Permanent Hair Straightening: Everything You Need To Know

Know this famous hair styling technique's nitty-gritty to go ahead confidently.

Reviewed by Madison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist Madison Dufour Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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Thanks to permanent hair straightening, you can bid farewell to your daily hairstyling routine. This straightening hair treatment makes your hair easy to manage, style, and look oh-so-fabulous and chic. But, as with every hair treatment, there may be a few questions on your mind. Will this treatment damage your hair? Are there any side effects? This article explains the nuances of permanent hair straightening. Scroll down for more information.

Is Permanently Straightening Your Hair Safe?

Blonde model with flawlessly done permanent hair straightening
Image: IStock

Yes. But this also depends on the hair products that you use. The process involves applying a chemical solution, which affects the hair proteins and changes their structure. If not used in the right way, this solution can severely damage your hair.

Note: As a precautionary measure, pregnant women and new mothers are advised against permanently straightening their hair.

Did you know that you can permanently make your hair straight in multiple ways? Check out the next section to explore everything about them.

Different Ways To Permanently Straighten Hair

There are three major techniques to straighten one’s hair permanently:

1. Hair Rebonding

This form of a permanent hair straightening restructures the shape of the strands by relaxing, breaking, and reshaping the bonds. The process takes about 3-8 hours, depending on the length of your tresses.


  • The stylist will shampoo your hair and divide it into sections.
  • They will apply a thick layer of relaxant to the hair and hold it in place with a thin plastic board. The relaxant is left on the hair for 30-45 minutes.
  • Your locks are steamed anywhere between 10-40 minutes, based on their structure and curl type.
  • The stylist then rinses out the relaxant and deep conditions your hair to boost moisture.
  • Keratin lotion is applied to the strands, and special hair care is taken to keep it well saturated.
  • The stylist will wash your hair after 30 minutes with cold water.
  • Finally, your hair will be blow dried and permanently straightened with a flat iron.

2. Japanese Thermal Reconditioning

The Japanese hair straightening method uses heat and chemical solutions to change the hair’s curl pattern.


  •  The stylist will wash your hair and divide it into sections.
  •  They will apply a chemical solution to each section and leave it on for 30-45 minutes. This solution breaks the protein bonds and restructures your hair’s natural texture.
  • The stylist will rinse out the solution with cold water and shampoo your hair.
  •  Your hair will be exposed to heat for some time until it is straightened.
  •  The stylist will apply another chemical to your hair to retain its new shape.
  • After three days, you have to repeat the process to lock the bonds permanently.

Laura, a cloud engineer and a blogger, shared her journey with Japanese hair straightening in her blog. She said, “For the first time ever, my hair is now completely manageable. When I wash it, all I have to do is rough blow dry it and it’s poker straight. Since having the treatment I haven’t straightened my hair once with straighteners (i).”

protip_icon Trivia
The Japanese thermal reconditioning treatment was invented by Japanese hair expert Yuko Yamashita in 1996.

3. Brazillian Or Keratin Treatment

Display of Keratin therapy products for permanent straightening at a salon
Image: Shutterstock

The keratin/Brazilian treatment is one of the safest permanent hair straightening methods. It also comes with the added benefit of protecting your hair from the sun.


  • The stylist will wash your hair and divide it into sections.
  •  They will apply a keratin solution to each section and leave it on for 2-5 minutes.
  • The stylist will run a flat iron over your tresses, smoothening and locking your straight hair structure.

Straightening your hair permanently can be time-consuming. While getting it done at a hair salon is always a great option, you can do it easily at home. Here’s the correct way to go about it.

How Do You Straighten Your Hair At Home?

