Which hair straightening treatment is right for you?

Which hair straightening treatment will you pick?

If you straighten your hair frequently, the prospect of having straight hair for months on end could sound too good to be true. But it is possible. What you need to invest in is a chemical hair straightening treatment, which can be done on most hair types.

But are you a little unsure as to which is the right straightening treatment for you? Don’t worry, that’s where we come in. We’ve put together a simple guide to help you figure out what the best process for your tresses might be.

The best straightening treatment for your hair type

Hair straightening treatment: Model with straight brown hair touching her chin wearing a black studded top backstage at David Korma FW16 show.
Remember: Japanese hair straightening is permanent. Credit: imdigitalimages.com

Japanese hair straightening treatment

You’ve probably heard a lot about this permanent hair straightening treatment, so it’s difficult to know what’s fact or fiction. But the truth is, Japanese straightening treatments are probably one of the more expensive treatments on the market, which is worth bearing in mind before you book an appointment.

The treatment works by applying a pre-conditioner to the hair to help protect it, before applying a mixture of chemicals. This chemical cocktail permanently changes the structure of the hair by breaking the hair bonds. After the treatment has been rinsed out, it’s finished with a blow-drying and straightening process.

All-in-all it’ll probably take 4-8 hours to complete this straightening treatment (plus a follow-up appointment a few days later). The lengthy and costly process isn’t offered at many salons, and as amazing as the end results sound, this treatment can be very damaging to your hair.

Hair straightening treatment: Model with platinum blonde straight hair secured using silver clips backstage at Roberto Cavalli SS14 show.
Smoothing keratin treatments. Credit: indigitalimages.com

Keratin straightening treatment

The first thing to note is that technically, keratin treatments aren’t really straightening treatments. The truth is that they’re more of a smoothing treatment, which can leave your hair frizz-free and healthier-looking. In fact, there are many types of keratin treatments available. And unlike Japanese straightening or relaxers, keratin treatments aren’t permanent, instead, they last from 2-6 months – be sure to use a keratin-infused shampoo and conditioner for best results.

The most widely known treatment within this family is the Brazilian blow-dry. It works by applying keratin to the hair and sealing it in by blow-drying the hair afterwards (hence the name!). This treatment can take 2-4 hours to complete.

Next read: Find out more about other types of keratin hair treatments, here.

Hair straightening treatment: Model with relaxed dark brown shoulder length hair wearing a black vest and choker on runway.
Straightening hair treatments: Temporary chemical relaxers. Credit: indigitalimages.com

Chemical relaxer

This chemical treatment works to ‘relax’ or loosen tight curls and coils and is an extremely popular choice within the black hair community.

Although it works in a similar way to Japanese straightening, the main point of difference is that relaxers do not permanently alter your hair structure. What this treatment does is simply straighten the hair’s alignment, temporarily changing the texture of curly and coily hair. So don’t worry, your curls will definitely bounce back if you want them to!

Often you will hear terms like, lye and non-lye, used in conjunction with chemical relaxers, this describes the two types of treatments available. Lye relaxers contain sodium hydroxide, while non-lye relaxers contain calcium hydroxide and can be used on more sensitive scalps – so you don’t have to worry about any irritation post-treatment.

Hair straightening treatment: Blonde model with straight hair using a hair straightener wearing a grey jumper.
What about DIY straightening treatments?

DIY straightening treatments

When it comes to chemical treatments, we always suggest going to a trained professional (chemicals and an untrained hand don’t mix). But there are some at-home hair straightening treatments now available on the market. These range from smoothing keratin types that are ‘sealed’ with flat irons, to lye and non-lye chemical relaxers for black hair.

Want to know how to do these treatments at home? Before you set off to do some DIY straightening treatment on your hair, read our guide first!

So, now you know what’s what of the straightening treatment world – which of these will you be trying?





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