Unit of competency details

SIHHHRS304A - Perform protein straightening and relaxing treatments (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SHBHREF003 - Straighten and relax hair with protein treatmentsNot Equivalent • Unit updated to meet the Standards for Training Packages. • Title changed.• Incorporates relevant skills and knowledge from deleted units: o SIHHCCS302A Perform a full client consultation o SIHHCCS303A Respond to service related and technical problems o SIHHHSC301A Apply the principles of hairdressing science. 30/Mar/2016

ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 19/Aug/2013
(View details for release 1) 20/Jul/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110303 Hairdressing 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110303 Hairdressing 18/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

The release details of this endorsed unit of competency are set out in the table below. The latest information is at the top.




Editorial corrections. Competency field added.


Initial release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to perform protein straightening and relaxing treatments to reduce curl or wave in the hair.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to hairdressers in hairdressing salons who consult with clients, then select and apply protein straightening and relaxing treatments to achieve finished hair designs, incorporating a predetermined degree of relaxing of curl or wave.

A person undertaking this role applies discretion and judgement and accepts responsibility for outcomes of own work.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.


SIHHHSC301A Apply the principles of hairdressing science

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria 

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

1. Assess hair and consult with client.

1.1. Analyse hair based on hair type and condition .

1.2. Identify any existing contradictions to protein straighteners  and recommend alternative treatments.

1.3. Confirm desired finished design and degree of relaxation of curl or wave with client .

1.4. Discuss what degree of smoothing and straightening can be achieved and for what period, based on the hair type and condition and product advice.

1.5. Create a client history  for new clients.

2. Select and apply protein straightening and relaxing products and equipment.

2.1. Select products  to match hair analysis and the predetermined relaxation result.

2.2. Select tools , according to product instructions and salon procedures.

2.3. Section the hair and commence apply product in a sequence and evenly from roots to ends according to manufacturer’s recommended smoothing technique .

2.4. Ensure client and operator comfort and safety  at all stages of the straightening or relaxing service, according to product instructions, safety data sheets and salon procedures.

2.5. Follow salon procedures to minimise water and product waste throughout the service.

3. Process and set the straightening product.

3.1. Process according to product instructions.

3.2. Thoroughly dry the hair and flat iron, according to product instructions.

4. Review the service and provide home care advice.

4.1. Review outcomes of service against expressed client expectations and confirm client satisfaction.

4.2. Offer after-service maintenance advice  to clients.

4.3. Update client history to include product selection, technique, outcome and purchased home hair-care products.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills to:
  • discuss and confirm client expectations
  • advise clients on degree of relaxation of curl or wave, finished hair designs and home care
  • check client comfort during each stage of the service
  • review the outcomes of the service and check client satisfaction
  • technical skills to:
  • conduct accurate preservice hair analysis
  • select products, equipment and techniques appropriate to achieve desired outcomes
  • apply protein straightening product evenly to a predetermined pattern and gently comb hair without stretch
  • apply salon safety procedures throughout protein straightening and relaxation services
  • prevent possible skin damage to client and operator
  • literacy skills to:
  • interpret and follow product instructions and safety data sheets
  • interpret and follow relevant salon procedures
  • numeracy skills to:
  • accurately measure and apply products to minimise waste
  • manage processing times

Required knowledge 

  • salon protein straightening treatment products range
  • physical actions of the following products and methods on the structure of the hair:
  • protein straighteners and relaxers
  • booster sprays
  • the application of heat
  • factors that influence achieving the planned degree of relaxing
  • manufacturer requirements for the safe use of protein treatments for straightening and relaxing hair
  • salon procedures regarding the application of protein straightening and relaxing services
  • relevant health regulations

