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Hair Straightening: How Safe is it For Your Hair?


The happy relationship now I share with my hair was not easily achievable. I’ve tried a lot of ways to achieve the ultimate sleekness for my frizzy hair. Most of them were salon treatments though. Everyday used to be a ‘bad hair day’ for me. Finally, I resort to hair straightening.

My doubt in the efficiency of hair straightening compelled me to do a lot of research on the same topic. I’ve written here everything I came cross during the research. If you’re also considering hair straightening but are worried about its consequences, this post is for you. Read it to make up your mind for the betterment of your hair.


1. What is hair straightening?

2. How hair straightening affects hair health?

3. Different types of permanent hair straightening

4. Thermal reconditioning

5. Keratin treatment

6. Hair rebonding

7. Chemically straightened hair

8. Does temporary hair straightening damage hair?

9. How to use hair straightening brush to prevent damage?

10. Are hair straightening creams safe?

11. Post Straightening Hair Care

12. Smoothening Vs. straightening

13. Conclusion

What is Hair Straightening?

Hair straightening is a method to style hair by changing its natural structure. Both men and women straighten their hair to get smooth and sleek hair texture. There are two main ways of straightening:

Temporary Hair Straightening

Hot combs and hair irons are used to flatten the hair temporarily. The styling is done without involving any chemical. Generally, environmental factors like humidity and rain reverse the flattened hair structure. Some of the commonly used tools in this process are:

a) Hot combs to apply heat to hair

b) Blow dryer attached with a round brush

c) Flat irons or hair irons to apply heat directly to the hair

d) Big hair rollers to straighten dried hair

e) Electric hair straightening brushes

Permanent Hair Straightening

Different methods such as relaxers are used to permanently change the structure of the hair. However, the newly grown hair (hair growing after the treatment) will retain their original structure. It involves the uses of chemicals.

How Hair Straightening Affects Hair Health?

Hair straightening

Who doesn’t love poker straight tresses? But, maintaining hair health after straightening can be kind of a drag. Whether you’re straightening permanently or temporarily, the process can affect your hair in many ways. Some of the side-effects of hair straightening are:

Split Ends

Breaking of weak hair from the middle causes split ends. Split ends indicate the damaging condition of your hair. Moreover, your hair may look rough due to it.


Hair straightening makes your hair dry. This dryness leads to weakening your hair strands. Ultimately, the hair strands begin to break from the middle.


Are you thinking straightening is the solution to manage your frizzy hair, huh? If you’re not taking a lot of care for the tresses, they’re going to be more frizzy and untamable.

Steals Moisture

Application of chemical treatments and heat styling tools regularly steals away moisture from your hair. These methods take away oils from hair turning them into extremely brittle and dry strands. 

Hair Fall

Regular application of heat on hair damages hair follicles. It weakens hair roots leading to hair fall.


Natural oils retain the moisture of your scalp. Weakened hair interferes with the production of natural oils. The underproduction of natural oils causes itchiness on scalp. Furthermore, it also makes your scalp flaky and dry.

Alters Hair Texture Permanently

Permanent hair straightening alters your hair texture for good. You won’t be able to change the texture even with hair masks. The only option you’d have is to wait for your hairs to grow naturally. Only the newly grown hair will have the original texture.

Slows Down Hair Growth

Not caring for the heat protectant? Well, take the heat protectant seriously. Otherwise, the hair cuticles will damage permanently, resulting into slow growth of new hair.

What are Different Types of Permanent Hair Straightening?

If you lack the time to use styler daily, permanent hair straightening is the way out. Two main steps are involved in this process:

a. Use of Sodium Based Products: Applying of sodium based products on your hair removes the keratin structure. It makes hair easily manageable.

b. Applying of Oxidant: Salons use oxidant on hair to set hair texture in the desired shape of their customers.

Different types of hair straightening are:

1. Thermal Reconditioning

Thermal Reconditioning is also known as Japanese Straightening. It involves the use of both chemicals and heat.

How is it done?

Salons apply a chemical on hair to break the bonds. The chemical is left for 15-20 minutes. Then, they apply extreme heat to hair to make them straight. Once again, they treat the hair with chemicals so as to protect hair and to lock in that texture.

