Learn the Ins and Outs of Japanese Hair Straightening for Beautifully Smooth Hair.

The popular treatment for taming unruly curls and frizz is broken down by the experts.

Pictures by Jonathan Storey/Getty Images

Those who struggle to maintain curly, frizzy hair are probably familiar with the two-plus hour blowouts and countless passes of the hair straightener required to smooth out the unwelcome kinks and frizz. The good news is that there is a less difficult and more long-lasting way to achieve the sleek, straight hair of your dreams. The Japanese hair straightening treatment was created to reshape each individual hair for the ultimate in sleek, smooth style. As with any seemingly miraculous solution, however, there are potential drawbacks and risks, including the loss of hair.

To help you make an informed decision about this potentially life-altering treatment, we consulted with top medical professionals to learn more about the risks, benefits, costs, and other factors involved. Read on for a crash course in Japanese hair straightening techniques if you're looking for the best straightening solution for your needs.

Why do Japanese people straighten their hair?

Amy Abramite, artistic director and hairstylist at Chicago's Maxine Salon, says Hair that has been straightened using Japanese thermal techniques is permanently rebonded, rendering curls and frizz a thing of the past.

Japanese hair straightening, like a straight perm, employs a chemical solution to relax the hair's bonds, the structural and morphological building blocks. Curly hair can be flat ironed into a sleek straight style after this process has been completed. After applying the solution, leaving it in for about 30 minutes, rinsing, and then blow drying and flat ironing, the hair's texture can be altered by smoothing the cuticle and eliminating frizz, as explained by Jerome Lordet. Director of the New York City salon Pierre Michel and creator of its signature style But this is no ordinary flat iron; instead, stylists use ceramic plates to smooth out the hair in tiny, 1/8-inch sections.

The stylist then uses a neutralizer to set the hairstyle, leaving it sleek and straight. After another round of blow drying and flat ironing, the service is complete. According to Lordet, the process can take anywhere from a couple of hours to the better part of a day, depending on the hair's length and natural texture.

Abramite explains that the method was developed in the 1990s in Japan (hence the name) to achieve permanently straight, frizz-free hair. After ten years, it was widely offered in New York City hair salons and other major cities around the world.

Lordet recalls that in the early 2000s, "women wanted that super straight hair all the time." It was the first treatment of its kind to permanently smooth curls, and its name was "thermal reconditioning." ”

When Japanese hair is straightened, what happens?

After using the product, your hair should be silky, shiny, and manageable with a significant reduction in regular frizz.

Japanese hair straightening is permanent, at least in theory, but hairstyles generally don't last forever. The treatment is permanent on the treated hair but has no effect on the texture of new hair growth, which, according to Lordet, typically appears around six months after the treatment has been completed. However, both professionals advise getting touch-ups on your roots every eight to ten months.

Note that unlike semi-permanent keratin straightening treatments that wash out over time, Japanese hair straightening lasts for about twice as long.

Does Japanese hair straightening cause damage?

Many studies have shown that Japanese hair straightening can be harmful to hair.

As Lordet points out, "since there are chemicals involved, if done wrong, there can be permanent damage—especially if working on dyed hair, previously damaged hair, or just an incompatible hair type." Try a strand out and find the right stylist by doing your homework. Constant treatment can eventually cause hair that is already brittle or damaged to fall out. ”

However, there is always a chance of damage to the hair from chemical treatments, so care must be taken to avoid damage. A consultation with a licensed, experienced stylist, as recommended by Abramite, can help you figure out if you're a good fit for the service.

How much does it cost to get your Japanese hair straightened?

Japanese hair straightening treatments are still widely available across the country, especially in major cities, despite the fact that some salons have stopped offering them due to the potential damage they can inflict on hair. Costs range from $ 400 - $ 800 but are typically in that range.

What is the best way to maintain your Japanese straightening treatment?

Because of the potential for damage, aftercare for Japanese hair straightening is crucial. Abramite recommends not touching your hair for at least three days after treatment. Therefore, no ponytails, elastics, clips, pins, headbands, or hats, and no water or styling products. Within the first three days after a chemical service, hair is extremely fragile and still rebonding, making it vulnerable to permanent damage from even mild manipulation.

Lordet suggests using hair masks after the first few washes to restore follicle strength and minimize damage, and once the hair has returned to its natural pH levels (which should occur after those three days), it is safe to return to regular shampooing and conditioning.

Both stylists advise staying away from additional chemical treatments, as doing so will only exacerbate existing damage to the hair and necessitate a longer-term commitment to growing it out.

What else should I think about before I get Japanese hair straightening?

The treatment's effectiveness may vary from patient to patient, and black women's hair tends to be coarse. Both professionals stress the importance of visiting a reputable salon to achieve the desired results, given the high risk of injury. Colored and chemically treated hair is more vulnerable to breakage, so it's especially important to find a salon you can trust, as the experts advise. 

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Posted: 2023-06-02 00:01:14
Author: Pro Reviewer
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