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • conducting accurate preservice hair and scalp analysis
  • consistently selecting products, equipment and techniques appropriate to desired outcomes and predetermined designs
  • interpreting and following product instructions and safety data sheets
  • applying straightening products and techniques without hair breakage
  • successfully assessing the development of degree of curl or wave relaxing
  • performing the full rinse and neutralising service, according to product instructions or salon procedures.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • a salon or a simulated salon environment that includes a range of work situations such as client interruptions and involvement in other related activities normally expected in the salon
  • fully equipped workstation which includes as minimum:
  • an adjustable client chair
  • clean client gown or wrap
  • a plentiful supply of clean towels
  • a trolley stocked with:
  • medium-toothed combs with even edges
  • straightening boards
  • thermostatically controlled ceramic flat irons
  • barrier creams
  • cotton wool
  • plastic bowls or applicator bottles
  • applicator brushes
  • fully equipped basin services area which includes as a minimum:
  • back wash facilities
  • client shampoo chairs
  • adjustable water temperature and shampoo spray attachments
  • a plentiful supply of clean towels
  • clean client gown
  • a professional range of protein straightening products suited to match hair analysis outcomes across a range of clients
  • relevant documentation, including:
  • product instructions
  • product safety data sheets
  • salon procedures
  • a range of clients seeking chemical straightening and relaxing services.

For further guidance on the use of an appropriate simulated environment, refer to the Assessment Guidelines in this Training Package.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • observation of the learner performing a range of tasks in an actual or simulated work environment, over sufficient time to demonstrate their handling of a range of contingencies. Tasks may include:
  • conducting preservice analysis
  • predetermining with client the finished degree of straightening and relaxing
  • completing a number of full services to achieve a predetermined straightening result
  • recommending after service products and hair care routines to clients.
  • written or verbal questions appropriate to the language and literacy level of the learner to test knowledge which include:
  • the effects of products used in protein straightening or relaxing on the structure and condition of the hair
  • personal precautions
  • salon procedures to ensure:
  • client safety
  • operator safety
  • compliance with relevant health regulations
  • waste minimisation procedures
  • review of portfolios of evidence and third-party reports salon reports of on-the-job performance.

Guidance information for assessment 

A unit of competency describes an individual skill but people rarely perform one skill at a time. Many skills are combined on a day-to-day basis in the workplace as part of work processes. This does not mean that each skill described by a unit of competency is pre-requisite to another— they are related skills.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, salon and job role is recommended, for example:

  • SIHHCCS302A Perform a full client consultation
  • SIHHOHS201A Apply salon safety procedures

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Hair type and condition  may include:

  • length of hair
  • product build up
  • untreated natural curly or wavy hair
  • chemically treated hair
  • strong or resistant natural curls
  • damaged hair
  • a variety of hair types from a range of ethnic backgrounds.

Contradictions to protein straighteners  may include:

  • those identified in manufacturer’s product safety data, such as:
  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding mothers.

Clients  may include:

  • women
  • men
  • children
  • people from a range of social, cultural or ethnic backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities.

Client history  may include:

  • hair analysis outcomes
  • desired degree of relaxation
  • tool and product selection
  • straightening method
  • outcome of service
  • home hair-care products:
  • recommended
  • purchased.

Products  may include:

  • preprocess shampoos
  • protein smoothing treatments
  • booster sprays
  • post-process care and styling products.

Tools  may include:

  • thermostatically-controlled flat irons
  • blow dryer
  • tint brush and bowl
  • tail comb
  • sectioning clips
  • paddle or vent brush
  • plastic cap or wrap.

Product manufacturer’s recommended smoothing technique  may include:

  • working to a predetermined pattern, combing hair layer by layer and pressing between index and middle fingers
  • laying already smoothened hair onto the straightening board and smoothing hair a second time against the board using the back of a comb.

Client and operator comfort and safety  must include:

  • providing protective gowning for client
  • applying straightening product 1cm from the hair root to avoid breakage
  • avoiding product contact with client and operator’s skin or eyes
  • wearing operator protective gloves.

Salon procedures  must include:

  • client comfort and safety
  • operator safety
  • procedures that comply with state or territory and local government health regulations relevant to the service
  • environmental protection practices, such as:
  • waste minimisation
  • waste disposal
  • water efficiency.

Maintenance advice  may include recommending:

  • that the client uses flat irons where a very straight look is required
  • the timing of regular protein treatments to maintain smoothing and straightening
  • coordinating the timing of treatments with chemical treatments such as tints
  • home hair-care products such as:
  • shampoos
  • conditioners
  • rejuvenating treatments
  • intense protein treatments
  • anti-frizz
  • hair gloss.

Unit Sector(s)


Competency Field

Hair Reformation