Difference Between Rebonding and Smoothening – Which is better?

Hair is an important part of your overall look and everyone has a specific look and feel for their hair that they feel confident with. For many, it is a smooth, sleep and frizz-free hair. But that can be problem for some of you who have curly or wavy hair. So, what are the options that you have to make you way just the way you like it?

There are two methods that most people use to rectify this situation – smoothening and rebonding. Both of these are chemical treatment options for getting glossy, smooth and straight hair. But since all of us have different hair with different needs, you need to know which of the options fits the best for your hair. Read on, to gain an in depth understanding of what you and hair need to look just how you want to.

What Exactly Rebonding is?

Hair rebonding is a chemical technique that breaks the natural internal bonds of your hair for permanent straightening or relaxing. This process uses chemicals such as ammonium thioglycolate or keratin. These are combined with heat to break the natural hydrogen bonds in the hair, which is then reset in a straightened pattern.
This process involves the application of rebonding cream or a serum with chemicals that break the hydrogen bonds that are responsible for curls and wavy hair. They are then blow dried straight. It is then followed by a high-temperature straightening iron (rebonding iron) around 230°C, which is passed through small sections of hair to reset the natural structure and set the hair straight by permanent.
This needs to be done repeatedly to produce glassy, poker straight results. It takes about two to three hours at a salon. The chemicals used require special skills hence, they cannot be done at home. There is no need to wash or tie up hair for 48 hours after rebonding to set new bonds.
Rebonding produces uniformly flat, frizeless, and silky smooth hair from roots to tips. This eliminates baby hairs, flyaways, curls, and waves among others. This process of rebonding makes hair easier to style. The effects persist anywhere between two to three months, after which the roots have to be retouched again.

Hair rebounding

Benefits of Hair Rebonding

  • Long-lasting straight, frizz-free hair
  • Enhanced overall hair manageability
  • Allows for silky, smooth blowouts or poker straight styles
  • Reduces need for daily styling and heat tools
  • Gets rid of unwanted curls, waves, or frizz permanently

Risks of Hair Rebonding

  • Can damage hair severely if not done properly
  • Causes thinning and dryness when overdone
  • Loses natural texture and volume permanently
  • Roots require repeat treatment every 2-3 months
  • Gives an artificial, overly processed look if overused
  • Increased tangling and matting of very straight hair
  • Reduction in natural shine and softness

Rebonding occurs by breaking the natural disulfide bonds present in the hair cortex and introducing new straightened bonds using chemicals mixed with heat. This chemical rearrangement permanently changes the hair as opposed to heat straightening which is temporary. On the other hand, it also gives rebonding a high-damage approach.

Rebonding is the most appropriate style for those with very thick, curly or coiled hair which cannot be straightened by blowing and ironing alone. It also helps people that are born with rough hair and those with long-lasting smoothening and straightening effect. On the other hand, rebonding should not be done on such people’s hair as it may only result in more breakages.

How Many Times Can You Rebond Your Hair?

Most experts recommend limiting the number of rebonding sessions to 4-5 times maximum over the lifetime of your hair. The reasons are:

  • The chemicals used are very harsh and repeated exposure can cause significant damage, dryness, and hair breakage over time
  • With each rebonding session, more moisture is stripped from the hair making it weaker
  • Multiple rebondings increase chances of chemical cuts and overprocessing

Here is a table summarizing the effects:

Number of Rebonding SessionsEffects
1-2Minimal damage if properly done
3-4Noticeable dryness and damage
5+Severe dryness, breakage, thinning of hair

The first 1-2 rebondings generally cause minimal damage if properly done and hair is cared for afterwards. But beyond 3-4 times, the chances of overprocessing and weakness rise rapidly. This can lead hair to become gummy, stretched out and finally snapping off.

Caring for Hair Between Sessions

To help minimize damage from repeat rebonding:

  • Use an intensive hydrating hair mask once a week
  • Apply hair serums with keratin or argan oil regularly
  • Get occasional trims to cut split ends
  • Avoid heat styling as much as possible
  • Take hair supplements high in biotin and collagen

Following these tips in addition to limiting total sessions can help your hair stay healthy for rebonding touch ups every 6-8 months. Going longer between treatments is better to allow hair rejuvenation. Discuss your personal hair health with your stylist.

