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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.

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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Reader Interactions


  1. Hi there,

    I have been one of the most loyal readers of your blogs for the longest time. It is my number one go-to whenever I need to know something about hair care. Your articles are just amazing. You put out every little detail so nicely that it’s super easy for us to understand the concept and find a product accordingly.

    Keep up the good work and keep providing us with great values.

    I hope all the best for you guys.

    • Dear Annabella, we are overwhelmed and overjoyed with your sweet words. Our readers’ positive feedback is our inspiration.

      Please keep coming back for more great articles.

      Thank you!

  2. Hello there,

    I have a question. Are thermal reconditioning and permanent hair straightening the same? If not what’s the difference and which is better?

    Hope you would read this and reply to me.

    • Dear Dorian,

      Thank you so much for asking for our suggestions. We are always open to help our readers in any way possible.

      First of all, thermal reconditioning, Japanese Straightening, and permanent hair straightening are all the same treatments of straightening your unruly tresses with different names- there are no differences between them.

      We hope this answered your query.

  3. I am a regular visitor of your blog. Your writing never fails to amaze me.

    Praises aside, I want to straighten my hair to get rid of frizz and flyaways. Which of these two procedures would you recommend for fine hair and why?

    Looking forward to your answer!

    • Dear Renee,

      We are thankful that you follow our blog regularly.

      As fine hair locks are sensitive and more prone to damage than any other type of hair out there, we would suggest you try the hair smoothing treatment as it has less damaging side effects and is gentler on hair compared to the hair straightening procedure.

      We hope we could help.

  4. Hi there!

    It’s a nice, well-put-together piece of article. Very easy to read and easy to understand article!

    People who are confused and have doubts must go through this article once to know everything they need to know about Hair Smoothing & Hair Straightening and which would be better for them.

    I hope for all the best for you and looking forward to more thoughtful writings.

    Thank You!


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