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Hair Smoothening Vs. Keratin Treatment: Which One Is Better?

The battle to have nice hair is endless. It is harder to maintain a silky smooth look when you have coarse, curly, or frizzy hair. Hair smoothening and keratin treatments are techniques that tame frizzy and curly hair and give it a smooth and shiny finish.

But you must know which one is better for you. In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between hair smoothening and keratin treatments so that you can figure out what’s best for you.

What Do Hair Smoothening and Keratin Do to Hair?

Curly and frizzy hair is often unruly. And both smoothening and keratin treatments help the hair to become shinier, smoother, and more manageable.

Hair Smoothening

hair smoothening result

A hair smoothening treatment aims to get a bone-straight, smooth hair finish. It is ideal for people who have dry or frizzy hair.


keratin treatment result

Stylists give keratin treatments for the same reason they do smoothening treatments, to straighten the hair.

However, keratin has an added benefit, protein. Keratin is a protein present in your hair, skin, and nails. Without sufficient keratin in the body, your hair, skin, and nails become brittle and break off.

Difference Between Hair Smoothening and Keratin Treatment

The main difference between smoothening and keratin treatment is the chemical used for these processes.

Hair smoothening is a technique that uses formaldehyde to break down the bonds of the hair, resulting in a thinner, smoother finish. Keratin naturally occurs in the hair.

A keratin treatment takes more keratin, a protein, and treats the hair. Keratin then bonds to the hair, resulting in a smoother finish.

Hair Smoothening vs. Keratin Treatment

Below are the other differences between these two.

Hair Type

Smoothening treatment is mainly aimed at managing dryness and frizz. While keratin is for people with coarse curls to get straightened smooth hair.


Hair Smoothening vs. Keratin Treatment

After a good shampoo and conditioner, a hair stylist covers your hair with a formaldehyde solution, which sits on your hair for approximately half an hour. This solution breaks the hair bonds so that the stylist can reshape it.

After drying the hair, your hairstylist will meticulously flat iron your hair, small sections at a time. This heating action reshapes the hair strands, so they are flat and straight.

The next step may seem odd, but vital to the process. The hair is wet again, and neutralizing cream is added to the hair. It sits for half an hour, then the stylist washes your hair, blow dries, and styles. This process takes approximately four hours.

During a keratin treatment, a hair professional applies a keratin solution to your hair and lets it sit for approximately 15 minutes. After this step, the hair is blow-dried with the product still on the hair, then flat ironed in tiny sections.

This is a crucial step that seals in the treatment and helps to straighten the hair. After flat ironing, a moisturizing serum is applied, and the hair is blow-dried for the final time and styled.


Formaldehyde is a strong chemical. Always go to a professional for an application. Improper usage of formaldehyde causes hair loss and skin, eye, and upper respiratory infections.

Keratin is not your treatment if you are looking for a bone-straight look. It is more expensive than the smoothening treatment because you must go to the salon more often to reapply.

Effectiveness & Aftercare

Hair Smoothening vs. Keratin Treatment

Your hair will be bone straight and shiny and last six to eight months after smoothening. You will look amazing, but you must dedicate yourself to the aftercare process. You must avoid water and sweat in the first 72 hours, and you cannot pin or tuck your hair.

As a regular aftercare routine, you should sleep with a silk or satin pillowcase, wash your hair less often, use a sulfate-free shampoo, and use a nutrient-dense mask to replace vital nutrients stripped during the smoothening process.

Keratin does not make your hair bone straight, and because it is a natural product, it doesn’t strip the hair or break the hair bonds. Your hair will be more manageable and straighter, but you will retain thickness and volume.

Because it is not bone straight, it does not last as long as the smoothening treatment, which may be a negative for some. But many people love this treatment because it is a healthier option and provides the hair with protein to strengthen it.

The Differences Between Keratin and Hair Smoothening at A Glance

ComparisonSmoothening TreatmentKeratin Treatment
Product UsedMain agent FormaldehydeMain agent Keratin
ProcessThe solution breaks the hair bonds, and then the hair is straightened with a flat ironKeratin bonds to the hair then is sealed with a flat iron
EffectivenessBone straight hair lasts 6-8 monthsHair is straight but has volume, lasts 2-3 months
MaintenanceNo excessive washing, use leave-in conditioner, don’t tie or clip the hair, no hot water, use hair masks to replenish nutrientsUse sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, use silk or satin pillowcase, no hair dye for two weeks after treatment.
CostCheaperMore expensive

Similarities Between Hair Smoothening and Keratin Treatment

Hair smoothing and keratin treatments do have similarities. The straightening process takes about four hours to accomplish. The basic procedure to straighten the hair is the same; washing, applying a solution, blow drying, straightening, washing, and blow drying again. Both methods have extensive after-treatment routines.

So, Keratin or Smoothening, Which One is Better For You?

Both treatments are excellent for smoothing frizzy hair. However, keratin is better overall because it is safer and repairs the hair from the inside out.

If you have frizzy or curly hair and you desire a straighter look. Try hair smoothening or a keratin treatment. They both will provide you with a straighter, shinier finish than before.

Frequently Asked Questions

Keratin vs. hair smoothening – what lasts longer?

Hair smoothening treatment lasts longer. It last 6-8 months. Keratin treatments last a couple of months.

Is hair smoothening safer than keratin treatment?

No, a keratin treatment is safer than smoothening treatment because keratin is a natural product.