The repeated rebonding should be limited at most to 2-3 times per year to minimize the damage. Healthy regrowth becomes possible only when longer spans are allowed between treatments. The drying effects can also be countered by using nourishing hair masks or oils. It is safe even for color treated or highlighted hair but should not be done after coloring. Re-bond the hair after 6-8 weeks.

What is Smoothening?

It is a hair treatment that smoothens hair, also known as the Brazilian Blowout; it reduces frizze and improves overall hair texture using amino acids rather than harsh chemicals. It does not have permanent effects on hair structure. This includes placing a serum with amino acid that is heated at about between 450°F.
Rather than Rebonding’s thioglycolates as active ingredients, smoothening serum contains cysteine, argan oil, and keratin protein. They are temporary in nature and they coat the hair cuticles and smooth the rough edges caused by damage. The heat seals the serum into the cuticle layer, resulting into a smoother hair shaft.

Hair Smoothening

This is unlike rebonding in that it does not break internal bonds. The effects persist for 3–5 months and begin to recede when shampooing is done or hair regrowth occurs. Many modern formulas are also formaldehyde-free, while some also feature very small traces of straightening agents such as formaldehyde.
It takes 1.5-2 hours at a salon. This process starts by washing and conditioning the cuticle. 15-30 minutes later, serum is applied and blow-dry straight with a paddle brush. A flat iron set at ~450°F then makes 8-10 passes over hair to lock-in the serum. One can shampoo and heat style hair after 72 hours.
Smoothening results in soft, shiny and straight hair for three to five months. It reduces frizz and makes hair more manageable whilst keeping natural curl and wave. This makes it less destructive than rebonding. Though infrequently, touch-ups are also necessary.

Benefits of Hair Smoothening

  • Less damage to natural hair structure and bonds
  • Results last 3-5 months, longer than rebonding
  • Maintains some volume and natural bounce
  • Improves shine and manageability
  • Suitable for slightly wavy or frizzy hair
  • Safe for color or chemically treated hair
  • Leaves a natural finish

Risks of Hair Smoothening

  • Results not as sleek and straight as rebonding
  • Still requires repeat treatments
  • Some formulas may contain formaldehyde
  • Can leave hair feeling dry or brittle if overused
  • Not ideal for very coiled, thick hair types

Unlike rebonding, smoothening is a softer technique that does not affect the bonding that is internal to the hair and which gives hair structure. Some of the nourishment is also provided by amino-based serums. This is a good option for those who have dry, brittle, or color/chemically treated hair as those hairs would be damaged by rebonding.

It is best suited for those with slightly wavy or frizzy hair who are in need of longer lasting smoothing and frizz control, but minimal damage. The soft finish keeps its natural volume and curl intact. Regular heat styling could enhance lasting smoothness between treatments.

Smoothening may not be enough for those with thick, highly coiled, or curly hair. When combined with blowouts and flat ironing, curly hair can maintain straighter styles longer between treatment sessions. Do not overuse any smoothing treatment to prevent cuticle damage and dryness.

Key Differences Between Rebonding and Smoothening

Hair Rebonding Vs Hair Smoothening
Hair RebondingHair Smoothening
Permanently rearranges internal bonds for straight hairTemporarily coats cuticle for smoother hair
Lasts 2-3 monthsLasts 3-5 months
Makes hair pin-straightReduces frizz but doesn’t remove curl
More damaging to natural hair structureLess harsh on hair as preserves bonds
Better suited for very curly, coiled, thick hair typesBetter for slightly wavy, thin, or frizzy hair types
Can give an artificial, poker-straight lookMaintains a more natural finish
Needs retouching every 10-12 weeksNeeds retouching every 16-20 weeks
Not ideal for damaged or thin hairSafer for fragile and chemically treated hair
Performed only by trained professionalsCan be done at home with some products

Which is Better for You?

