Straightening your hair can be achieved with different methods, but Japanese straightening is one of the best we have out there. You get to turn your hair into a sleek, healthy and shiny package with this treatment. But how do you go about it? What are the benefits of the Japanese hair straightening? And how does it affect your hair?
All these questions and more are what we have taken time to answer in this article. Just sit down, relax, and take in as much information about Japanese hair straightening as you can.
Japanese Hair Straightening Guide: Contents
• What Is Japanese Hair Straightening and How Does It Work?
• Japanese Hair Straightening Benefits
• Potential Damage Japanese Hair Straightening Can Cause to Your Hair
• How Long Does Japanese Straightening Last?
• What Hair Types Can Benefit from Japanese Hair Straightening?
• Japanese Hair Straightening vs. Brazilian Blowout vs. Keratin Treatment
• What Is the Process of Japanese Hair Straightening?
• Japanese Hair Straightening Aftercare
• Japanese Hair Straightening Costs
Japanese hair straightening is a permanent hair straightening method, also known as a thermal reconditioning process that is effective enough to straighten each strand of your hair. The method is quite popular – this is what many salons use to change wavy and curly hair into straight hair.
If you have ever seen straight Japanese hair, high chances are they used this method. The hair seems to go right from the root to the tip without forming a crease.
Japanese straightening uses glycolic acid-derivative for treating the hair. This solution creates a disruption in the hair bond, which makes the hair straight. After applying the solution, the hair is then blow-dried and flat-ironed to straighten the hair. With the bond still disrupted, a neutralizer will be added to keep the hair permanently straight.
Sometime around the mid-1990s, this permanent hair straightening technique was in the public eye of Japan – hence its name. By the end of that era, Japanese hair straightening had moved to America.
Salons in Los Angeles and New York were among the first to accept its use. It was like the holy grail of permanent hair straightening, the missing ingredient that has been sought for by those who were tired of having their hair all frizzed up.
The widespread popularity of the Japanese hair straightening method came in swiftly. Both small and large salons started using it for their customers.
To its advantage, rumors that Brazilian hair straightening uses harmful chemicals (e.g. carcinogens) made Japanese hair straightening outsell its competitors. The acclaim hasn’t waned since then: from Hollywood to just about anyone, you can have that straight hair you have always dreamed of thanks to Japanese hair straightening.
Here are some of the benefits you reap from choosing to use Japanese hair straightening for your hair.
• You get to have a fabulous result that lasts longer than with other hair straightening methods.
• With this treatment, maintaining your hair is a piece of cake. It leaves you with silky and glossy-looking straight hair that is easy to care for.
• Super straight locks without curl! Your hair will take on a straight look that won’t go back to frizz no matter what you do.
There are some potential risks with using this permanent hair straightening technique. But before you freak out and close this page, let’s check out why this can happen.
First, you need to consider your hair type before opting for Japanese hair straightening. While you might be eager to treat your hair, Japanese hair straightening doesn’t work for those who have weak and thin hair. Because of the hair’s inability to withstand the heat and chemicals associated with the process, it can, in fact, lead to more thinning.
The salon you go to is also important. For example, if the stylist applies too much heat to your hair, it may become brittle or even fall out. In other words, non-professionals can make you hate your hair when you look in the mirror.
Owing to these reasons, you might experience hair loss, breakage, and any other damage when you go through Japanese hair straightening. So be careful enough to consider your options well before you go through with it.
On the other hand, it gives you beautiful straight hair. Some tips to remember when selecting the salon to go are:
• Look for an expert stylist who is experienced in carrying out the treatment.
• You can surf the Internet for feedback from real people who have had their hair straightened in the past. You can also search for recommendations.
• Check sites like citysearch.com and magicyellow.com to find local salons that offer excellent Japanese hair straightening services.
Japanese hair straightening can last for up to 6 months, and it’s advisable to use it for hair in sound quality. With this permanent hair straightening method, you won’t have to worry about styling your hair for a really long time.
Hair types are one factor that you must take into account when going for Japanese straightening. Don’t just go ahead and do it without knowing if it will work on your hair.
Almost every hair type can benefit from this permanent hair straightening method, except for brittle hair, weak, color-treated and damaged hair. Apart from all these, the best hair types to straighten using the Japanese hair straightening method are loose curls or wavy hair. Those with tight coils can also have a great result with the treatment, but there will be the need for touch-ups for new hair to grow from the roots.
African hair might not go so well when straightened with this procedure along with those that are pregnant or nursing a baby (it can cause hormonal imbalance). Finally, make sure you consult a professional stylist before going forward.
To be very clear, here are some hair types that should stay far away from Japanese hair straightening:
If you have had your hair color-treated recently (say 6 months), then you might encounter some problems during thermal reconditioning. This is because thermal reconditioning will put a strain on your hair. And without the necessary build-up of protein, there might be some degree of hair damage.