How Much Time is Required to Complete the Process?  

Depending upon the length of hair, the process continues for almost 6-8 hours. However, the process doesn’t end here. You’ve to visit the salon after 3 days of the treatment. This time the duration of the process is 1 hour max. Japanese Straightening lasts for 6-7 months.

Why is it Not Good for Hair?

Strong chemicals are used in the process, which can affect delicate tresses. As the hair remains exposed to heat for a long time, the damage it causes to hair is irreparable.

2. Keratin Treatment

The natural protein in our hair is called Keratin. Aging and unbalanced diet affects the production of keratin. Consequently, our hair loses its natural shine. Keratin treatment is done to restore this shine.

How is it done?

Salons apply keratin coating on hair shafts. It makes your hair straight and silky. As compared to other permanent hair straightening techniques, it’s safer. Then, they lock in the formula of keratin solution in your tresses with the help of a 450 degree flat iron. It seals the moisture preventing your hair from going frizzy.

The treatment only takes 2 hours to finish. Unfortunately, the straightening lasts only for 6 months.

Why is it Bad for Hair?

Chemically treated hair is susceptible to hair loss and breakage.

Only well-experienced hair stylists can give you satisfactory result. Or, you’ll end up having damaged hair.

The entire process is pretty expensive.

Be Careful: Keratin treatment is not recommended for pregnant women. The emission of certain gases during the treatment can harm them.

3. Hair Rebonding

Hair rebonding is a chemical treatment to break the natural bonds of hair. Then, new bonds are re-arranged to make the hair straight.

How is it done?

Experts will wash your hair using a mild shampoo. They will let the hair dry. Once dried, the stylist will divide hair into sections and apply chemical relaxant. The relaxant is kept for 30 minutes. Then, the stylist will apply steam for 10-30 minutes, which will be followed by keratin application on your hair. After that, the stylist will use a flat iron at 180-degree Celsius to change the curly hair into straight strands. Then, a neutralizer will apply to the hair to maintain the altered structure.

How Long the Process Takes to Complete?

The treatment duration depends on the length of your hair. The process is bit long. You need to wait for 3-8 hours to get the job done.

Is Hair Rebonding Safe?

Of course, not. Continuous application of heat and chemicals weakens hair shafts. You can get silky soft hair with the process. But, it will permanently damage your hair and trigger hair loss.

4. Chemically Straightened Hair

Chemically straightening is also known as hair relaxing technique. The treatment breaks the hair bonds to turn them into straight tresses. The texture of your hair plays a significant role in determining which hair relaxant will work.

How is it done?

First of all, the stylist test the hair relaxant on your hair. The stylist will apply a hair protectant cream. Thereafter, hair relaxant is applied on hair, which is kept for 30 minutes. He or she will then wash your hair with lukewarm water. After that, neutralizer will be applied to restore the pH level of your hair.

How Long is the Process?

The procedure takes about 2-5 hours to complete. You need to repeat the process after every 6-9 months to enjoy frizz-free straight hair.

How Safe is it For Your Hair?

Hair relaxant used in the technique relaxes your curls. If you fail to take proper care of hair afterwards, excessive breakage can occur. Any mistake done during the straightening can cause severe damage to your hair.

Extra Tip: Don’t wash your hair 12 hours after the treatment. The product used needs some time to set in.

Never attempt to straighten your hair permanently at home. Rather, visit an experienced hair expert who will evaluate your hair and pick the products accordingly. Make sure the process is performed in accordance with the safety rules.

Does Temporary Hair Straightening Damage Hair?

Heat in flat iron (that is used to straighten hair temporarily) burns hair. It breaks hydrogen bond of your hair. The more you use it, the more the hydrogen bonds break. Ultimately, your hair starts to fall off.

Blow dryers with round brush are also used extensively in temporary hair straightening. If you know the right way to use blow dryers, it will not harm your hair. On the other hand, any slight mistake in its use can make your hair dull and brittle, leading to breakage.

Frequent straightening can take away shine from your hair. According to hair care experts, going for temporary hair straightening more than once per week is bad for your hair.

