The desire to have shiny and sleek hair must have urged you to practice different quick tricks and use different styling methods and techniques. But have they helped you reach your goal? If not, you may try hair straightening.
In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about hair straightening.
Does Hair Straightening Cause Hair Fall?
Hair straightening does not cause direct hair loss. As the application is centred only on your visible hair strands, it doesn’t impact your hair roots and scalp surface. However, straightening your hair regularly may make your locks curlier and frizzier. This may lead you to form an addictive habit of overusing straightening methods, resulting in dull and thin hair.
Straightening hair over a prolonged period, may also make it brittle and weak due to lack of moisture and natural oils. So, if you have been straightening your hair regularly in the last few years without using any heat protective serum or nourishing cream, chances of your hair becoming thin and dull are higher.
Therefore, if you are considering straightening your hair, make sure to take good care of it. You may consider opting for permanent or temporary hair straightening options depending on your hair type.
Permanent Hair Straightening
Each hair straightening method depends on specific formulations and processing techniques. While a few of these are available as do-at-home kits, others need you to visit a professional hair therapist.
1. Professional Permanent Straightening
Popularly known as perm, this is a chemical process which permanently changes the hair structure and follicle. Hair perms  are usually suggested to create curls and waves for those who don’t have them naturally. However, perms can be also done to straighten hair.
Hair perms are done in a professional salon by a hair stylist. It usually takes a few hours. The final cost of the process may depend on the length of your hair and the salon you’ve chosen for the treatment.
Pros Of Permanent Hair Straightening
- This is the cheapest and fastest of all the straightening methods available at the salon.
- The sleek look stays intact for at least 6 months. When normal hair continues to grow, the volume of the treated hair weighs in to give it a soft, wavy appearance.
Cons Of Permanent Hair Straightening
- Hair perms alter and damage the hair follicles. Hence, your hair can’t hold its natural structure and shape once treated.
- Hair loss, breakage and split ends may occur. Also, your scalp and hair are exposed to harsh chemicals from the straightening process.
- Once you get a perm, you can’t change your hairstyle or colour-treat your hair.
2. At-Home Hair Straightening
You can buy chemical relaxant hair kits, which are easily available in beauty stores and pharmacies. These do-it-yourself kits offer similar results as getting a perm done at a salon.
Pros Of At-Home Hair Straightening
- These DIY kits are comparatively affordable than the treatment options offered at any salon.
- These are simple to use as they come along with step-by-step instruction leaflets.
- These are less time taking compared to perms in salons.
- These kits are less harmful as the chemical formulations are approved for using at home and are less concentrated.
Cons Of At-Home Hair Straightening
- The results aren’t as professional and high-end as salons.
- You may damage your hair if you don’t follow the step-by-step instructions carefully.
- In a few cases, it has been reported that these DIY kits don’t give a long-lasting effect and fade away with a single wash.
3. Semi-Permanent Straightening
Smoothening, Brazilian blowout, and Keratin treatment involves a technique of hair straightening which stays for 3-5 months. This technique may take several salon sittings to complete the application process.
Pros Of Semi-Permanent Straightening
- These treatments offer your hair deep conditioning and nourishment. The final result is smoother and softer hair from the keratin treatment when compared with the other methods. Most of the other methods end up making your hair dry and brittle.
- The results from these treatments may last for 3-5 months.
Cons Of Semi-Permanent Straightening
- These straightening treatments only make your hair less wavy or curly than before, unlike other treatments which leave your hair poker straight.
- After treatment, your hair may not return to its original shape after a few washes. The appearance of new hair growth may leave you looking unkempt.
4. Thermal Hair Straightening
Also known as an acid perm, the Japanese thermal straightening method is closely identical to a perm straightening. It may require you to spend at least 5-6 hours at a salon to complete the process. It is relatively more expensive than other treatments.
Pros Of Thermal Hair Straightening
- The treatment allows you to flaunt poker straight hair with less maintenance.
- The results last longer than other hair straightening treatments.
- With no additional maintenance, this straightening method is hugely popular.
Cons Of Thermal Hair Straightening
- Like other treatment options, this straightening method too, damages your hair follicles.
- Its chemical formulations may harm your skin.
- The process is relatively expensive and time consuming.
- You may have to visit your hair professional many times a year for touch-ups.
Temporary Hair Straightening
1. Blow Drying
This is a fool-proof technique to get unruly hair straightened for an important occasion. You can simply follow the steps below for a sleek finish:
- Start with half-dry hair after a shower or hair wash.
