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All Hair Straightening And Smoothing Options From Non-Chemical To Chemical

Desired hairstyles, hair textures and hues rotate in and out of popularity depending upon a variety of factors ranging from emerging fashion, celebrity and entertainment trends.

After all, some of the most popular hairstyle trends in history were triggered on television including naturally wavy haired Jennifer Aniston's Rachel haircut and Farrah Fawcett's Angel wings.

And lets not forget the impact Victoria Beckham had with her recent short Pob, a cross between a Bob and a Pixie.

(Image of Amanda Seyfriend - - All Rights Reserved)

One hairstyle trend never seems to change and that's the desire to have sleek straight shiny tresses which cascade down past the shoulders.

Since the majority of the population are not born with perfectly straight strands, the look requires some form of temporary (non-chemical), semi-permanent or permanent hair straightening.

Listed below are all of the current 2010 options with some of the advantages and disadvantages included.  These methods can be used by males and females of all races and ages, although some of the chemical solutions might not be acceptable for younger hair consumers.

Non-Chemical Straightening/Smoothing Options

There are several options to straighten hair with non-chemical solutions.  They all have unique advantage and disadvantages.  Only you can select the best options for your hair type, texture and current condition.

Listed below the currently available non-chemical options:

Traditional Blowout: The simplest way to achieve sleek strands is to combine styling products like straightening balms and defrisants, a round or paddle brush and a traditional blow dryer with a diffuser attachment.   This hair straightening method may not be the best technique for some types of curly hair, especially in humid, rainy or winding climates.

Blowouts can be performed at home or you can visit a professional hairdresser. A hot new trend are hair salons which only offer blow drying services.

The downside to blowouts is that they only last until the next shampoo session or until your tresses get damp (humidity) or wet again.

Blowouts, either down at home or at the salon can be time consuming depending on the type, texture and length of the strands. Even after a perfect blow out a flat iron may still be required to get strands completely straight.

(Image of Amanda Seyfriend - - All Rights Reserved)

Blow Out Plus Flat Ironing: A flat iron can also guarantee sleek straight strands.  Flat ironing is usually coupled with a blowout although it can be done on dry hair prepped with the proper styling products.

Hot ironing has some downsides due to its potential for creating long term damage, but has become very popular for consumers with curlier hair. Due to the high heat and close contact to strands, it's not recommended for daily use.

Round Irons For Sleek Strands

Another popular method of creating sleek strands is to use a round iron to create fullness and sleekness, but wrap the strands around the outside of the irons instead of using a straight iron.

Wet To Dry Ironing:  Due to the exploding popularity of hot irons, some of the manufacturers like Conair have introduced advanced irons/straighteners which can straighten wet hair which eliminated the blow drying steps.

(Image of Ali Larter - - All Rights Reserved)

Wet Set: The most traditional way to acquire stick straight strands is a wet set. This involves sectioning newly cleansed or product prepared hair into 2" or larger sections and rolling on large rollers. Once the curlers are properly arranged for maximum sleekness, the set is dried under a hood dryer.

Hot Rollers: Electric rollers are the straightening tool of choice for those with just a bit of natural bend who want volume with sleekness. The larger the sections of hair and the size of the rollers added, the fuller and sleeker the ultimate set.

Hair Length: In some situations people with naturally wavy or slightly curly hair can increase the ease of straightening their locks by wearing them long enough in hairstyles designed to weigh down the natural texture.  Of course when the natural texture is weighed down, any waves or curls are naturally compressed.

In some cases the addition of some types of hair extensions will also create the same effect of weighing down natural textures.

Chemical Straightening/Smoothing Solutions

While there are several options to straighten hair with non-chemical solutions there are also a range of chemical options available.  Like the non-chemical options, the chemical options all have advantage and disadvantages.  Only you can select the best options for your hair type, texture and current condition.

Listed below the currently available chemical options:

Traditional Relaxer: A relaxer chemically softens and relaxes the natural texture of hair.  Relaxers achieve the best results on hair which is naturally wavy or slightly curly and is somewhat less effective on tightly curled or kinky hair textures.

Chemical relaxers do not straighten tresses like chemical straighteners, but they can temporarily provide a much looser texture.   Relaxers, unlike chemical straighteners, are considered temporary because the impact of the chemical fades from the hair over time.  Often long before the roots grow back in.

The advantage of chemical relaxers is that it softens the texture of the hair but retains some movement and texture which can then be straightened further with blow dryers, hot irons, combs or wet sets.

Traditional Chemical Straightening: Long before the popularity of Japanese or Yuko straightening, also known as thermal reconditioning, chemical straightening was the more permanent solution for creating straight strands.

(Image of Ali Larter - - All Rights Reserved)

The downside to chemical straightening is the potential long term damage to the hair as well as the challenges of dealing with root regrowth. Although chemical hair straightening, a type of reverse perming, permanently straightens the hair, when hair grows at the roots, the new hair reverts to the original texture.

Thermal Reconditioning: Known also as Japanese straightening or a variety of marketing names thermal reconditioning (TR) utilizes similar harsh chemicals as those utilized in traditional chemical straightening.

Thermal Reconditioning which has fallen out of popularity over the years was considered most successful for people with wavy or slightly curly hair.   People with super kinky or tightly curled hair did not respond as well to thermal reconditioning due to curly re-growth which is challenging to deal with in many cases.

Brazilian Keratin Treatments: Brazilian Keratin Treatments known as BKT has surpassed Thermal Reconditioning as the go-to treatment for transforming wavy and curly tresses into panels of sleek shiny strands.

(Image of Gwyneth Paltrow - - All Rights Reserved)

The downside to BK Treatments is that they utilize chemicals which are directly or indirectly linked to formaldehyde.

Although there is no documented proof of the dangers of long term exposure to formaldehyde or related chemicals, many hairdressers have shied away from providing the treatment to their clients.

Brazilian Keratin Treatments were initially introduced into the US market by a few manufacturers. Over the past few years a wide range of new keratin related treatment options have been introduced into the market offering a range of innovative new smoothing options.

Brazilian Blowout: Due to the potential toxicity of Keratin Smoothing Treatments and Brazilian Keratin Treatments (BKT) new variations of Brazilian treatments conditioning and smoothing have become popular.

The current hot ticket for strengthening and smoothing hair are conditioning treatments which use keratin as the main ingredient.

These new treatments are known as Brazilian Blowouts.  The Brazilian blowout offers different results depending on the hair's type, texture and starting condition.

The results of a Blowout may last up to three months depending upon how the hair is maintained at-home after the Blowout treatment.

After a Blowout naturally wavy hair tends to become smooth and straight while curly and/or kinky hair tends to remain curly, but have a smoother texture.

After treatment, you can then do a quick blowout and have straight, shiny hair as a result. Hair is left healthier even after the treatment wears off.

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