Step 6: Flat ironing...again
Its been a little while, and I don't have a set of ONO Thermal Ionic instructions on hand, but I'm pretty sure that with ONO you can skip this step altogether. Crazy that the cheaper one is easier, right? I think it has to do with the fact that Rusk promises to work on absolutely any head...but that's just a guess.