3 Damage-Free Ways to Straighten Your Hair


Photo: Greg Sorensen/Trunk Archive

Women have had a tumultuous relationship with straight hair. They iron, they keratin, they chemically treat—they’ll do pretty much anything in pursuit of smooth glossy locks. Along the way, their hair suffers. At least, mine has. I appreciate the idea of embracing your natural texture, but the truth is, I like my hair straight. Luckily, we’ve come a long way toward altering hair texture without damage, permanent structure changes or long-term health effects. Specifically, there are three new advances in smoothing hair treatments giving chemicals a run for their money.

Aveda Smooth Infusion Smoothing Treatment (starts at $65)
The Aveda Advanced Academy Lifestyle Salon offers a smoothing blowout service with their star product: the lightweight Naturally Straight, a styling crème that progressively loosens curls each time you style your hair. The product works by surrounding each strand of hair with naturally-derived plant fibers that invisibly attach and loosen the curl while locking in straightness. The formula also includes cassava root and maize to defend against frizz, which prolongs the length of your style.

Prolonged use reduces the time you spend heat styling and helps curls stay defined and more controlled in their natural state. After five consecutive applications, you can expect the results to last up to three shampoos, and it works on even the most resistant, coarse, and curly hair.

Kerastase Discipline In-Salon Ritual (prices may vary, can start around $75)
At the De Berardinis Salon in New York, a 45-minute smoothing service that works to tame frizzy hair without weighing it down while reducing blow-drying time by 33%. The salon ritual is applied to freshly-washed hair, basted on small sections, then roughly blown dry and flat ironed to seal it in before a second wash, smoothing blow dry and styling. The ritual delivers incredible softness, shine and 72 hours of control without sacrificing movement or volume.

I loved the softness and the smoothness of my hair, but it’s for gals with wavy or fine-to-medium hair textures. Girls with resistant, tight curls may not see lasting smoothness. (However, the supporting at-home products are fantastic, particularly the Bain Fluidealiste, Fondant Fluidealiste, and Maskeratine.) Blowout enthusiasts will love Spray Fluidissime, a lightweight serum that makes blow-drying a breeze.

Cezanne Perfect Finish Treatment  (prices may vary, can start around $350) 
I tested the new evolution of formaldehyde-free hair straightening at Butterfly Studio Salon in Manhattan. Unlike traditional keratin treatments that coat the hair, this product acts like demi-permanent color and penetrates the hair shaft to infuse lasting straightness that’s sweat, water- and humidity-proof.

“Classic formaldehyde keratin treatments use a flat iron to lock the product around the hair, which caused a coating effect,” says Descoteaux. “Cezanne is actually strong enough to penetrate the hair and smooths it from the inside out. It causes an elongation of curl and a reduction in frizz that leaves hair smoother without creating a line of demarcation at the root. The curl will eventually return.” The results are soft, conditioned hair and lengthened curls that last for 2-3 months. Hair can be washed right away and styled as normal (just avoid shampoos that contains sulfates) with no crazy sulfur smell. Success will vary on the coarseness and resistance of your hair texture, but smooth hair is mine at last…at least for the next couple of months.