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The Lowdown on Japanese Hair Straightening

For several years now, the process has been gaining worldwide popularity. Known by several names – including thermal reconditioning, rebonding, the Yuko system, Bio Ionic Straightening, and Japanese straight perm – Japanese hair straightening has built a reputation for delivering beautiful, lasting results. But what is it, and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know.

What IS Japanese Hair Straightening?

Japanese hair straightening is a curl-relaxing process that straightens tresses using both chemical and thermal methods. Specially-formulated protein conditioners and chemical relaxers are applied to the hair, then rinsed out and neutralized. While the neutralizer is still in the hair, your mane is set and dried under special heat lamps, then blown out and flat ironed. This entire process is repeated until the hair has reached a silky-straight state that should last for six months to a year.

How Long Does it Take?

Because there are so many different hair textures, the Japanese hair straightening process takes different amounts of time for different women. On average, most clients get their desired results after about six hours of repeated washing, heating, and flat ironing. However, the curlier your hair is, the longer it will likely take.

How Much Does it Cost?

Japanese hair straightening is not cheap by any means. Most stylists that specialize in the procedure charge $80 to 100 per hour, which adds up to about $600, before tipping or any other additional charges.

What Else Should I Know?

In general, Japanese hair straightening has a good reputation as a safe, effective product. Users who do their research and have the products applied properly have yet to report any health problems, and - despite the repeated heat application involved - the process usually leaves hair silky, healthy, and free of damage.

However, you must do your due diligence to get the best results. As always, check the credentials of any stylist who will touch your hair, and make sure your Japanese straightening products are top-of-the-line. The Yuko and Liscio brands are the original trailblazing products from Japan, and are widely known as the best to use, no matter where you live. An experienced stylist should be able to use them to get your hair whipping in the wind in no time.

Yet this process is not for everyone. Japanese hair straightening techniques are generally too stringent for Type 3c and Type 4 African and African-American hair, which is too fragile to withstand all the repeated washing and heat styling. Also, women with color-treated hair should let their stylists know about their most recent color treatments and plan to wait at least two months before getting a color touch-up. Overlapping too many chemical treatments always leads to breakage, damage, and hair loss, so it’s best to schedule these services well in advance with a licensed beautician.

Finally, thermally-reconditioned hair requires special maintenance, so take that into account. Do not sweat, swim, or otherwise get your hair wet for 72 hours after the initial application, and try to protect your hair from the sun afterwards. Gentle, non-stripping shampoos and conditioners are a must, and while your salon probably has Yuko or Liscio maintenance products available, you can save money by buying your own. Simply search online, and you’ll have everything you need to rock a lovely, super-straight mane of hair, courtesy of Japanese hair straightening!

Take care of yourselves,


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