Have you ever questioned how hair straightening treatments formulated with and without formaldehyde derivatives work to smooth out textured hair? If you are considering getting a formaldehyde-free treatment, I would recommend the Design Essentials STS Express Smoothing treatment or the Avlon Texture Release.

How do you decide, which one of these treatments is the best option for your hair?  First, start off with a consultation with a hairstylist that is experienced with the use of either one of these products.

Benefits of Design Essentials STS Express Smoothing Treatment

  • Formulated with amino acids, which are molecularly small enough to penetrate into the hair to strengthen the hair
  • Prevents textured hair from swelling
  • Helps straight styles to last longer and prevents frizz
  • Gives you the versatility to wear textured and straight styles without compromising hair health
  • Can be used by transitioning from relaxed to natural and will prevent breakage during the transitioning process
  • Made with silk protein to condition and help with hair repair during the service
  • Your hair does not need to be rinsed out after the smoothing treatment is complete if you are wearing a straight style

The Design Essentials STS Express Smoothing treatment takes approximately an hour and a half depending on the length and density of your hair. For your first time getting a smoothing treatment give yourself more time just to make sure you get the results you are looking for. With continued use of the treatment, the processing time should be quicker because your hair will be more manageable. I recommend the Design Essentials STS Express Treatment for people who want to take a gentler approach to straightening their hair.

What if I want curl elongation rather than straight hair?

The Design Essentials STS Express Smoothing Treatment has two strengths to choose from. If you want your natural hair to have more elongation and would like to leave the salon with a textured style, you would go for the STS Express Smoothing Mousse Gentle Smooth. Your hair will still need to be flat ironed during the smoothing process but depending on the amount of curl elongation you want, you may only need one pass with the flat iron with a heat setting from 300 degrees to 400 degrees. After your hair is flat ironed, your stylist will re-wet your hair and add styling products, so that you can do a wash and go or another natural hairstyle.

What if I don't want to flat iron?

If you desire curl elongation but you do not want a flat iron used in your hair, you have the option of loosening your curls with the use of a blow-dryer during the smoothing process. Your stylist will follow all the steps of the Avlon Texture Release Treatment. The main difference is that your hair will be blow-dried, rinsed, and the hairstyling products will be added for your textured hairstyle. Similarly, with the STS EXPRESS, the stylist may simply rewet the hair by using a water bottle or at the bowl after the blow drying process which is step 3, seal and style, and proceed to style using products from our natural line. The blow dryer serves as the heat activator in this case.

Both treatments allow flexibility for the amount of texture you desire. Your stylist can adjust the heat setting with the flat iron and blow-dryer.  The amount of passes used on the hair with the flat iron will also determine how much curl elongation you get.  The more passes with the flat iron on your hair, the more smoothness you get.  The less passes you get on your hair with the flat iron, the less elongation you get.

Benefits of the Avlon Texture Release

Avlon Texture Release has all the benefits of the Design Essentials STS Express Smoothing treatment with a three exceptions.

  1. Your straight style will be elongated more with the Avlon Texture Release because your hair stylist is allowed to make multiple passes with the flat iron for ultimate smoothness and a steamer or hooded dryer is used to help activate the Avlon Texture Release Lotion. Your stylist can use 450 degrees or lower to smooth out your hair.
  2. Avlon Texture Release was designed with a shampoo that caters to dry scalp. The sulfate-free Avlon Texture Release Nourishing Cleansing Shampoo gently and thoroughly cleanses the scalp and hair. This shampoo is formulated with hibiscus, which reduces scalp redness, dandruff, and balances the pH of the scalp.

How do these smoothing treatments work and what are the ingredients?

It is important that you know that both of these treatments have ingredients that are activated by heat. For example, blow-dryers, flat irons, hair dryers, or steamers.  The type of heat used for each treatment is different depending on which product you choose and should be discussed with your stylist before using the treatments. Remember that the temperature of the heat used can be adjusted.

The Avlon Texture Release is formulated with amino acids and glycolic acid. Glycolic acid molecules are small enough to penetrate into the hairs cortical layer to help reduce breakage. Glycolic acid allows your hair to withstand higher temperatures of heat, and creates stronger stands of hair by filling in cracks along the hair shaft. This service can last you two months.

If you want to wear your hair straight on the same day of the Avlon Texture Release, your hair may feel a little weighed down. You will have to wait three days before you can shampoo, or put your hair up in a ponytail using a clip or other hair accessory. After the three day period you can shampoo and style your hair and your hair will not feel weighed down. You can use the Kera Kare line of products for straight hair and the Kera Kare Natural Textures for textured hairstyles.

The Design Essentials Texture Express STS Smoothing treatment has glyoxyloyl carbocysteine, glyoxyloyl, keratin amino acids, and hydrolyzed protein that go into the hair and allows cysteine, the main amino acid found in hair, to bond to the hair fibers. This process helps to keep the hair elongated and strengthened when heat is applied. You can use the STS Express Cleansing Sulfate Free Shampoo and the Design Essentials Almond Butter Express Instant Moisturizing Conditioner to maintain the smoothing treatment at home. With the Design Essentials STS Express Smoothing treatment there is no wait time to shampoo your hair after the service.

Have you ever tried a smoothing treatment? What was your experience? 

Writer Sophia Emmanuel is a licensed cosmetologist and certified IAT trichologist. As a hairstylist, Sophia realized that she had to have a thorough understanding of the hair and scalp because many women complained of hair loss. She decided to become a certified trichologist after reading Barry Fletcher’s book titled, Why Are Black Women Losing Their Hair? She enjoys helping people get to the root of their hair loss and hair breakage problems.