- Divide your hair into three separate sections and roll a brush outward from the first section.
- While rolling the brush outwards, run the blow dryer over your hair. Repeat this step till you get a smooth finish.
- Once done, move on to the other sections and repeat the step
- You may need around 20-25 minutes to finish the look.
Your freshly blow-dried hair will remain intact until you wash it. The final effect may fade away if the weather is hot and humid. But remember that regular blow drying your hair without any heat protectant serum may damage your hair in the long run.
2. Hair Straightener
Hair straighteners ensure that you have a sleek finish and poker straight hair with no flyaways. To achieve the look:
- Start with dry hair.
- Heat the hair straightening device to 180 degrees.
- Divide your hair into equal sections based on the volume of your hair.
- Take each section and apply the heating iron carefully. Avoid holding the device in one place for too long.
- You may take around 30-40 minutes to straighten your hair and it will remain straight until you wash your hair.
Remember that excessive heat on a regular basis is not good for your hair. In case you need to use a hair straightener for more than 4-5 times a week, then it is better to consider a permanent solution.
3. Straightening Brushes
These electrically powered hair brushes are wide-bristle heating appliances which help you to dry and straighten your damp hair. Even though they may seem like the perfect solution, the final look can be disappointing. Additionally, the direct heat emanated from these brushes may harm your cuticles. Brushing damp hair with these brushes, may also cause hair-breakage.
How To Naturally Straighten Your Hair?
While you may use a hair straightener on special events (avoid more than 2-3 times a week), it is always safer and healthier to choose natural ways to achieve straight, smooth and soft hair. Apart from taming your unmanageable hair, these methods also nourish your hair, making it look voluminous, healthy, shiny and straight.
1. Ayurvedic Ways
Ayurvedic hair care focuses on strengthening and rejuvenation for your hair type, for specific issues affecting the health of your hair, and for your body as a whole. The ancient science of Ayurveda has a special branch dedicated to rejuvenation (known as Rasayana). It is a holistic practice of providing deep nourishment and strengthening at a cellular level to promote healing and restoration of tissues.
“The contribution of Anupan, a carrier agent in Ayurveda, is closely associated with the theory of rejuvenation. It helps in the movement of beneficial herbs deeper into the cells and tissues,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
The herbs listed below are revered in the Ayurvedic texts for their ability to improve the thickness, luster, strength and health of your hair due to their restorative and nourishing properties.
Renowned as the ‘ruler of the hair’, this cooling herb strengthens your hair roots. In Ayurveda, Bhringaraj  is highly renowned to protect your hair’s original luster and colour, enhance hair growth, calm your mind and cool your head.
Even though it balances all the three doshas, Bhringaraj is well-known to calm down the excess pitta due to its cooling property. The excessive pitta may damage your hair, burn your hair follicles and even cause hair loss and early greying.
One of the three substances in Triphala, Amalaki is an excellent source of antioxidants, a strong restorative agent and highly beneficial for your bones and hair. Its cooling property helps pacify the pitta dosha by helping to eliminate heat from your digestive system, while gently promoting the elimination of toxins from your body.
This Ayurvedic formulation provides both detoxification and rejuvenation which naturally calms down the three doshas. Triphala specifically provides support to your digestive system and improves the absorption of tissue nutrition in your body, including your hair.
It is popularly known for its ability to quiet, soothe and cool your mind, stimulating tranquillity. Brahmi also rejuvenates your hair, scalp and digestive tract, making it an ideal systemic support system for your hair care regime.
2. Home Treatments
A. Multani Mitti
- Multani Mitti or Fuller’s earth can be extremely beneficial for your hair.
- Take powdered multani mitti in a bowl and mix it with some water to form a paste.
- Gently apply the paste onto your scalp and hair. Remember to cover your scalp and hair with the paste completely.
- Now, gently comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb and leave the hair mask to dry for an hour.
- Rinse your hair with lukewarm water.
B. Eggs And Whole Milk
- Take 2 eggs and 1 cup of whole milk in a mixing bowl. Whip the mix gently for a few seconds.
- Dip a cotton swab into the mix. Use the wet swab to apply the mix onto your scalp.
- Next, pour the mix onto your hair and apply it all over your head.
- Gently squeeze out the excess liquid mix from your hair and tie your hair in a bun. Cover it with a shower cap. Leave it for 20-25 minutes.
