The Good and the Ugly of Permanent Hair Straightening

Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Chase Reiner

Permanent hair straightening offers sleek locks but has downsides. The process, like chemical relaxers, can damage hair due to harsh chemicals and heat. Approximately 80% of women encounter hair damage post-straightening.

Is permanent hair straightening good or bad?

It’s a common dilemma for many people with curly or wavy hair: is permanent hair straightening a good idea or not? From keratin treatments to Japanese straightening, there are numerous methods available to achieve silky smooth strands. However, like any cosmetic procedure, permanent hair straightening comes with its own set of potential benefits and drawbacks. 

Here is a listicle examining the good and the bad of permanent hair straightening:

The Good

  1. Eliminates Frizz:
    One of the main benefits of permanent hair straightening is that it reduces or eliminates frizz, leaving your hair sleek and shiny.
  2. Saves Time:
    If you’re tired of spending hours each week straightening your hair with a heated tool, this could be a time-saving solution.
  3. Long-lasting Results:
    Unlike temporary solutions, permanent hair straightening offers long-lasting results, typically lasting for months at a time.
  4. Boosts Confidence:
    If sleek, straight hair will make you feel more confident in your daily life, this consideration cannot be overlooked.

The Bad

  1. Potential Damage:
    Permanent hair straightening techniques apply harsh chemicals and high heat that can weaken your locks and lead to breakage and dryness.
  2. High Cost:
    Most hair straightening treatments are on the pricier side, especially if performed by professional hairstylists.
  3. Regrowth Issues:
    As your hair grows out after a treatment, you may notice an inconsistent texture between treated and new growth hair, requiring additional touch-ups.
  4. Loss of Volume:
    Straightened hair typically doesn’t contain the same volume or bounce that naturally curly or wavy hair boasts.
  5. Limited Hairstyling Options:
    Straightened hair can be somewhat hard to curl, limiting your options for varying your hairstyle from day to day.
The GoodThe Bad
Eliminates FrizzPotential Damage
Saves TimeHigh Cost
Long-lasting ResultsRegrowth Issues
Boosts ConfidenceLoss of Volume
Limited Hairstyling Options

In conclusion, it is up to each individual to weigh these positives and negatives when deciding whether permanent hair straightening is right for them. It’s important to consult with a qualified professional and consider your hair’s health, texture, and personal preferences before making a decision.

The Side Effects of Permanent Hair Straightening

Permanent hair straightening is a popular hair styling treatment. The process uses chemicals and heat to break the bonds that give your hair its natural shape.

This leaves your hair straight, smooth, and shiny. However, this can come at a cost: the long-term side effects can cause damage to your hair. It’s not clear whether this comes from repeated use or whether it’s just part of how permanent hair straightening works. However, if you wish to know more about this before you decide if it’s right for you, you must know about the side effects.

The Side Effects of Permanent Hair Straightening

The Split-End Side Effect

Permanent hair straightening may be bad for your hair in the long run. A study done in South Korea found that women who had permanent hair straightening treatments had more split ends than those who didn’t. The study also determined that those who had the treatment were more likely to have their hair break off.

Itchy Scalp

An itchy scalp could be one of the most stubborn side effects of permanent hair straightening. The chemicals in the straightener can irritate your skin, causing an itchy, red, or scaly scalp.

If you’re experiencing an itchy scalp, try using a mild shampoo and conditioner. You may also want to avoid using styling products or treatments for a few days. If the itchiness persists, consult your dermatologist or stylist for further advice.

Damaging the Original Hair Texture

Permanent hair straightening, also known as a Japanese straight perm, changes the structure of your hair at a cellular level. This means that the original curl pattern of your hair is permanently damaged. The chemicals used in the process can also be harsh on your scalp, causing irritation, redness, and even burns.

Some people have even reported losing their hair after getting a perm. While this is less common, it does happen. Protecting your skin by wearing gloves when applying the chemical mixture to your hair and washing off any excess with cold water is vital.

