Reducing Human Hair Including Permanent Waving and Straightening

  • Clarence R. Robbins


The physical chemistry of the primary reactions involved in permanent waving and reductive and alkaline straightening and depilation of human hair are described in detail focusing on the disulfide bond its reduction/degradation, neutralization and subsequent reactions. The influence of mercaptan structure, excess reactant, pH and cysteine in different parts of the fiber on the chemical equilibrium in this reaction is explained. Factors affecting the kinetics of this reaction such as mercaptan structure, temperature, different hair types, hair swelling and hair condition, counterion effects, other reducing agents such as sulfite or bisulfite and side reactions of the reduction process are also described. The chemistry of alkaline straightening is contrasted to permanent waving including the importance of supercontraction to its permanence. Discussion of water setting, set and supercontraction and the swelling of hair (primarily transverse changes in the fiber) at different stages of these processes are also considered. The current understanding of chemical changes to the different morphological regions of hair, the cuticle, the cell membrane complex and the cortex of hair produced by these reactions is also described.


Disulfide Bond Human Hair Wool Fiber Thioglycolic Acid Pressure Differential Scanning Calorimetry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clarence Robbins Technical ConsultingClermontUSA

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