Wagman Hair

Hair Straightening Treatments | Which Is Best for You?

I recently shared a bit of information about some of the new hair straightening treatments that are quickly becoming all the rage.  Often presented as safer alternative to relaxers, there is quite a bit of intrigue and even skepticism surrounding these systems.  I would venture to say, most are concerned that the promises to temporarily loosen curl patterns for weeks at a time is are false.  I cannot blame you, after all whenever there is something new and hot, everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon and at times live to regret it later.  So, I thought a comparison of the various hair straightening treatments – both professional and home versions – would be beneficial.  Knowledge is always the best tool in every healthy hair journey and after learning a bit more about the various straightening systems, you may want to try one for yourself!

Hair Straightening Treatments

Thermal Reconditioning (Japanese Straightening):  I remember these treatments being all the rage in New Jersey back when I was in college, roundabout 200—er uh…lol!  These are most similar to relaxers in that their effect is absolutely permanent and the hair is left completely sleek and bone straight.

  • Recommended for: Women with curly hair who cannot necessarily tolerate the chemicals of relaxers; most who seek thermal reconditioning as a styling option have fine or thin hair that is wavy to curly (not kinky).
  • Effects:  Permanently straight hair
  • Lasts: 6-8 months (depending on growth rate, hair type and texture) after which your new growth has to be retouched
  • Chemical: The main active ingredient used in Japanese hair straightening solutions is Ammonium Thioglycolate, which works by physically changing the structure of the hair through the application of heat from a flat iron.
  • After Care:  Hair cannot be washed or get wet for 48-72 hours after treatment (no steam, sweat, rain, etc).
  • Cost:  Best performed by professionals, costs range from $500 – 1500.
  • Examples:  Matrix OptiSmooth Japanese Hair Straightener Kit, LISCIO Crystal Cream Straighteners

Hair Straightening Treatments

Brazilian Straightening (Brazilian Keratin Treatments): 

  • Recommended for: Those who do not wish to permanently alter their curl pattern but want up to 80% reduced curls and frizz.
  • Effects:  Temporarily straightened hair or looser curls depending on hair type.
  • Lasts: 2-3 months, should gradually wash away.  Some ladies have reported their curls to be permanently altered either due to the chemicals or heat damage while others enjoyed the treatment and reversion of their natural texture.
  • Chemical: Seals liquid keratin and a preservative solution into the hair with a flat iron.  Often the preservative is often formaldehyde or a derivative of, which is a known carcinogen.  For this reason, BKT’s have been banned from several countries due to the unsafe levels of formaldehyde.
  • After Care:  Hair cannot be washed or get wet for 72 hours after treatment (no steam, sweat, rain, etc).
  • Cost:  Best performed by professionals, costs range from $150 – 600.
  • Example: Keratin Research Brazilian Keratin Treatment

Hair Straightening Treatments

Smoothing Systems:

  • Recommended for: Women who wish to reduce frizz, fight humidity, temporarily loosen curl pattern – including natural, transitioning and relaxed hair.  Also safe for color treated hair.
  • Effects:  Temporarily loosened curl pattern
  • Lasts: 6-8 week, depending on hair type and texture.
  • Chemical: Use of protein (keratin or amino acids) to loosen curl pattern, prepare and protect hair from direct heat.  No added formaldehyde, thioglycolate or sodium hydroxide
  • After Care:  Hair cannot be washed or get wet for 72 hours after treatment (no steam, sweat, rain, etc).
  • Cost:  May be applied at home (even professional versions), costs range from $5-25.
  • Examples:  Design Essentials Straightening Therapy System, Silk Elements Kera-Minerals Smoothing System 

Hair Straightening Treatments

Soul Seed Tees
Ebony C. Princess About Ebony C. Princess

A self proclaimed hair enthusiast and healthy hair advocate, Ebony C, Princess is the chief editor of Longing 4 Length. She shares her personal journey towards growing long, healthy hair while providing hair care tips and information.

  • water7apple

    Great comprehensive article! Thank you.

    • http://www.longing4length.com/ EbonyCPrincess

      You are welcome!

  • Lisa

    Informative!
    I use something inbetween the two last ones. Hair can and should be rinsed immediately after the treatment. Last for up to three months if not using sulfat or clarifying shampoo.

    • http://www.longing4length.com/ EbonyCPrincess

      Nice! Do you know what brand?

  • Lisa

    I do it my self at home but this stylist answers a lot of comment questions about BBO:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lj174-gJQs

    • http://www.longing4length.com/ EbonyCPrincess

      Great thank you for sharing, I’m going to have to come back and watch!

  • http://www.myhealthyhairdiary.blogspot.com/ Healthy Hair Diary

    Thanks for the info Ebony, my daughter’s one year healthy hair journey is coming up and my plan was to flat iron her hair to do a length check but now I’m considering trying one of the smoothing systems so she can enjoy all her hard work and dedication for at least a few weeks.

    • http://www.longing4length.com/ EbonyCPrincess

      You are so welcome. And I am thinking of trying one too between installs instead of relaxing. If I do, you know a review will follow LOL!