Have you been considering hair smoothening procedures to flaunt feather-soft hair? If yes, you have come to the right place. We have put together every useful information you would possibly need. So, learn all about hair smoothening at home, the permanent process, side effects of hair smoothening and important tips to keep in mind.
Let’s begin by understanding the different types of hair smoothening, which one is ideal for your hair and how to maintain smoothened hair.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Ayurvedic herbs boost your follicles and cuticle integrity from inside to grow healthy, soft, and lustrous hair naturally. Whereas in chemical hair smoothening, your hair is glazed with keratin externally, which is later sealed using heat.”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
- What Is Hair Smoothening?
- Types Of Hair Smoothening + Which One Is Good For Your Hair?
- Science Behind Smooth Hair
- How To Do Hair Smoothening At Home?
- How To Smoothen Your Hair Naturally Through Ayurveda?
- Chemical Ways Of Hair Smoothening
- Tips To Maintain Your Smoothened Hair
- Risks & Side Effects Of Hair Smoothening
- Frequently Asked Questions On Hair Smoothening(FAQS)
What Is Hair Smoothening?
The process of enhancing the structure of your hair to impart a fine softness to your strands is known as hair smoothening. It eliminates dryness and frizz  to make your hair easily manageable in any environmental condition.
“Smooth hair is the culmination of a well-hydrated hair shaft with unbroken cuticle integrity,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Types Of Hair Smoothening + Which One Is Good For Your Hair?
In general, there are two types of hair smoothening treatments:
1. Ayurvedic Or Natural Smoothening
This involves treating your hair with powerful Ayurvedic herbs and natural ingredients. These treatments help to gradually revamp your hair structure and achieve a smooth and shiny texture. Besides focusing on hair smoothening, the medicinal herbs heal various scalp and hair-related problems.
You may not see instant results in Ayurvedic or natural hair smoothening treatments. However, these procedures are highly efficient to treat your hair without unwanted side effects in the long run.
2. Chemical Smoothening
This involves treating your hair with chemicals like formaldehyde, etc. Chemical treatments bring instant smoothness to your hair that may last permanently or for 3-12 months, depending on your post-treatment hair care regimen.
However, chemical smoothening treatments come with their own set of side effects as the overuse of certain strong chemicals weakens your hair follicles. This may eventually lead to hair breakage and hair fall.
Science Behind Smooth Hair
Your body needs essential nutrients like proteins and vitamins, which get broken down to synthesize keratin, the fibrous protein in your hair strands. In other words, Keratin  is what gives structure to your hair.
Lack of adequate keratin (protein) and moisture in your hair strands leads to the rupture of cuticle layers, causing dry, frizzy, and broken hair.
You can regain the lost smoothness of your hair by increasing the moisture and keratin content in your hair, either through natural or chemical methods.
“Ayurvedic herbs boost your follicles and cuticle integrity from inside to grow healthy, soft, and lustrous hair naturally. Whereas in chemical hair smoothening, your hair is glazed with keratin externally, which is later sealed using heat,’’ says Dr. Zeel.
The cross-sectional shapes of hair strands are different for each hair texture. Straight hair usually has a circular cross-section, whereas curly hair has an oval cross-section.
How To Do Hair Smoothening At Home?
Here is a step-by-step guide for doing a keratin (chemical-based) hair smoothening treatment at home. At-home keratin-based hair smoothening products contain comparatively milder chemicals than those used at salons.
1. Things to Remember While Doing Hair Smoothening Treatment At Home
- Detangle your hair properly before applying the keratin solution.
- Make sure your hair is completely dry before using a flat iron.
- Do not use a flat iron or blow dryer at very high temperatures. You can use heat-protecting agents before using such tools on your hair to minimize heat damage.
2. Hair Care Post Hair Smoothening Treatment At Home
- Do not tie, tuck or use any pins on your hair for at least 3-4 days after the treatment. Wash your hair only after three days, using a shampoo that is specifically meant for chemically-treated hair.
- Do not skip using a protein-rich conditioner after hair wash.
- Do not apply oil to your scalp for at least a month and to your hair for at least 15 days.
How To Smoothen Your Hair Naturally Through Ayurveda?
1. Hot Oil Treatment
Hot oil treatment with oils  infused with herbs such as ashwagandha, bhringraj, brahmi, daruharidra, kumari, manjistha, shatavari, triphala, etc. are prominently used in Ayurveda to smoothen hair texture.
- Choose an Ayurvedic hair oil suitable for your hair by understanding your current dosha levels.
- Heat the oil until it becomes warm.
- Now, apply the oil generously across your scalp area.
- Massage your scalp in circular motions for about 15-20 minutes.