You Will Need

  •  Oil or petroleum jelly
  •  Relaxer
  •  Gloves
  • Plastic rat-tail comb
  •  Clips


  1.  Divide your hair into four sections with the rat-tailed comb. Use a plastic comb and not a metal rat tail comb, as the metal will scratch the scalp, and the chemical relaxer will burn even light scratches on the scalp. Hold each section in place using the clips.
  2. Divide one of the sections into 4-6 equal parts.
  3. Wear the gloves and apply some oil or petroleum jelly to the hair roots and the hairline to prevent the solution to run into your eyes.
  4. Add the relaxer to the first part of the sectioned hair with a comb or your hands. Ensure that the hair is completely saturated and coated with the creme. Be sure that each section is completely straight and flat. If there is even a small bump, the chemical will shape the hair strands with the bump.
  5. Repeat the same with all the sections of the hair.
  6. Leave the relaxer on your hair as instructed on the package.
  7. Rinse off the relaxer with lukewarm water and gently cleanse your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. This will boost the pH levels of your hair and moisturize it.

Now that you know how to permanently make your curly hair straight, let us look at some tips to ensure a smooth process.

Tips For Permanently Straightening Your Hair

A woman getting permanent straightening done for her hair by a professional
Image: Shutterstock

1. Consult A Professional

Due to the use of strong chemical hair straighteners, straightening your hair permanently may lead to thinning and hair fallout, especially if your hair is weak or fragile. Hence, it is recommended to consult a professional who will suggest which process to follow based on your hair type.

2. Do Not Use Shampoo

Your scalp becomes sensitive after a hair wash and requires some ’rest’ time to regain its strength. If not given enough time to rest, it can negatively react with the chemical hair straighteners and cause a burning sensation. Thus, do not shampoo or condition your hair a week after straightening your hair.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Use a sulfate- and paraben-free shampoo a week after your straightening treatment for clean and smooth hair. However, ensure that you shampoo only once every three days to avoid drying your hair out.

3. Detangle Your Tresses

If your curls are extremely knotted or frizzy, it might get difficult to coat your hair with the straightening solution. Hence, detangle your locks before straightening them permanently.

4. Opt For A Neutralizing Shampoo

The relaxer might burn your hair and scalp even after been rinsed out. A neutralizing shampoo helps combat this and prevents overprocessing your hair.

5. Condition Your Straightened Hair

The permanent hair straightening treatment can dry out your tresses. Therefore, apply a conditioner every time you shampoo to replenish the lost moisture of your hair. Go for a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week.

Let us discuss some other concerns related to permanently straightening the hair.

Is Regrowth After Permanently Straightening Your Hair Bad?

Closeup of woman running fingers through permanently straightened hair that is conditioned and well maintained
Image: Shutterstock

No. Using the right straightening products and deep conditioning your hair frequently can ensure your regrowth is manageable.

The hair texture and state of your regrowth depend on how you permanently straighten your hair and take care of it. For instance, overprocessing your curls can burn and damage your follicles, resulting in a weak, thin, and dull regrowth.

Unfortunately, permanently straightening your hair is not a one-time process. Repeat the process as your hair grows to maintain a sleek appearance.

How Long Does Permanent Straightening Last?

Depending on your growth pattern, the permanent hair straightening treatment lasts between 4-6 months. During this period, the curly roots will grow, and you need to go for touch-ups to eliminate frizzy hair.

Wondering whether straightening the hair permanently is a good idea or not? Scroll down to explore the benefits and side effects of this process.

Pros And Cons Of Straightening Your Hair Permanently

Woman assessing her brittle and damaged hair as a result of a badly done straightening procedure
Image: Shutterstock

  •  When done at home, permanently straightening your hair is quite cost-effective.
  •  It can be easily done at home, and your hair becomes more manageable.
  • Store-bought relaxers tend to be less concentrated than the ones used in the salon. They can provide similar results without putting your strands at risk.
  •  It lasts for a relatively long time (4-6 months).

  • This treatment can cause split ends, hair loss, and breakage if not done properly.
  •  You need to avoid coloring your hair to retain its straight shape.
  •  Depending on the process you choose, your hair may not turn pin-straight.

Now, let’s delve into some gentler and less damaging methods of achieving straight hair.

How Do I Straighten My Hair Without Heat?

1. Straightening Products: Wash hair with a smoothening shampoo, then apply on a hair straightening or smoothening mask. Rinse it off with a smoothening conditioner.

