Hair smoothening or straightening is a hair treatment used to reduce the curl of hair permanently. It was developed in Japan, and it has become more popular recently in some parts of Asia.
Different companies give different advice on how long it lasts for, but most say around 2 years.
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What changes occur with hair smoothening in your hair?
Hair has a natural “S” curl pattern, where the hair bends in one direction and then curves back again. Hair can be chemically treated to reduce its curl pattern, which gives it a straighter appearance. It is usually done by straightening irons (which are heated) or long chemical treatments with chemicals such as sodium hydroxide.
The chemical treatment that involves smoothening is called a thioglycolate because it has a -C-S- group attached to a carbon atom. It breaks the double bonds that hold the hair together and reduces its curl patterns.
After this process, although the hair may become straighter and smoother, it will also be very weak and frizzy. The hair often becomes damaged and cut shorter to break some of the spiky ends off.
Chemical damage is permanent, so this must have been done to your hair for you to have these problems now. Some people feel that their hair is softer after a smoothening treatment, but even this is just because the hair has become weak and frizzy.
What happens inside the hair?
Hair contains two main parts – the cortex (the tough bit) and the cuticle (which is like a thin protective layer). The chemical smoothening process breaks some of the hydrogen bonds that hold these parts together. It reduces the “S” shape that hair bends into, making it straight.
The cuticle is also flattened, making it more difficult for water to enter and leave the hair (you’ll know this if you’ve ever tried to brush curly hair). The hair becomes very dry and frizzy because of this.
It means that the chemical treatment is only temporary because you have permanently damaged your hair’s internal structure.
How long does hair smoothening last?
Hair smoothening lasts for between 6 months and 2 years before the effects wash out. It depends on how porous your hair is, which can vary from person to person. Hair that has been treated tends to go back to its original curl within a year or two.
That’s why most hair smoothening treatments last for 2 years – because it takes that long before the effects wash out and your hair returns to its original state. The only way to make sure is to get it redone every six months, which must get expensive!
Can you speed up the process?
There are many myths around that you can “wash out” chemical smoothening by using particular shampoos and other products. It is not true! The only way to help your hair become repaired and grow back in its original state is to use reconstructors and protein treatments. These rebuild the broken hydrogen bonds and help to reform the cuticle.
A protein treatment is like putting back pieces of a broken mirror – but you still have the same mirror! Unless you repair the broken parts, your hair will continue to be frizzy and very weak at its ends.
Is smoothening your hair worth the risk?
If you’re thinking about getting a treatment done on your hair, I recommend reading up on this type of chemical treatment and its effects.
Hair smoothening can be dangerous because:
– It is a type of chemical treatment, which means that your hair will become weaker and more prone to damage.
– The chemicals involved in the process can cause allergic reactions such as irritation, itching, and rashes. Be very careful when choosing a salon to do the treatment in!
– Although some people say that their hair becomes soft after smoothening, it is actually because it has become frizzy and weak.
– Smoothening only lasts for 6 months – 2 years at most. After this time, your hair will have to be redone again or face the risk of hair damage and breakage.
– The more often you get a smoothening treatment done on your hair, the thinner it becomes over time as some of the internal structure has been broken down (and as such cannot be repaired).
So if you’re thinking about getting a smoothening treatment done, please think twice before doing so! Your hair is valuable, and you don’t want to do anything that will cause further damage.
Is hair smoothening permanent?
No, hair smoothening is not a permanent solution.
The effects of a smoothening treatment last for between 6 months to 2 years before the hair begins to revert to its original state. During this time, it cannot be easy to style your hair in certain ways because of the frizziness and stickiness that occurs due to the treatment.
Even after two years, your hair will be in a weakened and fragile state, and continuing to apply heat and styling techniques can cause further damage. If you want to avoid this, I would suggest simply growing out your damaged hair until it reaches the point where it becomes unmanageable before getting another smoothening treatment done.
How many times can hair smoothening be done?
A lot of people get their hair smoothened once and then never touch it again. If this works out for you, well and good!
If you want to continue getting your hair “smoothened” regularly, you can do so every 6 months – 2 years before the effects wash out. However, I feel that your hair should try growing it out in between treatments if you are serious about maintaining healthy and beautiful hair!
The bottom line
1. Hair smoothening is not a permanent solution – the effects last for 6 months – 2 years before reverting to its original state.
2. To avoid further damage, I would suggest growing out your hair in between smoothening treatments to give it time to repair.
3. Make sure you do not get a treatment done by just any salon, or you might end up with an allergic reaction!
4. Hair smoothening is very bad for your hair over the long term because of all the damage it causes.
5. Research is key before you get a smoothening treatment done!