- Now, take some oil and apply it to the hair shaft thoroughly by giving a light massage.
- After 20-30 minutes, wrap your scalp and hair together using a thick cotton cloth that is soaked in hot water. Ensure you squeeze out the water from the cloth before wrapping. This maximizes the absorption of oil into the cuticle layers.
- Leave it for another 20 minutes and then wash your hair with an Ayurvedic shampoo.
Treat your hair with hot oils at least once a week for faster results. You can also use coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, thyme oil, lavender oil, or rosemary oil (in combination if possible) for hot oil treatment to promote healthy hair growth with a smooth texture.
2. Hair Rinse With Smoothening Herbs
A. Hibiscus Rinse
- Soak a few hibiscus leaves and flowers in water for some time and blend them in a grinder.
- Rinse your hair with this hibiscus solution and leave it for about 10-15 minutes before washing it off with water.
- Do it once a week to obtain super soft and silky hair.
B. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
- Add 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar into 2 cups of water.
- Rinse your hair with this solution once or twice a month for healthy hair with no frizz.
C. Aloe Vera Rinse
- Add 2 tsp of natural aloe vera gel into 2 cups of water and blend it nicely to form a consistent solution.
- Rinse your hair with this solution once a week to keep your hair smooth and shiny.
- Aloe vera also treats your scalp for dandruff efficiently.
D. Coconut Water Rinse
- Mix 4 tsp of coconut water, 2 tsp of jojoba oil, and 2 tsp of aloe vera gel in a spray bottle.
- Shake it well to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
- After having a hair wash with an Ayurvedic shampoo, spritz the solution into your hair to keep your hair well hydrated and damage-free.
- Also, coconut water is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids that boost your follicle nourishment, aiding in the adequate synthesis of keratin.
3. Hair Smoothening Packs
A. Banana-Avocado Mask
- Mix the pulps of 1 Banana and 1 Avocado.
- Add 1 tsp of wheat germ oil and 1 tsp of rose oil into the mixture and blend it into a fine paste.
- Apply the paste to your hair by taking small portions at a time.
- Leave it for about 30-45 minutes before washing it off using an Ayurvedic shampoo.
Banana  has amino acids that help your hair restore protein. You can apply this mask once a week.
B. Rice Mask
- Blend 1 cup of cooked rice, 2 tsp of aloe vera gel, 2 tsp of cornstarch, and 2 tsp of olive oil into a fine paste.
- Apply this mask to your hair strands.
- Leave it for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly with water.
Rice is also a rich source of protein for your hair and this mask leaves your hair well conditioned with a smooth texture.
C. Amla Mask (Indian Gooseberry)
- Mix dry amla powder and coconut oil into a thick paste.
- Apply this mix from your hair roots to tips and wash it off after 10-15 minutes.
Amla has properties to seal the moisture in your hair strands and bring a natural softness and shine.
D. Yogurt-Egg Mask
- Add 2 tsp of yogurt into 1 egg white and blend it well.
- Apply this mixture to your hair and wash it off after 45 minutes using an Ayurvedic shampoo.
- Apply this mask once a week for the best results.
Both egg and yogurt are full of proteins that give your hair an exceptionally soft texture. It is one of the excellent natural alternatives for keratin treatment.
Avoid this hair mask if you have an oily scalp.
E. Coconut Milk-Hibiscus Mask
- Mix coconut milk and dry hibiscus powder to form a fine paste.
- You can also add some honey and aloe vera gel into the mixture.
- Apply this mask to your hair.
- Leave it for about 30-40 minutes before rinsing it off using an Ayurvedic shampoo.
Coconut milk is rich in protein and amino acids. This is one of the best hair masks to prevent hair breakage and split ends.
Dr. Zeel explains, “Besides topical treatments, you need to include a diet which is rich in protein, vitamin-A, and biotin to promote keratin production from inside for healthy and silky hair growth.’’
Chemical Ways Of Hair Smoothening
1. Brazilian Blowout
In the Brazilian Blowout treatment , your hair strands are applied with a formaldehyde solution. The formaldehyde disrupts the alignment of keratin filaments in your hair by breaking down the hydrogen bonds in the keratin molecules.
2. Keratin Treatment
In this, Keratin solution with formaldehyde is applied to your hair strands. The keratin protein attaches itself to the cuticle and fills in the missing gaps in the sub-cuticle layers. Then, heat from flat iron is applied to seal the Keratin into the cuticle.
This is useful if you have extremely thin and dry hair with split ends. There are also a few formaldehyde-free keratin treatments available in hair clinics or salons today.
