Looking to permanently straighten your hair but not sure how?  Japanese hair straightening might just be your ticket to straight hair so you can toss your straightening iron for good.  This procedure was developed in Japan in the 90’s and uses chemicals to break down the protein bonds that help to give hair its shape, whether naturally curly, wavy, or straight.  You may have heard the term “thermal reconditioning”; this is another term that’s widely used for this process since it also entails the use of a specific type of flat iron that enhances the work of the chemicals.  New York became the jumping point for this process once it crossed the ocean from Japan in about 2000, but you’ll find a variety of salons in your area (or at least in the cities) that can offer this technique.

The process itself takes about 4 hours for the average head of hair.  Hair that is very thick, long or super curly can take up to 8 hours, but this is only in pretty extreme situations.  Disulfide/cystine is the powerful chemical used in this type of straightening and allows it to become a permanent solution.  Be aware that in most cases, a consultation with your stylist is necessary to determine if you’re a good candidate for the procedure.  Since it is permanent, there are risks involved with the condition of your hair, and these should be explained up front.  If you have wavy or slightly curly hair and typically use a flat iron to achieve results you want, you’re very likely to be completely happy with the results.  If you have very tight curls, the procedure may still work for you, but it might not have the same effect as it would on looser curls.  You would also have to go for more frequent touch-ups (as your hair grows in, it will need to be treated) and the procedure will definitely take longer.  If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, this process should be avoided.  You should also let your stylist know whether or not you’ve used a hair relaxer, as some types of chemicals will not be compatible with those used in Japanese straightening, and also address any colouring, bleaching or coloured toners you may have recently had done.  If you’re not entirely sure which chemical base was used by any other hair treatments you’ve had, it might be recommended that you only have a test piece of hair straightened to ensure that it will be compatible.

There are many benefits to this procedure.  A frizz free and shiny, sleek hair is obviously the priority, and this can certainly be achieved.  You’ll save oodles of time getting ready in the morning, as thermal reconditioning helps to make your hair easier and faster to dry, and styling needs are next to none.  Straight hair generally has fewer knots to comb through, you won’t need straightening salon products anymore, and you can even toss your straightening iron.  You may even be able to get away without blow drying your hair, as it will naturally dry to perfect straightness.