Difference between hair smoothening and hair straightening

The trend for straighter and smoother hair are becoming increasingly popular. Straight hair is easier to maintain as compared to wavy or curly hair. While there is no doubt that curly hair is absolutely gorgeous, a lot of women do not have the time to maintain them. This is why hair straightening salons and smoothing treatments are gaining so much popularity.

However, a lot of women who want to get rid of curls and frizz do not understand the different between hair straightening and hair smoothing. In this article, we will discuss how these both differ including their side effects.

What is Hair Smoothing?

Hair smoothing is a treatment that smoothens your hair with the help of some chemicals. Some people also consider it to come under hair straightening treatments as it also temporarily straightens your hair. However, the treatment is not as strong as hair straightening treatments, so it is less damaging and does not last long.

What is Hair Straightening?

In simple words, hair straightening is a process by which you straighten your hair. There are two types of hair straightening treatments: permanent and temporary. Temporary hair straightening is what you do with hair straightening tools like flat iron. This straighten your hair, but they go back to your natural hair as soon as you wash them. Permanent hair straightening on the other hand is where your hair structure is broken down and straightened with the help of some chemicals. This is a long-lasting treatment and does not wash off after one wash.

Side effects of Hair Smoothing

Hair smoothing treatments works best for wavy and frizzy hair. This is because it does not have to work too hard to realign the hair structure. It might not even work on too thick and curly hair. Its effects often last up to 2 or 5 months.

Hair smoothing has a couple of side effects, just like any hair treatment does. Hair smoothing treatments use substances that are formaldehyde releasers. Formaldehyde is a toxic substance that causes eye burning, nervous system problems, nausea, respiratory tract problems, vomiting, chest pain and rashes. It is also a carcinogen. It also causes a risk of developing asthma. Moreover, due to the use of chemicals and heat in this treatment, it can cause damage to your hair if used excessively.

Side effects of Hair Straightening

Hair straightening is a stronger method as compared to Hair smoothing and hair coloring. This is why it works on all hair types including extremely thick and curly hair. The treatment needs to be repeated depending on the type of hair. Mostly it would need to be repeated every 8 to 12 weeks.

Just like Hair smoothing, Hair straightening also has some side effects. It uses chemical relaxers that can burn the scalp if applied there. It can also cause hair breakage if not properly done. It also causes the hair to lose its strength due to the swelling hair fibers and opening of cuticles. Moreover, this treatment is also said to lead to frizzy hair, hair thinning and hair loss, dandruff, graying hair and split ends.


Both treatments have their own pros and cons. If you are unable to decide which treatment to get, just ask yourself the following questions.

Are you looking for a permanent or a temporary treatment?

Do you want to get rid of frizz or just straight hair?

Do you want dead straight hair or a natural look?

The answers to these questions will help you decide whether you should get a keratin treatment by hair stylist Potomac or a smoothening treatment. Just make sure you get these treatments done by a professional!