A peek into the world of amino acid based strengthening/straightening systems.

I love how the hair and beauty industry is constantly seeking to address the ever evolving needs of ladies (and men too actually) Once it became clear that a lot of women were seeking more natural alternatives in their hair and body products, it became normal to see things like 'paraben free' 'alcohol free' 'mineral oil free' etc. Shea butter, argan oil, Amla and coconut oil were the new 'It' ingredients and with the awareness of more and more women 'going natural' all of a sudden whole lines were created and dedicated to natural hair.

Seeing that the versatility of natural hair included the option to wear it straight one week and curly the next, we saw a rise in the Keratin and (a little more infamous) Brazilian blow out systems. Now these were products which helped straighten out curly hair - giving the client a chance to have her hair straight for up to 12 weeks before it reverted back to its curly state.

These systems began to gain popularity till it was discovered that a lot of them contained formaldehyde - a strong smelling gas that presents a health hazard when it is breathed in or comes in contact with skin; causing allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs. If it accidentally gets into eyes, it can cause blindness! ( Na real wa!) The use of  the Brazilian blowout system has now been banned now in a lot of places.

Enter the amino acid based straightening systems - not only are they safer, but they don't break or rearrange the disulfide bonds in hair (the bonds that determine the curliness or straightness of hair) the way chemical based treatments would. They also help strengthen hair because the chains of amino acids fill whatever gaps exist in hair fibers - fortifying the hair and making it stronger, healthier and shinier.

These systems are also really great for ladies who are transitioning and want something that will help blend their textures as one common problem amongst transitioners is managing 2 different textures.

The systems I've come across use the active Cysteine amino acid which is found in keratin and since our hair is made up of keratin, using an active cysteine amino acid based product protects the hair and prevents it from falling out!

Now the Keratin treatments would require you to come back in 3 - 4 days to wash out the treatment but with the amino acid based treatments, everything can be done at one sitting in the salon.
Design Essentials Strengthening System used by us in the Salon
The process is still a little involved though depending on which brand you use as you need to wash the hair, apply the treatment, blow dry the hair and then seal in the treatment using a flat iron. After the hair has cooled, it  then has to be washed again, conditioned, dried and finally styled.

Which is why the Beautiful Textures system is piquing interest because it's a simple 4 step process which can be done at home - wash, condition, blow dry and flat iron!

Having said all that, not everyone is on board with anything that wants to (even temporarily) straighten their natural hair as they see it as the beauty industry still trying to introduce a relaxer(ish) type of product and make naturals view their hair differently. I think its just an option to wear your hair in a different form but that's my own personal opinion.

So is this something you would consider knowing it wont permanently straighten your hair or damage it but actually help strengthen/fortify it?


  1. So well written KL.
    I read about the Beautiful Textures product. Like you said, some naturals hate the idea. I guess for some it's a matter of principle.
    I've been transitioning for going on 7 months and haven't used heat in over 3 years. I'm very wary of it so it's definitely not something I would do often while natural. However I know that once in a (long) while I would like to wear my hair straight and it would be nice for it to last longer than a regular flat iron would- since using heat will be a rare occurrence.
    So yes I wouldn't mind trying something that will very safely straighten, but be temporary.
    (Sorry to be so longwinded) ��

    1. Thank you Sandra! No longwindedness there! I think we're on the same page. I won't mind this for those rare moments I want my hair totally straight. I'm also on a no - heat diet so it would be fun to have something that will both strengthen and straighten when I use heat.

  2. Lol, I already aired my view in the previous post. I think the TMS demo on Sunday will be one to watch - remind me to make sure my cameras are completely charged. I still would like to know what, if any long term effects there are. And also, do they expect people to reuse the product every 6 weeks? Ah well, I might try it sometime - if YOU do it :D

    1. Yes Dahling you sure did! lol. ooooh I didn't realise there was a TMS demo on Sunday. I shall love to see that too. Don't worry, I will be using it sometime later in the year when I do my 2nd length check :D so you have you excuses

  3. What we need to realize is that the non-black owned beauty industry is interested in our MONEY!!! From the time Johnson white people discovered that black women are a cash cow they have done everything in their power to dominate the BLACK HAIR CARE INDUSTRY. L'Oreal bought Carol's Daughter, Ivax which owns Flori Roberts, a black makeup line started by a white woman, bought Johnson products so Ultra Sheen,Gentle Treatment etc. are all white owned. One black company had to take a manufacturer to court because they refused to sell her products BECAUSE SHE WAS BLACK. All they want from black women is their MONEY yet black women go all over the internet pushing products of non-black companies. Why don't we do as they do and promote our own? Sadly, the overly aggressive gestures of white owned companies left many black companies unable to compete.

    To add injury to insult, then president of Revlon Irving Bottner told Newsweek magazine, “In the next few years, Black-owned businesses will disappear. They’ll all be sold to the White companies.“

    Why are we helping people who actually despise us and send our men to prison. Black women need to stop putting BILLIONS OF DOLLARS into the hands of people who have no problem defending Alton Sterling's and Philando Castile's killers.

    If black women would stop supporting the major hair care companies we would save a lot of money. I buy my base conditioner from the dollar store the add a few ingredients from lotioncrafter.com and my kitchen. I think my conditioner does the job and compares very well to anything out here.