2. Wet Hair Bun: Wrap damp hair in a bun, secure it, and leave it to dry naturally for a straightening effect.

3. Blow-Dry With Cold Air: Use a cold setting on your blow dryer while brushing hair straight.

4. Hair Rollers: Roll damp hair onto large rollers, leave overnight for smooth, straightened hair.

5. Hair Wraps: Use hair wraps to stretch and straighten hair without heat by securing wet hair around your head.

6. Straightening Comb: Instead of just air drying your locks, comb them as well. Comb your hair, holding it at the ends for some tension, until it dries.

7. Straightening Balms: Apply straightening or smoothing balms to wet hair and style as desired.

Infographic: Dos And Don’ts For Permanently Straightened Hair

Achieving flawless, pin-straight hair is now within your reach. As the article above indicated, there are multiple techniques to pick from and a few parameters you should be aware of before making the decision. However, aftercare is just as important as the procedure to ensure you make the most of the experience.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about the dos and don’ts one must follow to have healthy, straight hair.

dos and don’ts for permanently straightened hair (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Permanent hair straightening involves using chemical solutions that can cause hair damage if not used correctly. Also, it is better to consult a professional to find out if your hair can withstand the chemical treatment. Already weak and brittle hair can suffer severe damage, so people with such hair should ideally avoid permanent straightening. Moreover, taking care of straightened hair is crucial as it becomes prone to dryness after the harsh chemical treatment. So, condition your hair each time you shampoo it. You can also straighten your hair at home. However, you may end up triggering hair loss and breakage if not done properly. So, practice caution. Be very mindful of your hair maintenance goals and keep optimal hair health as your first priority. Flaunt your hair’s beauty with your super straight tresses! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we apply oil after permanent hair straightening?

Avoid oiling hair for the first week post the permanent hair straightening treatment as the chemicals require the initial few days to take their full effect. But, after that, you can regularly oil your hair to keep it moisturized.

Does rice water straighten hair?

Rice water decreases hair’s surface tension and enhances its elasticity. While it may make your hair manageable and straight, it may not straighten your hair permanently.

Does coconut milk straighten hair?

You may achieve naturally straight hair by applying coconut milk. However, it wouldn’t straighten your permanently.

How do you sleep with straightened hair?

Satin and silk limit friction and keep the straightened mane from springing out. So, wrap your hair with a silk or satin head scarf while sleeping.

Key Takeaways

  • You can permanently straighten your hair using a chemical solution that relaxes and breaks the protein bonds and restructures your hair.
  • Japanese thermal reconditioning or Brazilian treatment are different ways to straighten your hair.
  • You can also straighten your hair at home with petroleum jelly, a relaxant, and a comb, without burning a hole in your pocket.
  • It is important to use a neutralizing shampoo and condition your hair to keep it hydrated and nourished.
  • Hair straightening can last up to 4 to 6 months, but repeated treatments can cause hair loss and damage.
Permanent Hair Straightening

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Permanent hair straightening can be a great way to get smooth, sleek hair. If you’re considering your options, watch this video to learn all you need to know about permanant straightening!

Personal Experience: Source

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Madison Dufour
Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist
Madison Dufour is a licensed and practicing barber and cosmetologist with 10 years of experience, as well as an entrepreneur running several hair businesses, including MadisonD Barbering and The Exquisite Find Hair Blog. After working behind the chair for several years, she felt the calling to start the non-profit Barber in a Bag that teaches basic hair cutting skills in street and slum communities in South America.

Read full bio of Madison Dufour
Arshiya Syeda
Arshiya SyedaSenior Editor
Arshiya Syeda is a senior editor at StyleCraze with 7 years of experience. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and research skills to write over 200 high-performing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and skin care.

Read full bio of Arshiya Syeda
Ramona is an editor at StyleCraze with 11 years of experience in writing and editing. She has authored over 200 articles on skin and hair care. She graduated from the University of Calcutta, West Bengal, and did her post-graduation from the University of Kalyani, West Bengal.

Read full bio of Ramona Sinha
Swathi E
Swathi ESenior Beauty & Lifestyle Writer
Swathi has a postgraduate degree in English literature from The English And Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and over three years of experience in writing on beauty, health, and lifestyle. She also has a diploma in English journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Kottayam, and is a certified skincare coach.

Read full bio of Swathi E