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What is the difference between Keratin and Smoothing?


Every morning can feel like an uphill battle when faced with unruly, unmanageable hair. The struggle to tame frizz, straighten curls, and achieve that effortlessly sleek look can be a daily ordeal. It's no wonder many turn to hair treatments like Keratin and Smoothing as their go-to remedies.  

While there is always a keratin vs smoothing battle going on, Keratin Treatment and Smoothing are often used interchangeably because of the end outcome- hair becoming smoother and more manageable, but there are some key differences. Keratin is more of a protein boost for your hair, whereas Smoothing is straightening that lasts longer. Before choosing the best treatment for your hair, it is essential to understand the critical difference between Keratin and Smoothing to ensure your hair gets the best treatment possible. Let us first understand what Keratin treatment and Smoothing treatments are. 

What Is A Keratin Treatment?

A Keratin Treatment is the chemical process that smoothens down the hair, makes it tangle-free, and adds more shine to hair. The treatment types vary from Brazilian Blowout, Cezanne, and Goldwell Kerasilk and are customisable as per the needs of your hair. Earlier, most of the treatments contained formaldehyde. However, newer versions, such as the “Rio” keratin treatment, are formaldehyde-free. Keratin treatment benefits the hair as the protein dives into the hair follicles and fills the porous areas with keratin, an essential hair protein. 

Is Keratin Treatment Good for Hair?

Yes, Keratin treatment is good for hair if you want to reduce frizz and want shinier hair. The benefits of Keratin Treatment include reduced frizz, less styling time, more shine and a better look. 

How much does a Keratin Treatment Cost? 

The keratin treatment cost can vary significantly based on your location, the salon or stylist you choose, and the specific product used. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 7000 or more for a professional keratin treatment. Some high-end salons may charge even more. Remember that the cost may also include a follow-up appointment for maintenance.

What are the Side Effects of Keratin Treatment? 

While keratin treatments can provide numerous benefits, there are potential side effects and considerations to be aware of- 

  • Formaldehyde Exposure: Many traditional keratin treatments contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing chemicals. These chemicals can release fumes that may be harmful if inhaled.
  • Sensitivity and Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience scalp irritation or allergic reactions to the products used in keratin treatments. Doing a patch test beforehand can help identify potential sensitivities.
  • Temporary Straightening: The effects of a keratin treatment are not permanent, and the treatment gradually wears off over time. If you want to maintain the results, you'll need to get the treatment reapplied, which can be expensive.
  • Hair Damage: Overusing keratin treatments or using products with a high formaldehyde content can potentially damage the hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage.
  • Limitations on Styling: After a keratin treatment, you may be advised to avoid certain haircare practices, like swimming in chlorinated water or using hair ties that can create creases in the hair.
  • Color-Treated Hair: Keratin treatments may affect the colour of your hair, potentially lightening or altering the shade, so it's important to discuss this with your stylist.

What Is Smoothing Treatment?

Smoothing treatments, often called hair smoothing or hair straightening, aim to make the hair straighter and more manageable. They typically use chemicals, such as formaldehyde or other straightening agents, to alter the hair's structure and reduce frizz.  Smoothing treatments break the disulfide bonds within the hair's structure, which are responsible for maintaining its shape. This disruption allows the hair to be reshaped, typically with the help of heat, into a straighter form. After this, a neutraliser is applied to reform the bonds, locking them in the new shape. The results are semi-permanent and can last for several months.

Is Smoothing Treatment Good for Hair?

Smoothing treatments, like keratin treatments, can have both benefits and potential drawbacks for your hair. The benefits of Smoothing Treatment include frizz reduction, enhanced shine, easier to style, requiring less time for blow-drying and straightening. However, the results of a smoothing treatment typically last several weeks, depending on the specific product used and aftercare.

How much does Smoothing Cost? 

The cost of a smoothing treatment can vary based on factors such as your location, the salon or stylist you choose, and the specific product used. On average, you can expect to pay around Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000 or more for a professional smoothing treatment. Depending on the treatment, the cost may include a follow-up appointment for maintenance.

What are the Side Effects of Smoothing? 

Smoothing treatments can have potential side effects and considerations, similar to keratin treatments.

  • Formaldehyde Exposure: Some smoothing treatments contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, which can release fumes that may be harmful if inhaled. Ensure that the products used are formaldehyde-free or low in formaldehyde content.
  • Sensitivity and Allergic Reactions: Like keratin treatments, some individuals may experience scalp irritation or allergic reactions to the products used in smoothing treatments. Doing a patch test beforehand is a good idea.
  • Temporary Results: Smoothing treatments are not permanent; the effects gradually wear off. You may need to get the treatment reapplied periodically to maintain the results.
  • Hair Damage: Overusing smoothing treatments or using products with high formaldehyde content can potentially damage the hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage.
  • Colour-Treated Hair: Smoothing treatments may affect the colour of your hair, potentially lightening or altering the shade. Discuss this with your stylist if you have colour-treated hair.

What is the Difference between Keratin and Smoothing? 

Choosing what is best for your hair can often be confusing, especially with the numerous treatment options available for hair care. When you go to a Salon, the stylist presents multiple options for your hair frizz, making it difficult to choose. Therefore, to help you make an informed decision, let's start by understanding the fundamental difference between Keratin and Smoothing treatments. 


Hair Smoothening

Keratin Treatment


Hair Smoothening is a chemical process that relaxes curls and waves, making hair straight, sleek and shiny.

Keratin treatment infuses hair with a protective protein to reduce frizz and improve manageability.

