Why Are Japanese Hair Straightening Treatments Better Than The Rest? | CoolJapan

Frizzy hair is one of the top hair concerns we have to deal with as people who live in a humid climate. A lot of women turn to various hair treatments to permanently flatten out the frizziness to a sleek shine. Aside from your flat iron, hair rebonding, relaxing, and keratin treatments, there is another smoothing option you need to know. We’re talking about Japanese hair straightening.

What is a Japanese hair straightening treatment?

Japanese hair straightening, also known as thermal reconditioning, was created by Japanese hair expert Yuko Yamashita and patented in 1996. The process uses both chemicals and heat to permanently alter the structure of your hair. The special chemical solution loosens the hair’s protein bonds while another solution reshapes and seals the protein bonds to appear pin straight after applying heat, using a flat iron, is applied.

Woman's hair being straightened with a flat iron

Using chemical solutions and heat to break apart and rebind the hair's protein bonds, a Japanese hair straightening treatment creates smooth and pin-straight locks. (Photo from: Polina Tankilevitch via Pexels)

It’s a very long and arduous process. The first session usually takes six to eight hours, as the solutions need to sit for a while. Then, flat ironing and blow drying is done in sections which will take more time depending on your hair length and thickness.

But it lasts a long time

Now, it may seem that this will take up most of your day. While it does take hours, a lot of people — yes, both men and women — think the end results are worth it. The effects of a Japanese hair straightening treatment can last up to six to seven months, which is comparatively twice more than what usual keratin treatments offer.

It works well on Asian and Caucasian hair types too. In 2016, an American YouTuber named Rachel of Rachel and Jun filmed how her hair air-dried to its current straight form two months after getting this straightening treatment.

However, take the description "permanent" with a grain of salt. While Japanese hair straightening is permanent, in the sense that it cannot be reversed in any way, you have to wait to grow it out. This leaves the roots of your hair ending up a different texture compared to the midsections and ends.

Does it cause damage?

As with many hair treatments that reshape the hair strands, Japanese hair straightening can be potentially damaging based on certain factors. In particular, people with coloured or chemically treated hair have a higher chance of hair damage such as hair loss. The hair is just too fine to withstand the heat and chemicals that thermal reconditioning applies. The same applies to hair that is blow-dried or straightened on a daily basis.

If you're curious to try thermal reconditioning, it's best to go to a hair salon with a stylist that's highly experienced in Japanese hair straightening. An expert will be able to determine if your hair will suit the treatment. Some questions you should ask your stylist prior to the process is how long they’ve been offering Japanese hair straightening services and how many they’ve done in their career.

If your heart's set on being frizz-free, then do consider Japanese hair straightening for your next salon appointment.

(Cover photos from: Wikimedia Commons and freestocks via Unsplash)