- Rinse your hair with a mild shampoo in lukewarm water.
C. Lime Juice And Coconut Milk
- Mix one cup of coconut milk, two teaspoons of corn-starch, juice extracted from half a lemon and two tablespoons of olive oil.
- Heat the mixture for a few minutes.
- Allow it to cool down to room temperature and apply it to your hair.
- Leave it for around 20-25 minutes and rinse with a mild shampoo.
D. Aloe-Vera, Castor Oil, Flaxseeds and Honey
- Take a cup of hot water and add three teaspoons of flaxseeds into it.
- Allow the water to boil in medium heat and let it cool down.
- Add two teaspoons of honey, two teaspoons of castor oil, one tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of aloe vera gel.
- Mix the contents well and apply it on wet hair. Leave it to dry for 20-25 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils are capable of managing and conditioning various hair types. Additionally, they can naturally straighten your hair by taming the flyaways and making your hair more responsive. Essential oils are easily absorbed when compared with other chemically-laden conditioners.
Some of the popular essential oils which are commonly used as hair straighteners include macadamia oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and argan oil. These offer a host of benefits to your hair like improving the natural sheen and penetrating the hair follicles to restore cells . Using the right amount of these oils for deep conditioning, will give you a sleek look, and treat your damaged hair.
Overly-porous hair leads to breakage, tangles and frizz. In a Keratin spa treatment , your hair professional will add the protective protein externally, thus rebuilding and restoring the lost keratin. The permeable spots formed in your hair due to keratin loss are filled, giving you soft and lustrous hair.
How Long Does Straightened Hair Last?
- Semi-permanent or temporary hair straightening usually lasts for 3-4 months.
- On the other hand, DIY hair straightening kits last nearly 6 weeks.
- Permanent hair straightening by a hair professional at a salon lasts between 4 to 6 months.
- Once the new hair begins to grow, you can either wait for it to grow completely or repeat the straightening treatment.
- Keep a close watch on the overall condition of your hair, and trim it every 6-8 weeks. Trimming helps you to minimize the appearance of damaged edges and split ends.
- Consider a Keratin treatment for better hair health in the long run. Even though it only relaxes your hair, Keratin treatment doesn’t leave behind flyaways and curly hair post treatment.
- If you’re planning to both colour and straighten your hair, then ensure that you first opt for a straightening treatment. As hair straightening begins with a hair wash using a clarifying shampoo, it would fade away any hair colour.
How To Take Care Of Your Hair After Straightening?
- Follow your normal hair care regimen. Wash your hair every alternate day and apply conditioner for better results.
- After treatment, straight hair is usually dry and brittle in texture. It needs deep conditioning once a week to nourish and strengthen the follicles.
- After washing your hair with a mild shampoo, you may use a leave-in serum for better moisture retention post treatment.
- Include hair vitamins in your daily diet before considering any straightening treatment. These prevent thinning and hair fall by strengthening your hair.
- Follow a healthy diet which is rich in essential fats and antioxidants to further nourish and strengthen your mane.
- Take a few precautionary measures as chemical treatments are harsh in nature. Avoid using any heated styling appliances.
- If you have to use a blow dryer, always remember to switch to cool mode to prevent any hair damage due to heat.
- Don’t swim immediately after getting a hair straightening treatment.
- Avoid direct sunlight after getting a hair straightening treatment.
Is Hair Smoothening Better Than Hair Straightening?
Smoothening is always considered a safer and better option when compared with straightening. However, the choice of treatment rests upon your hair type, quality and the desired result.
The smoothening process gives you a natural finish to soft, lustrous and straight hair, whereas straightening gives a manicured look. The results of hair smoothening last for at least 2-5 months. The method is recommended for thin, frizzy or wavy hair.
Hair straightening treatments cause more hair damage and breakage than smoothening. It, however, straightens and flattens all hair types. Until your normal hair starts to grow in, the treated hair will remain intact and poker straight. The method is recommended for those with voluminous, wavy hair or curly hair.
The Last Word
The results of permanent hair straightening will depend on the hair straightening treatment you choose, how quickly your natural hair grows and your hair type. Remember that the word ‘permanent’ in hair straightening doesn’t imply lifelong. It only signifies the time period of a single life cycle of your hair. Speak to your Ayurvedic doctor and hair professional about the best suitable option for your hair type before going for a straightening session.Know Your Dosha Now