The Difference Between Hair Smoothing and Hair Straightening – Everything You Must Know

Every now and then, it’s a woman’s nature to switch up her hairstyle to give herself a completely new makeover.

And when it comes to hair transformation, silky, straight hair locks are a woman’s first choice because this style not only gives edge but also looks sexy as well as fashionable.

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But as there are a few types of permanent and semi-permanent styling and smoothing therapies available in the hair salons, it’s only normal for you to get confused which to try on your hair locks for the desired results with fewer damages.

In this article, we have talked about two of the most popular styling methods (Hair Smoothing and Hair Straightening) and their differences so that at the end of this you know which one to try on for the result of your dreams.

When we are talking about hair straightening in this article, we are talking about permanent hair straightening; that is because it won’t be fair to compare a permanent hair styling treatment (hair smoothing) to a temporary hairdo (one-time hair straightening).

Now back to the topic, hair straightening (or Japanese Straightening, however you call it) is a permanent hair styling technique that is practiced over centuries to give your tresses a smooth, streamlined, pin-straight appearance. This styling procedure uses chemicals and heat to alter the core structure of your hair strands to give them a sleek look that you wanted for a long time.

The chemicals used in this straightening process help to permanently break the bonds in your hair shaft while the heat applied with a flat iron restructures your locks for a flatter, straighter result. Then more chemicals are used to seal in everything and make sure that the newly formed bonds remain in place to maintain the straightening results for months to come.

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Even though this styling technique is more damaging than the hair smoothing process, it can permanently straighten even the most stubborn and curliest of hair types and remains intact until new manes grow out.

2. What is Hair Smoothing?

Hair smoothing is a semi-permanent hair styling process that promises to make your manes look soft, smooth and healthy as well as manageable. Unlike hair straightening, this styling techniques doesn’t result in pin-straight strands, instead, it is more of producing a very naturally straightened result that lasts for between 2 to 5 months depending on the hair condition and texture.

This hair styling treatment is mainly designed to remove frizz and static from your precious manes so that they look velvety polished and well-kept.

The hair smoothing process uses a formaldehyde solution to saturate your manes and then seal in the style in place using a heated flat iron to make sure that the style lasts at least for the given time period. This procedure uses chemicals that are not as strong as the chemicals used in the hair straightening process and hence, it is less damaging to your delicate tresses. However, it is not ideal for every type of manes out there as the hair straightening technique and might not work effectively on extremely thick or curly tresses.

You must also know that a hair smoothing treatment is also known as a Brazilian blowout, keratin treatment or protein treatment.

3. The Differences Between Hair Smoothing & Hair Straightening

Now, let’s discuss the differences between these two styling procedures so that it’s easier for you to decide which would be the best option for you.

  • Even though both of these hair styling treatments use harsh chemicals and intense heat to achieve the desired result perfectly, a straightening procedure is far damaging than a smoothing process as it fully breaks the hair bonds to give it a stick-straight texture whereas a keratin treatment just infuse the chemical in the hair shaft to smoothen the cuticles and eliminate frizz.
  • As the Japanese straightening process provides a very unreal, artificial-looking result when the hair starts growing, your natural manes and the styled manes don’t match in texture and there is a very clear demarcation between the frizzy roots and straight ends. Therefore, to even out the hairs and maintain same hair texture, you might need to go for regular touch-ups which mean additional expenses. But in case of a Brazilian Blowout, the result it produces is much natural and that’s why when new manes grow out there are not very visible differences and you don’t need to waste money on touch-ups.
  • Both these permanent and semi-permanent hairstyling techniques eliminate frizz from your tresses and make them silky and smooth. Having said that, the chemical used for Brazilian Blowout contains formaldehyde (must) which has severe adverse effects (irritation of eyes, skin and upper respiratory organ) and might impose serious health risk (including the danger of cancer) when inhaled. On the other hand, solutions for straightening treatments come both with and without formaldehyde; you can choose one without the formaldehyde and make sure that you don’t suffer from any health hazards.
  • Even though both the hair straightening and hair smoothing are chemical procedures to style your tresses, the smoothing process is comparatively less harsh and therefore, can be done at home also (with similar results when done professionally). But in the case of Japanese Straightening, it is never a wise decision to try it at home because the chemicals are quite damaging and require professional supervision. For an “at home” keratin treatment, you can try this TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Activated Treatment, Keratin Smooth for amazing frizz-free results.

4. Hair Smoothing Vs Hair Straightening; What Do We Recommend?

Because of its less damaging side effects on the gentle hair locks, we always prefer the hair smoothing treatment for our tresses on any day.

But then again, at the end of the day, the styling procedure (whether Japanese straightening or Keratin) you should try on your manes entirely depends on your hair type, texture, and the results that you are looking for.

Having said that, our suggestion to every single person out there, who wants to try these therapies on their manes, would be to understand and consider every single aspect of both the styling procedures and talk to their hairstylists before making any decisions.

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