In a study conducted in 2018, researchers found that applying purified keratin K31 resulted in improvement of thickness, strength and smoothness on damaged hair.
3. Thermal Hair Reconditioning
This is also called a 'Japanese straightening technique' which involves treating hair with a glycolic acid derivative. However, even in thermal hair reconditioning , the solution disrupts the hydrogen bonds in Keratin molecules, restructuring your hair into straight strands.
Along with flat-ironing, a neutralizer is applied to your strands that seal the Keratin and straighten the structure of your hair permanently.
Most chemical hair smoothening treatments come with their risks. They need to be performed in salons, while you should be very cautious in choosing a well-experienced professional for your hair smoothening treatments.
Tips To Maintain Your Smoothened Hair
- Use a shampoo that does not contain sulfates and parabens.
- Avoid tight ponytails as it may give stress to your hair strands.
- Massage your scalp and hair regularly with Ayurvedic oils based on your dosha levels. It keeps your hair nourished and restores its natural keratin.
- Avoid excessive heat styling, as it may damage your hair stands to cause extreme dehydration.
- Prefer cold water during your hair wash as it helps you reduce frizziness in hair.
- Always pat dry your hair or leave it for air drying.
- Over combing and brushing may cause too much friction leading to frizzy hair. Restrict combing to once or twice a day using a wide-toothed wooden comb. Also, never comb or brush your hair when it is wet.
- Ensure your sleeping position does not add pressure to your hair roots or make them crinkled. The best way is to spread your hair evenly over a satin pillow when you lie on your back. This is an essential measure that you need to take for at least 3-4 days after you have taken a chemical hair smoothening treatment.
- If you are doing chemical hair smoothening, make sure you go for it not more than 3 times a year. Treating your hair with chemicals excessively may make it brittle and more susceptible to breakage.
Risks & Side Effects Of Hair Smoothening
Scientific researchers claim that formaldehyde , which is an active compound in chemical hair smoothening treatments, is a carcinogen. And, it is predominantly linked to nasal and blood cancers.
Formaldehyde, a colorless gas with a strong odor, is released into the air during hair smoothening treatment. You may inhale the released gas or it may also get absorbed into your skin, triggering side effects as below:
- Scalp irritation with burns and blisters
- Hair loss
- Hair breakage or damage
- Itching and burning eyes
- Nose and throat irritation
- Chest tightness
- Skin rash
You need to consult your doctor and stylist to understand if the chemicals used for hair smoothening are suitable for you before you go for hair smoothening treatments.
Frequently Asked Questions On Hair Smoothening(FAQS)
1. Do Chemical Smoothening Treatments Cause Grey Hair?
Yes, frequent application of chemicals used in smoothening treatments may affect hair health, eventually resulting in premature greying and hair fall.
2. Can I Apply Oil After Hair Smoothening?
You can start applying oil to your hair 10-12 days after chemical hair smoothening treatments. Massage your scalp and hair with warm oil and leave it overnight. Then, wash your hair with an Ayurvedic cleanser the following morning.
3. Hair Smoothening While Breastfeeding - Is It Safe?
There is no scientific evidence that says chemicals used in hair treatments get passed through breastfeeding to babies. At the same time, no evidence concludes that it does not either. Therefore, it is better to wait until the breastfeeding phase ends and then go for chemical hair smoothening treatments to avoid any sort of unknown risks.
Otherwise, you can go for Ayurvedic herbal treatments which have exceptional and natural smoothening potential at any time.
The Last Word
- Hair smoothening is a process of increasing hydration and cuticle integrity in the hair strands.
- Natural smoothening and chemical smoothening are two main types of hair smoothening treatments.
- You may spend big bucks on special treatments for your hair to achieve your desirable smoothening effect. But, ensure that it does not cost your health.
- Healthy hair that is smooth and soft is all yours when you avoid chemical treatments or strike a balance between your chemical and natural hair treatments.
- Ayurvedic herbs help you attain long-lasting hair and scalp health, besides adding super soft texture to your hair naturally.
1. Frizzy hair pathology (Oct-2011), Europe PMC
2. Hair Keratin: Composition, Structure and Biogenesis, Biology of the Integument
3. Hair Oils: Indigenous Knowledge Revisited (May-2022), International Journal of Trichology
4. Formulation and Evaluation of Aloe Vera Gel Shampoo (Sept-2021), International Journal of Pharmaceutics and Drug Analysis
5. Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Banana, Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
6. Brazilian keratin hair treatment: a review (Jul-2013), National Library of Medicine
7. Hair Straightening (Feb-2022), Wiley Online Library
8. Formaldehyde, Occupational safety and health administration, United States Department of Labor
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