Prior to straightening, shampooing, conditioning, and completely drying is essential. If you straighten wet hair, it will cause more damage like burning and breaking of hair.

How to Use Straightening Brush to Prevent Damage?

Hair straightening brush

A straightening brush is the latest craze in the market. It can reach up to 550-degree maximum. Needless to say that you shouldn’t use the brush at that temperature. Using hair straightening brushes is simple. Follow the directions written on the package to avoid mistakes. Instructions will help you to prevent damage to a certain extent.

Wash, condition, and dry your hair thoroughly before using hair straightening brush. If you don’t wash it properly, dirt will build up in your hair making them more prone to damage.

Clean your brush regularly with a dry fiber cloth. Take time to remove all the hairs that get trapped in the brush.

Comb your tresses to untangle all the knots. Not combing the hair properly before applying brush can be a recipe for breakage.

Retain moisture of hair by applying heat protective product on wet hair. It will reduce the chance of hair damage caused due to heat.  

Lift some portion of your hair. Comb hair with brush from roots to ends. Use your other hand to stretch the hair slightly. Stretching slightly the hair while combing is important to straighten hair quickly.

Unlike flat irons, hair straightening brush work well on slightly wavy hair. If you crave for pin straight hair, pick flat irons instead of the straightening brush.

Are Hair Straightening Creams Safe?

Many chemical laden hair straightening creams are available in the market. These creams may seem to be very tempting to you. However, a lot of them may not be safe for your hair. All hair straightening creams are not bad either. You just need to find products that are completely natural and organic.

If you fail to pick the right product, you may start suffering from hair thinning, premature greying, and hair fall. Once starts, all these issues are tough to stop. Therefore, dedicate enough time to research on these creams. Make sure you’ve gone through the reviews prior to buying.

How to Care for Hair Post Straightening?

For freshly straightened hair:

a) Prevent contacting your hair with water.

b) Don’t tie your hair. Also, avoid using clutches or rubber bands.

c) Try to sleep on a pillow with satin cover always.

d) Wear shower caps while bathing.

Hair Care Tips to Follow After Three Days

a) Now, you can wet your hair. Wash your hair with mild shampoo. Apply conditioner. Avoid using shampoos loaded with chemicals.

b) Shop for shampoos that are meant for straight hair only.

c) Never wash your hair with hot water after straightening. Hot water may strip of moisture from your hair.

d) Brush the strands while it is wet. Use a wide toothed comb for brushing.

e) Apply hair serums regularly to heal the repair caused due to straightening.

f) Apply hair mask twice in a month to maintain the health of your hair.

g) To maintain straightened texture, use leave in conditioner.

Hair Care Tips to Follow After Fifteen Days

a) Switch to a nutritious diet. Include salmon, nuts, and almonds without a miss in your diet.

b) Trim your hair regularly. Trim it after every 4-6 weeks.

c) Try to avoid using heating equipment.

d) Wear head scarf while in the sun to protect hair from environmental factors.

e) Last but not the least, don’t apply any kind of chemical on hair.

Smoothening Vs. Straightening: Which is Better?

Hair care experts choose hair smoothening over straightening. They consider hair type and the desired outcome of their clients while deciding the treatment type. If the client wants natural looking smooth and soft hair, hair smoothening is the answer. It will help you tame frizzy hair.

Hair smoothening does comparatively less damage to hair. Though after care is as important here as it is in the case of hair straightening.

However, smoothening doesn’t do much if you need pin straight hair. It is effective only to turn your curly tresses into frizz-less waves. Have faith on your hair care expert. Such a professional will only be able to tell you what type of treatment you need. Just be careful to choose an experienced professional.      


The results of hair straightening varies depending on your hair’s type. Moreover, chemical method you’re using to straighten hair also determines the outcome. I’ve tried hair straightening 5years ago. However, I faced many hair related problems after that. But, not everyone face issues. Actually, your hair needs more TLC in the post straightening period.

Though I too knew that before straightening yet I ignored it because of my busy lifestyle. Just find out what you want from your hair before taking any final decision. Consult with an expert to take decision in favor of your hair.

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