Is it good for hair?

It can make hair appear smooth and glossy, but frequent use may lead to dryness and damage.

Keratin treatment is generally considered safer and can improve hair health over time.

Side Effects

It may cause damage, dryness, and hair breakage, especially if overdone.

There are fewer side effects, but some may experience temporary hair shedding. Moreover, more post-treatment care is required. 


Varies depending on hair length and salon. Moderately expensive compared to Keratin treatment. 

More expensive than smoothening. Costs vary by salon and location.


Typically, it lasts for a few months, gradually wearing off.

It can last longer, often up to several months, with proper care.

Now that you understand the difference between keratin and smoothing, the choice ultimately depends on your hair's unique characteristics and desired outcomes. While hair smoothening can provide immediate results, it comes with potential risks of damage. On the other hand, Keratin treatments are known for their lasting benefits and safer approach to hair care.

Keratin vs Smoothing Treatments: How to choose?

Now that we know the difference between keratin and smoothing, here are some more insights into the treatment which will help you make an informed decision about which treatment to choose. 

Keratin Treatment: 

Imagine getting a protein boost for your hair, and that's essentially what a Keratin treatment is. It's the go-to solution if you're after-  

  • Smoother and Shinier Hair: Keratin treatments reduce frizz and enhance shine, giving your hair that sleek and healthy appearance.
  • Post-Keratin Maintenance: This treatment requires some TLC after the salon visit. You'll need to take precautions, like avoiding the harsh effects of chlorine in swimming pools, not tying your hair too tightly, and using specific herbal shampoos to maintain the effects.
  • High Post-Care Expenses: Be prepared for the higher post-treatment costs of specialised shampoos and hair care products.
  • Long-Term Results: If you're looking for a lasting impact and improvement in your hair's overall health, this could be the right choice. However, the longevity depends on how well you manage and maintain it.

Smoothing Treatment: 

Smoothing treatments offer a different approach to achieving smoother, more manageable hair. Here's why you might consider Smoothing:

  • Straight Hair Goals: Smoothing treatments are a great choice if you aim for straighter hair with reduced frizz and volume.
  • Budget-Friendly: Smoothing can be a more economical choice if you're working with a tighter budget and don't want to spend as much on post-treatment care.
  • Temporary Solution: Smoothing treatments often involve chemicals intended to provide a temporary fix, making it ideal if you're looking for a short-term change.

The Best Solution: Nourishing Your Hair From Within

While Keratin and Smoothing treatments can work wonders in the short term, they do not address the underlying issues that might be causing hair problems such as thinning. For a more enduring solution, consider focusing on your internal health. Nutrition, Hydration, Scalp Health and Internal Health Issues are crucial to managing your hair. 

Remember, achieving lasting hair health is a holistic journey beyond quick fixes. While Keratin and Smoothing treatments can temporarily provide you with the hair you desire, addressing your internal health and nurturing your hair from within can lead to more permanent results, especially when dealing with issues like thinning, bad quality and unmanageable hair. So, it's not just about what you put on your hair; it's also about what you put into your body and how you care for your overall well-being.

Which Is Better, Keratin Hair Treatment Or Smoothing?

So, the decision between Keratin and Smoothing treatments ultimately comes down to your hair goals, budget, and commitment to maintenance. Both options have their merits, and the choice depends on what suits your specific needs. Remember, a consultation with a professional hairstylist can help you make the best decision for your hair type and lifestyle.

Ultimately, whether you opt for the protein boost of Keratin or the straightening shortcut of Smoothing, both treatments can help you conquer those unruly hair days and achieve the desired look.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

Q: Which is better, smoothing or keratin?

The choice between smoothing and keratin treatments depends on your hair type and desired results. The difference between Keratin and Smoothing is that Smoothing treatments typically relax curls and waves, making your hair more manageable, while keratin treatments aim to reduce frizz and make hair smoother and shinier. 

Q: Which is the safest hair treatment, keratin or smoothing?

Both keratin and smoothing treatments can be safe when a professional uses quality products. Safety largely depends on the ingredients and the application process. Ensure you go to a reputable salon and discuss your concerns with a qualified stylist who can recommend the safest option based on your hair condition and sensitivities.

Q: Can we do keratin and smoothing together?

It's generally not recommended to do keratin and smoothing treatments simultaneously, as they often serve similar purposes in reducing frizz and making hair more manageable. Combining both treatments could lead to over-processing your hair, causing damage. 

Q: Is keratin good for frizzy hair?

Yes, keratin treatments are known for being effective in reducing frizz. Keratin is a protein that helps to smooth the hair's cuticle, making it less prone to frizz and more manageable. It can be a great option for those with frizzy or unruly hair seeking a smoother, sleeker look.

Q: How long does keratin last?

The longevity of a keratin treatment can vary based on several factors, including your hair type, the products used, and how well you maintain it. On average, a keratin treatment can last anywhere from 2 to 6 months. Over time, it gradually fades, and your hair will return to its natural state.

Q: Which treatment is best for frizzy hair, keratin or smoothing?

Choosing keratin and smoothing treatments for frizzy hair depends on your desired outcome and hair type. There are many differences between keratin and smoothing but both can reduce frizz. Keratin treatments will also help in making hair smoother whereas smoothing may result in a different texture and curl reduction result.  


Zahra Lokhandwala

Hair Coach

Zahra is the hair coach-in-chief at Traya. She works closely with the doctors to monitor all cases. She is a fitness freak and has not touched sugar in years!

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