The Hair Fall Side Effect

When it comes to hair fall, several factors can contribute to this issue. Permanent hair straightening is just one of them. While permanent hair styling may not be the only cause of hair fall, it can exacerbate the problem. When considering permanent hair straightening, weighing the pros and cons is crucial.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Permanent Hair Straightening

Before we start, let’s first understand what permanent hair straightening is. This type of straightening uses chemicals to break the bonds that make your hair curly. The hair is then reformed into a straighter shape using heat. Let’s explore the good and the bad so that you can choose wisely.

The Advantages of Permanent Hair Straightening

If you’re considering permanently straightening your hair, you might wonder if it’s bad for your hair. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. While some people find that their hair is healthier after straightening, others find that theirs becomes dry and brittle after the treatment. Do diligent research and ensure you understand the benefits and cons before deciding.

Here are the pros:

  1. You can achieve sleek, straight hair that’s low-maintenance.
  2. It can be a time-saver.
  3. It can help reduce frizz and flyaways.
  4. Your hair will be more manageable overall.
  5. You can experiment with different styles.
  6. It can give you a confidence boost!

The Disadvantages of Permanent Hair Straightening

While permanent hair straightening can be a time-saving option for those with naturally curly or wavy hair, it does have some disadvantages.

  • The chemicals in the straightening process can damage your hair, making it dry and brittle.
  • Permanent hair straightening is a time-consuming process that requires you to sit still for several hours while your hair is being treated.
  • The cost of permanent hair straightening can be expensive, especially if you go to a salon.
  • The chemical treatment stays in your hair for six months (although this will vary depending on how often you wash your hair). Therefore, you must wear a hat or bonnet when sleeping, so the solution doesn’t get on any sheets.
  • Finally, once the treatment wears off, most people find their natural curls reappear quickly; only about 20% of people maintain their straightened locks after six months.
The Disadvantages of Permanent Hair Straightening

Tips on How to Take Care of Your Hair After Treatments

No matter your hair treatment, it’s essential to take care of your hair afterward to ensure it remains healthy and strong. Here are critical tips on how to take care of your hair after a permanent straightening treatment.

  1. Use shampoos and conditioners designed for chemically treated hair.
  2. Avoid using heating tools such as blow dryers or curling irons.
  3. Wash your hair with cold water.
  4. Skip the use of too many styling products so they don’t build up on your hair.
  5. Never brush wet hair; use a wide-toothed comb when it’s damp.
  6. Avoid rubbing too hard when shampooing or conditioning because this can irritate your scalp

Keep in mind that long periods of heat exposure will damage the cuticle and cause drying – so avoid direct heat sources like sun exposure, space heaters, hot showers/baths, etc.

Steps to Follow Before Getting a Treatment

  • Do your research: Find a reputable salon that offers the treatment you’re interested in and read reviews from real customers.
  • Ask questions: When you visit the salon, ask about the process, aftercare, and possible side effects.
  • Listen to your stylist: If your stylist is not confident performing the treatment, it’s probably best to trust their judgment and choose another option.
  • Consider a test patch: If you’re still undecided, ask the salon if they offer a test patch so you can see how your hair reacts to the chemicals used in the treatment.
  • Protect your hair during the treatment.

Questions to Ask Before Getting a Permanent Hair Straightening Treatment

Permanent hair straightening, also known as a keratin treatment, can be a great way to achieve smooth, sleek hair. But is it right for you? Here are the critical questions you must ask before booking an appointment.

  • Is the stylist experienced with this technique?
  • What will my hair look like after the treatment?
  • Will my hairstyle still work after the treatment?
  • What are the side effects of this process?


Permanent hair straightening can be a great way to achieve low-maintenance, sleek, smooth locks. However, it’s crucial to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before deciding. Some potential risks include damage to the hair shaft, scalp irritation, and loss of natural oils. On the other hand, if done correctly by a professional, permanent hair straightening can give you the gorgeous head of hair you’ve always wanted.

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