Sleek, pin straight hair seems to be a recurring trend on the most important runways. While straight hair is indeed extremely sexy and alluring, most women often sacrifice the health of the hair in order to get the desired look. However, it does not necessarily have to be so. Get acquainted with the most well known hair straightening methods and choose the one that best suits your need.

Hair straightening has become one of the most profitable segments from the hair styling industry. As a result, experts have been working a lot on developing several methods that are able to fulfill this perceived need from various perspectives. Nowadays, women can choose between several methods depending on the level of effort they plan on making in order to get the desired hair texture.

Analyzing each hair straightening method and weighing the benefits and the disadvantages even at a very superficial level can often lead to better choices. From temporary and easily reversible style changes to longer lasting ones that might have a significant effect on your hair, all the methods described have a series of pros and cons that need to be considered. Here are the main hair straightening methods used today along with a few things you need to know before choosing them:

Natural hair straightening
Going natural in terms of hair care is quite tempting especially due to the fairly low costs and the multiple potential benefits. Just like in the case of other types of beauty problems, natural remedies do exist for those who want sleek tresses. Hot oil treatments, coconut milk and mil and honey are just a few ideas that can be used. However, the results are often not visible soon enough, which is why women prefer other hair straightening methods.

Blowouts
Another method that is extensively used is the brushing and blow drying method. Extremely affordable and fairly simple but with varying results depending on personal skill, this method is among the least damaging ones. To diminish risks, make sure to use a thermal protection spray. As you become more accustomed with the techniques you will be able to get superior results faster.

Silicone creams and styling products
Silicone creams have been developed to help women straighten their tresses without heat. These creams work for all hair types and don't alter the structure of the hair cuticle. As a result, your tresses won't be damaged if you choose this option. With ingredients like dimethicone or cyclomethicone, these products have to be applied on damp hair in order work their best. Comb the hair straight and you'll have the sleek hair you always wanted. On the other hand, regular styling products simply coat the hair shaft to create the desired look. The effects of these products usually last until you decide to wash your hair.

Flat irons
Flat irons have become a relatively inexpensive hair styling tool. Although more damaging than the aforementioned methods, due to the fact that it causes cracks in the hair cuticle, flat ironing your hair is considered to be less damaging than chemical hair straightening methods. Using moderate heat and thermal protection sprays can help, but will not eliminate the damage. A thermal protection product that contains hydrolyzed wheat protein polysiloxane copolymer is recommended to reduce cracks.

Brazilian hair straightening
This method has gained a lot of popularity at first, due to the fact it uses a crystalized form of the protein keratin and was thought to be beneficial for hair as it provided a silky sheen. However, the Brazilian blowout controversy revealed the high content of Formaldehyde contained in the formula and the potential health risk it poses. While at home formulas typically don't offer long lasting results, if done at a professional salon, it can last up to three months.

Hair relaxing
Hair relaxing is the most effective as well as the most damaging hair straightening methods available. Since a caustic chemical is used in order to straighten the hair, there are some risks involved, so going to a professional salon for the treatment is advisable. Nonetheless, the hair is usually left dry and brittle and restoring its health is very difficult.

Japanese hair straightening
This method is very similar to hair relaxing, yet it is considered to be slightly less harsh. The results last for about six months, with the proper care. However, it often comes with a hefty price tag, an issue that prevents many women from trying or continuing this treatment. The hair damage is still very significant, as the process breaks apart the protein bonds from the hair.

Photo courtesy of Farouk