How Does a Brazilian Hair Straightening Treatment Work?

Learn more about the trendy Brazilian hair straightening technique.

Unless we’re sporting frizz intentionally (like with coveted beach waves), many of us want to rid ourselves from frizz completely and want a smoother texture, regardless of hair type. This is when Brazilian hair straightening starts to spark our interest.

Should we try it or not? If you’re fed up with unruly, unmanageable hair, you might just be about ready to take the plunge. Quicker blow-dry sessions, easy styling, no fuss detangling, shiny hair—all sound awesome, right? Before you do, however, read to learn more about what this treatment really is and how a Brazilian hair treatment works:

If you’re not sure what exactly a Brazilian hair treatment is, or need post-treatment hair care tips, we’re here to help! Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know.

What is a Brazilian Hair Treatment?

brazilian hair straightening treatment on blonde hair
Straight long blonde hair. Photo credit:

The Brazilian hair straightening treatment, a.k.a. keratin straightening. This is a chemical process that enables easy detangling and styling. These straightening treatments close down the hair cuticle sealing the keratin proteins in your hair in order to achieve a smooth and sleek finish. Unlike a thermal reconditioning treatment like Japanese hair straightening, Brazilian straightening treatment is temporary and can be carried out on bleached or dyed hair but not immediately after.

How Long Does a Brazilian Hair Treatment Last?

Typically, the treatment lasts around two to four months and doesn’t break down the structure or internal bonds of your hair. If you have curly hair and want to give this treatment a go, you don’t have to worry too much about losing your curl pattern forever. The treatment will just smoothen, soften and loosen up your curls, encouraging more shine as well. After five washes your natural hair texture gradually returns.

Brazilian Hair Treatment Cons

Be warned, though: These treatments usually contain high amounts of formaldehyde, a chemical fume that threatens health when inhaled. Today, many Brazilian straightening products have reduced the amount of formaldyde significantly to pose the treatment as safe. Keep in mind that it’s still present, as the treatment needs this ingredient in order for the hair to straighten.

How is the Brazilian Straightening Treatment Done?

After your hair is washed and conditioned, it is then saturated with the straightening solution. For even distribution, the stylist combs the treatment through your hair. This way all of your strands are evenly coated.

The stylist proceeds to blow-dry the hair in sections holding the concentration nozzle down the shaft. The heat from the blowdryer seals the product into the hair and helps press the cuticles flat in preparation for the flat-ironing process.
In individual sections about a quarter of an inch wide, the hair is then straightened with a flat iron at about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Yikes! However, this temperature is needed to properly seal the hair and give it that shiny finish post-blow dry.

Post-Brazilian Treatment Hair Care

Like almost all things, this treatment comes with a set of rules. After the straightening process is performed, your hair can’t be washed or styled for 72 hours—and that includes not even putting it up in a ponytail or tucking it behind your ears: Anything you do to alter the style of your hair will leave dents or marks on the surface and will set with that bend.

Leave your tresses as is for the next few days. It’s best to sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase, as cotton produces friction and can disturb your freshly-treated hair as well. To care for your hair post-treatment, use a hair care system to cleanse and maintain the vibrancy and smoothness of your tresses along with keeping frizz at bay. We love TRESemmé Botanique Color Vibrance & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner.

It’s important to know what you’re getting into and what to expect when getting a Brazilian straightening treatment done. From the time and money commitment to the maintenance, learn all about it below.

1. Time and Money

brazilian hair straightening flat iron hair
Your daily flat iron routine? Consider it done with a Brazilian straightening treatment.

Bring some snacks so you don’t get hangry, as the Brazilian straightening treatment can take up to an hour and a half to two hours. The longer your hair is, the longer the process will take on your hair. As for the cost, it all depends. There are several different lines of Brazilian straightening products that will come at different price points. Check with your salon before booking your treatment, as it can cost anywhere from $150 all the way up to $600.

2. Lots of Fussing

The process of getting a Brazilian straightening treatment can be lengthy. Prep yourself for a whole bunch of fussing with your hair. The process starts out with washing the hair to open up the cuticle. Some processes require the hair to be washed two or even three times.

Then, the product is applied to your hair. Some systems require applying the Brazilian straightening solution onto dry hair, so your hair would be blow-dried before applying the product.

The product will process for a few minutes (usually 10 to 30) before it is blow-dried again. When the hair is dry, it will be flat ironed to set in the straight style. Then, the hair is rinsed and conditioned to add moisture back to the hair. The final step is blow-drying your hair one last time.

3. Seriously Straight Hair

After getting your Brazilian straightening treatment you’ll have silky, smooth hair for months. People love the Brazilian treatment because it makes coarse and frizzy hair super manageable. It will also cut your styling time way down. If you are used to needing to flat iron your hair on a day-to-day basis, the Brazilian straightening treatment will save you almost all of that time.

4. Brazilian Straightening Treatment Maintenance

Once you finish the treatment, you’ll need to be careful not to get your hair wet or bend it for a day or two. Bending the hair (like putting it in a ponytail, or behind your ears) will put a dent in your newly straightened hair. You’ll also need to wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. These have less detergent and will make your treatment last longer. We love Nexxus Color Assure Rebalancing Shampoo and Nexxus Color Assure Restoring Conditioner.


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