There have never been more ways to straighten your hair. There are straightening creams, chemical treatments, and all sorts of flat irons and straightening brushes. This article provides a quick overview of some of the best types of straightening products and treatments available.
What is the difference between hair straightening and hair rebonding?
Hair rebonding is a permanent form of hair straightening that uses strong chemicals to break the bonds in your hair that make it curly. This is an expensive, high maintenance treatment that should only be performed by professionals. It is best for people with very unmanageable hair.
Hair straightening, on the other hand, is a word used to describe various methods of styling the hair to make it appear straighter. This includes flat irons, relaxing shampoos, and chemical relaxing agents.
Japanese permanent hair straightening (AKA “thermal reconditioning”)
Japanese hair straightening is a rebonding treatment that involves soaking the hair in a chemical solution that breaks the bonds that create curls.
The hair is rinsed, blow-dried, and then straightened using a flat iron. The final step is the neutralizer, which essentially locks hair into its new position.
After treatment, your hair will be sleek, shiny, and very straight.
This treatment is best for loose, bouncy curls (not tight or kinky curls). Depending on the length, this treatment can take up to 8 hours the first time you get the treatment. Touch up treatments take 3-4 hours.
- It’s expensive. Treatments can cost up to $1,500.
- You must avoid kinking your hair or getting it wet for three days after treatment. This means you can’t even wear a ponytail.
- Your hair will be pin-straight after treatment and you won’t be able to curl it at all.
Japanese straightening changes the structure of the hair (in other words, it’s permanent). If you don’t want to keep getting touch-ups, you will have to endure a grow-out period to get your old hair back.
Note: The chemicals used in Japanese straightening are harsh, and you should avoid getting this treatment if you have colored hair or damaged hair.
Keratin hair straightening (wears off after 3-4 months)
Keratin treatments and Brazilian treatments (brand names include Brazilian Blowout and Brazilian Keratin Treatment) straighten hair but don’t break the bonds in your hair. This means that your natural texture will gradually return 2-4 months after treatment.
Like the previous treatment, your hair will be blow-dried and straightened with a flat iron after the initial product is applied. Keratin treatments are appropriate for colored hair and can smooth out everything from tight curls to medium waves.
Keratin treatments help control frizz but won’t eliminate volume. You will still need to use a blow dryer in the morning to get straight hair following treatment.
Keratin treatments cost between $300 and $600.
Note: Make sure you ask your stylist exactly what chemicals are being used. Some Brazilian treatments have been known to contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen that is toxic when inhaled. Click here to learn more.
Cezanne Perfect Finish Keratin Smoothing Treatment
One of the hottest new treatments right now is the Cezanne smoothing treatment, which gives you smooth, sleek hair that retains some movement. Cezanne does not include formaldehyde or other harmful ingredients.
This treatment uses Sericin – a protein produced by the silk worm – to provide effects similar to that of a Brazilian blowout. A Cezanne session typically lasts 2-3 hours and includes the following steps:
- Application and set time
- Light rinse
- Blow dry
- In some cases, flat iron
One of the best parts about a Cezanne treatment is that when you’re done, you’re done. That means you can do whatever you want right after treatment and it won’t ruin your results. You can even go swimming.
The effects of a Cezanne treatment can last up to four months if you use the proper products, including sulfate-free shampoo.
Best hair straightening products for permanent hair straightening at home
Taming big hair isn’t easy, but it’s possible if you have the right products. Below, we review a variety of tools, products, and creams that can help you achieve straight hair.
Kerastase L’Incroyable Blowdry ($36 on Amazon)
This product is actually a “hair lotion” that is activated by heat (i.e. flat irons or blow dryers). According to the manufacturer, it can control frizz for 90+ hours, even with high humidity. It is appropriate for all hair types.
The best part about this product is that it also protects your hair from heat damage.
BearMoo Hair Straightener Brush ($33.99 on Amazon)
What do you get when you combine a brush with a flat iron? The BearMoo Hair Straightener Brush, which as you can guess straightens hair while you brush.
- Reduces frizz
- Adds shine
- Reduces split ends and knots
- Makes hair straight
- Makes hair healthier
Like many other flat irons, the BearMoo brush releases negative ions to protect hair from heat damage. This product heats up in less than 60 seconds, saving you time when compared with most competing products.
- Appropriate for all hair types
- Wall hanging hole for easy storage
- 360° rotating wire to prevent cord from tangling
- Anti-scale protection
- High density tooth design
- LCD temperature display
- 7 heat settings (max 450° F)
- 12 month warranty
- Includes drawstring pouch
Depending on the length and texture of your hair, it should take between 5-10 minutes to finish straightening. This product is not recommended for short hair. This product is appropriate to use on colored and/or thin hair and is not designed to be used on wet hair.
Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque ($32.48 on Amazon)
Start treating your hair before you step into the shower with this pre-shampoo hair masque from Bumble & Bumble.
This product features 6 natural oils to bring shine to dull hair. This product is designed to be used 20 minutes before showering, once per week. It is designed for dry/very dry hair.
According to reviews, this is a great product for curly hair with a fine texture. It effectively hydrates and eliminates frizz, even after your next shower.
Permanent hair straightening creams
Streax Pro Hair Straightening Cream, Intense ($120.43 on Amazon)
Streax utilizes silicone solvents that promote straightness, reduce tangles, and make hair less frizzy and more manageable. The cream is water-resistant and therefore able to give long-lasting effects.
You can use this product up to 5 times.
Downsides: The product is thin and users agree it is hard to get it out of your hair.
Wellastrate Intense Straightening Cream ($32.94 on Amazon)
Wellastrate features a cationic formula that provides a strong structural base and a hydro-safe complex that improves hydration and prevents hair from drying out. This is a great product if you are looking for smoother, shinier hair.
Downsides: Some users thought it was too strong.
Marc Anthony Style Straight Instant Straightening Cream
This product uses silk fiber and silicone to smooth and straighten hair while repelling sweat and protecting from heat damage.According to reviews, this product smells great, provides long-lasting effects, and tame frizz easily.
Downsides: Hair may be oily on the second day.
Click here to read my article on curling irons.