So make sure you have not had any color-depositing product used on your hair before going for the Japanese hair straightening procedure. You should also have your hair washed with shampoo before proceeding.
Chemically Treated Hair
Chemicals can damage your hair if they are used in excess. This is why you can’t use Japanese hair strengthening after another chemical process. The hair might still be weak from the attack of all the previous chemicals and not be ready for the heat of the process.
Before your stylist begins, be sure to inform them of any other chemical process that your hair might have gone through.
Hair with Problems (Dandruff, Dryness, Breakage, Hair Loss)
Protein is one component that makes hair look healthy and strong; without it, hair loses shape and starts to break or fall out. Without this vital enzyme, adding thermal conditioning will create much more burden or totally wreak the hair.
If your hair starts showing any sign of damage, then you would be better off staying away from Japanese hair straightening. You can seek a stylist’s advice on how to rejuvenate your hair protein before opting for the treatment.
Hair highlights can make hair straightening very tricky. There will need to be special preparation to ensure that each shade is well rinsed, ironed and dried. Ensure the stylist is aware before carrying out the treatment – to make them well prepared.
When it comes to hair treatments, there are a plethora of options available to you. Comparing these options, however, gives you a perspective of what you are walking into.
• People battling with frizz and unmanageable curls can use Japanese hair straightening to find a permanent solution to all their troubles. As a unique solution that rearranges your hair bonds, the process starts with the addition of chemicals to break down bonds. The hair will then be heat-straightened, and strands will become perfectly straight.
• On the other hand, Brazilian blowout uses liquid keratin formula to create a layer of protection around each strand of your hair. This will guard it and also keep it less frizzy. The process can be tailored to each hair type but does not last as long as Japanese straightening. Also, your hair won’t be as straight as with the Japanese style, and you don’t need a flat iron to get the desired result.
• Keratin treatment is quite similar to the Brazilian blowout, since the primary ingredient used is keratin. The process also prevents frizz and impacts the outer layer of the hair. Unlike Japanese hair straightening, it doesn’t affect the structure of the hair. It rather smoothens the cuticles and repairs any damage the hair might be facing.
While Japanese hair straightening is not safe for colored, highlighted, chemically-treated and permed hair, you can still use keratin treatment without any problem.
Certain prerequisites are laid down to get any beauty procedure from start to finish. Japanese hair straightening is not left out of this twist. And if you are learning this technique without knowing the basics, then here are the fundamental steps involved in Japanese straightening:
• After following the consultation advice listed in the section above, your hair stylist will check if your hair is in good condition to go through the treatment. This stage is consultation.
• Shampoo will be used to wash the hair. You can also add a protein-based conditioner to give the hair strength for the Japanese straightening treatment ahead.
• The solution will be added to your hair to cause breakdown of the hair protein structure. There will also be a strand test to determine if your hair is strong enough to continue to the next phase.
• If the strand test comes back with a positive result, your hair will be rinsed, and conditioner will be added along with a heat protectant. This is where the ironing will be done at a precise temperature.
• Then, there will be the addition of more heat protectant and thermal conditioners.
• You will have to sit under the hair dryer for about 40 minutes, or a blow dryer will be used on your hair.
After spending several hours and much money on getting that Japanese straight hair you have been craving, it’s important to know how to care for it. You should know what to do and what not to do.
• Avoid any form of moisture 72 hours after the treatment, from touching your hair to washing it, be it water from rain, the pool, the shower or even from perspiration. This will ensure the neutralizer has enough oxygen to complete its work on the hair.
• Make sure you don’t apply any hair styling accessory that keeps the pressure on the hair 72 hours after straightening it. Items such as rubber bands, clips or holders, even tucking your hair behind your ears will create a permanent bend in the hair.
• Get a special moisturizing shampoo that is created for soft hair and does not contain harsh chemicals. You should also keep a blow dryer away for several days.
• Hair coloring or similar chemical treatments should be avoided for about two months after Japanese hair straightening. Ignoring this instruction can lead to significant hair damage.
• Go to the salon for touch-ups after 4-6 months, which will ensure that your hair remains straight, and your curl will still retain its strength.
• Use styling products that contain SPF to protect your hair from UV damage. You can also wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
• For at least two weeks after the process, stay away from chlorinated water or any environment that has strong chemicals.
• Apply protein-infused rich conditioning treatments to your hair once a week to keep its shiny, healthy look.
Japanese hair straightening comes at various prices in different cities. It mainly depends on the competition where you live. For example, in upscale towns, you can get your hair treated for $400-$900. On the other hand somewhere less popular, Japanese hair straightening can be carried out at the price of $150. You can check a salon website to know their price before you decide to go there for this hair treatment.
Photos via @kayluhskolors, @hairbyirisreams, @glamiris, @hairhunter, @martafeschuk