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Do Temporary Hair Straighteners Work?

Vjrad asks...One of your posts discusses dangerous permanent straightening options such as Brazilian keratin treatments. What about temporary inexpensive drugstore straighteners that are supposed to last till your next shampoo, such as the ones by Garnier and John Frieda? Are they safe? The Garnier one smells HORRIBLE!!

The Right Brain replies:

We’ve written before about 7 Sure Ways To Straighten Your Hair. The two products you asked about are kind of a combination of these.

John Frieda 3 Day Straight

Frieda’s 3 Day Straight works by using silicone to coat your hair (#1 on our list of 7 straighteners). By coating each hair and then treating it with a flat iron (which is #3 on the list) you can get your hair reasonably straight and it will last pretty well as long as you don’t shampoo it. (Frieda’s 3 day claim is based on not washing your hair, as you can tell from reading the package: “Transforms curly, frizzy hair into a straight, smooth style that lasts up to 3 days.* *or until your next shampoo if less than 3 days.”) So, this product is very safe but you may find that it doesn’t work all that well either, depending on how hard it is for you to keep your hair straight.

Garnier Blow Dry Perfector

Garnier’s product works entirely differently. It’s a two part system consisting of a smoothing serum and a conditioning cream. The serum contains a mixture of chemicals (Cysteine and Ethanolamine) that react with the protein structure of your hair. (Similar to #5 on our list, but without the formaldehyde). This process is safer than the classic Brazilian Straighteners but it also doesn’t straighten as well. And, because it chemically reacts with protein, it can damage and weaken your hair. Read Garnier Blow Dry Perfector Ingredients

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Both of these products are good alternatives to treatments that use dangerous levels of formaldehyde, but neither are perfect solutions. Frieda is safe and non-damaging but doesn’t provide intensive straightening. Garnier provides a more potent straightening effect but it can chemically damage your hair.

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