Previously the only resource we had to straighten our hair was the irons, although they fulfilled their function, the damage they can cause to our hair undeniable, although not always to a great extent, nowadays -thank heaven- we have at our disposal an innumerable amount of resources to straighten our hair for a longer time and with less damage.
Keeping our hair nice and straight is not entirely simple, but thanks to hair cosmetics this becomes more accessible, although the new hair trends are quite close to the use of chemicals, all aim to cause the least damage to the hair, options such as keratin and permanent straightening through new tactics are now possible to look stylish at all time.
Aren’t they the same thing?
No, although these terms are often confused, they are different treatments, with different processes and different applications. Let’s learn a little about it! So if you were thinking about having a hair change think about it first and read a little more to understand what they are all about.
Let’s talk a little about the Keratin process
The main function of this treatment is to repair the hair fibers and nourish them from the roots to the ends giving it a more cared for and silky look, making it appear to be naturally straight. It also protects the hair from external agents such as hair spray, hair gel, hair straighteners, hairdryers, and other tools that we usually use on the scalp and the rest of the hair.
In a few words, using this treatment leaves exceptional results in the hair most of the time, hair with shine, structure, and manageability. Although it is not permanent its duration is approximately 6 to 6 months depending on the care given and the porosity of the hair, in short, it is very functional.
- This type of treatment is not long-term, that is, they maintain their effectiveness for some time, and then it seems that we have never applied the product, but the hair is left with the mistreatments through the chemicals. In this case, the keratin treatment usually lasts about 2 months or a little longer depending on the care, we apply.
- It has damaging effects on our hair, all this based on formaldehyde, which is a chemical that is too strong for our scalp and can affect the normal growth of the hair strand, in the long term.
- It is quite delicate the first few days, so much so that washing your hair is an impossible thought. Also don’t use things that add pressure to the hair strand, such as hair ties, buns, clips, bandanas, headbands, or anything that can add weight or hold the hair.
Let’s talk a little about perming
The goal of permanent straightening is to eliminate frizz and control unruly hair in the long term, although it is known as “Permanent straightening” no currently applicable treatment achieves a totally permanent effect on the hair.
Permanent straightening, also known as Japanese straightening, radically changes the structure of the hair, this is achieved with the application of a chemical solution and a neutralizer, although it sounds very simple, this is a slow and extensive process, applying the treatment takes about 4-5 hours depending on the texture, thickness and length of the hair, and although it is a rather tedious procedure, the result is incredible, unlike keratin hair will be straight even when you get out of the shower.
Although this treatment is very useful, it is not recommended for all hair types, for example, in frizzy hair, the result may not be the desired one since they have a very delicate structure.
- This type of chemical has been evolving over time since its use was very common in the 80s where they did not pay much attention to the long-term functionality if not the look that remained at the ends of its application. But even specialists do not make it a type of perm treatment that is totally healthy for the hair. So even if it is applied gently, it will have a somewhat strong impact on the hair.
- If the treatment falls out, it cannot be added again for the safety of the hair. A second application, even years apart, could cause the hair to break and even cause alopecic problems.
- You should consider your hair type before making any changes with this type of chemical treatment. As we mentioned earlier, they tend to be too strong and can have disastrous repercussions on the hair strand.
What is the main difference between these treatments?
A determining factor between one treatment and another is their processes, besides that is the effect they leave and their duration.
How the perm changes the structure of the hair has a long-term effect of approximately 6 months to 1 year, leaving the hair with a straightening that will make it look like you were born with it.
On the other hand, keratin only eliminates part of the existing frizz in the hair, although it also leaves the hair with a very natural effect, it does not match the perm, added to that, its effect only last about 6 month at most if you put a lot of care, in case you have many curls, they will retain their structure but will no longer have frizz.
Another difference between the two treatments is that with permanent straightening you won’t have to flat iron it or take care of it every time you wash your hair, the worries are much less, keratin on the other hand requires constant attention if you don’t want to lose the treatment.
What does permanent straightening involve?
Permanent straightening is a chemical process that almost permanently modifies the hair from curly to straight, what does it mean? Once it is done there is no turning back, the hair will not return to its original structure even if the treatment falls out, the only way to observe our hair as we know it is to let it grow again.
This type of straightening breaks, literally, breaks the hair fibers, in this process in the phase that we call neutralized, we will rejoin the bond of the broken hair fibers in a new form, so the hair that has been straightened will not regain its previous form at any time even if it has already fallen out.
We cannot forget to emphasize that this type of straightening cannot be performed on decolorated hair, it is not a matter of “You should”. It is a matter of “You can’t”, you will be left without hair if you try it. If you are ever told that it is possible, go from there.
What is involved in applying keratin?
When talking about keratin, the possibilities are much wider, since there are many treatments that besides straightening our hair helps to recover the shine, hydration and make it more manageable (Although there are many that do not) most of these treatments contain components that are friendly to the hair.
Unlike straightening, keratin penetrates into the cortex of the hair, softening the hair fibers, in this way it manages to temporarily modify the shape and you can get a very natural smooth and, above all, very healthy hair with the least possible damage, although its main feature is not to obtain a perfect straightening.
In addition to that, maintaining these treatments requires very expensive and specific shampoos depending on the keratin applied if you want to keep it neat.
On the other hand, another advantage is that much of the keratin can be done on highlighted hair, although not all treatments are the same, many of these can be applied even on bleached, highlighted or dyed hair as their main function is to give life to the hair.
Factors that affect the application of these treatments
Before applying any of these treatments it is important to know in what state the hair is in, what other chemicals have been applied previously or to be aware if treatments have been done previously; in any of these cases, the application of keratin is a more viable option, since the permanent requires that the hair is a little damaged as possible, it is not advisable to apply the latter -as we mentioned above if:
- The hair is very weakened or damaged
- If it has been colored with a dye or more than 20 volumes
- If it has been previously bleached
- If keratin or another treatment has already been applied, it is impossible to permit.
In short, it is not advisable to try or even think about applying both, more quantity does not mean better quality, choosing only one is ideal.
How to choose the right treatment?
To begin with, we must know that although they are two different treatments they also have many versions, keratin, for example, is not entirely ideal because there are treatments that include harmful chemicals, although it is a very popular treatment is beginning to leave aside its use because of its effects for prolonged use and high cost.
However, if it is correctly applied, it will restore shine and softness to all hair, but starting from the base to the ends. Combating volume and adding more shine.
Without a doubt, it is necessary to know at what point you have to apply a straightening or a keratin treatment directly. After all, they are different treatments for different purposes, as we said before.
Continuing with the permanent, it should be noted that despite its name, this does not last for life, although it is more functional and result in better straightening effects, it is not for all types of hair ant the requirements to apply it is stricter, also even when its effect is better it can be more damaging to the hair, for this same reason the application is more delicate.
The function of one is to straighten in its entirety for as long as possible, and the other to leave it manageable and free of frizz, depending on your need and hair type you can choose the one that suits you better, it is much easier to define it in straight, wavy, curly and afro or kinky.
These types of hair are classified into 3 classes, which are A, B, and C. In any case, A is the straightest and C is the curliest. With keratin straightening what happens is that it will be closer to the previous sub-category. This means that a hair type 2C will move to 2B as well as the other hair types.
As a bonus, pay attention to the label on the straightening treatments! What really makes the difference between one type of smoothing or another is not the name of the smoothing, but the active ingredients it contains to modify the structure of the hair.