It’s important to choose between hair rebonding and smoothening based on your hair type, condition, and desired final look. Here are some tips:

  • Very coiled, thick, or frizzy hair: It is better to rebond in order to get the curls relaxed and decrease the volume.
  • Slightly wavy, thin, or air-dried hair: Texture is improved at a reasonable cost.
  • Damaged but want poker-straight: It rebonds, however, leaves a glass-like finish but more damage.
  • Want temporary smoothing: Smoothenings are more casual and less severe.
  • Access to frequent touch-ups: There are more salon visits for root retouching during rebonding.
  • Low-maintenance style: Smoothening needs less frequent retouching.
  • Have chemically treated or colored hair: Smoothening is softer and it won’t damage hair more.
  • Curly hair that resists heat styling: Permanently stretching resistant tight coils can be done using rebonding.
  • Seeking glassy, sleek, poker-straight hair: Rebonding gives ultra-straight results.
  • Want a loosened curl or wave: Smoothen makes sure the pattern is looser by smoothing over frizz.
  • Fine or thinning hair: To prevent further thinning or breakage, rebonding should be avoided.
  • Healthy, virgin hair: Should monitor for damage, but can withstand rebonding.

Seeking help from an experienced stylist will enable you to decide on the best treatment that will suit your hair goals and lifestyle. They can tell your hair’s present condition and texture to enable an informed suggestion. State what outcomes you want to see and be objective.
Some people may experience a single session of either treatment as effective. Rebonding touch-ups may be necessary every 10-12 weeks for those with very coiled hair whose roots regrow. Wavy hair may require only a smoothening refresh after 5 – 6 months. This should be noted because the grow-out period will alter results.
It is important to ensure proper aftercare such as conditioning masks, limit heat tools and occasional trims to maintain hair health after either procedure. Do not wash more than required, brush while dry or rub with towels. Spray a thermal protectant on your hair before heat styling and use the dry air option whenever possible. Make sure you have regular trims to avoid split ends and breakage.

At-Home Options?

Salon rebonding provides the strongest and most lasting straightening for extremely curly hair. Some do this, though. There are many smoothening serums that are applied at home, but they must be sealed with blow drying and flat-ironing. Follow product directions closely.
In between salon treatments, one can use bond-strengthening oils or anti-frizz sheets/sprays as touch-ups. Deep conditioning followed by rough drying using a round boar. Minimize the use of curling wands which might cause backwards bending. Make sure that set flat irons are turned off at low temperatures.
Although cheap and convenient, permanent frizz elimination and straightening cannot be assured by them just as those correct professional in-salon procedures. Technical competence as well as the kind of hair also affects the result. However, some of the rebonding products sold online have many harsh chemicals which may react badly, especially with the hair. Consult a stylist first.

Cost Comparison

Hair Rebonding

  • Initial treatment: ₹2,500-₹10,000
  • Touch up: ₹6,000-₹7,000 every 2-3 months

Hair Smoothening

  • Initial treatment: ₹3,000- ₹12,000
  • Touch up: 4,000 – ₹7,000 every 3-5 months


  • Smoothening serums: ₹375-₹1,500
  • Bond repair oils: ₹399- ₹1,000
  • Anti-frizz sheets/sprays: ₹159- ₹750

Rebonding and smoothing performed by professionals are costly up front but have lesser recurrences and superior results when compared with at-home maintenance procedures. It depends on the individual’s hair length and thickness. It is not enough to assess the initial costs, but the periodical maintenance costs as well.


Smoothening and hair rebonding make hair straighter and much easier to manage, but these processes are distinct from each other, having individual advantages. Poker-straight glassy rebonding gives permanent structure change and is only suitable for very coarse or curly hair types, as it requires high maintenance. For example, some people may prefer a more natural look, and smoothness without much damage on leaves for smoother texture and less frizz.
Think about your priorities and seek professional advice on the best hair straightening technique for you. You can have nice and frizz free rebonded or flat irons straigt locks with appropriate aftercare. Choose a qualified stylist and let your stylist knows your goals for your hair. Consider the required maintenance and do not overdo on anything in any chemical process. With proper consideration, you can even rebond or straighten your natural hair and keep your healthy mane intact.

Also read,

  1. Re-grow hair naturally in three weeks.
  2. Is curd good for hair?
  3. Side Effects of Onion Juice on Hair
  4. Hair Transplant And Its Side Effects
Sucheta Sinha

Sucheta Sinha

Sucheta is a professional well versed in the field of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She has worked in the industry with prominent names like Nykaa, Myntra, Amazon, Plam and many more in various capacities. She brings this experience to her passion for writing to make sure that the consumers in the market are more educated and informed when they make their decisions. Sucheta has made it a life mission to ensure that the tips and tricks to maintaining an insta-worthy lifestyle is not beyond the reach of anyone. Her columns and reviews aim to bring the very best of the industry for everyone.

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