The pros and cons, according to the experts


Listen, how you choose to wear your hair is your choice and yours alone. And if that choice is to straighten your hair regularly, and you’ve officially exhausted your arm and straightener by this point, you might be interested in trying something more permanent, like Japanese hair straightening (aka thermal reconditioning). While the look of super smooth hair may be new to you and your TikTok, the treatment in fact started in Japan in the 90s before going to salons in the United States. Basically it’s one thing – not a trend! – for a long time now.

Japanese smoothing, for the uninformed, uses chemical process to transform wavy and curly hair types permanently. And if this sounds like your dream and you’re ready to make a date right now, you’ll want to read this article first. Because like I said, it’s a permanent hair treatment, so it’s not for everyone. Ahead, Amy Abramite, Creative Director and Stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, breaks down the process that breaks the bonds in your hair and restructures it to give you straight, smooth locks.

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What is Japanese smoothing?

As Abramite explains, Japanese smoothing – or thermal reconditioning – is a permanent smoothing treatment that removes 70-90% of curls, hair volume and frizz by chemically restructuring your hair bonds. Here’s how the process goes: First, a solution is applied to your hair to chemically break their bonds in order to soften and smooth them. Then your hair is rinsed, dried and flat-ironed to retain softness and shine. Next is the neutralizer to help restore the bonds and pH levels of your hair. Finally, your hair is again rinsed, dried and ironed flat to finish.

Which is better, keratin or Japanese straightening?

Japanese straightening treatments leave you with smooth, sleek, shiny hair that is much easier to blow dry on your own, which is why they are usually compared to keratin treatment, which gives you very similar results. But here’s the difference: while both treatments smooth hair and make blow-drying easier, Japanese thermal smoothing is more intense.

Japanese straightening breaks your hair ties and reconfigures your hair permanently for maximum straightness. Keratin, on the other hand, temporarily reduces frizz by coating the hair, but it does not break or alter the ties of your hair. Keratin treatment leaves curls and volume in your hair and gradually washes out over time, while Japanese straightening stays in the hair forever (or, you know, until it’s cut).

Get the difference now? Cool, let’s get to know Japanese hair straightening better.

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Is Japanese straightening bad for your hair?

As with all bond breaking chemical hair services, Abramite says, yes, there is a risk of compromising the integrity of your hair when you chemically straighten it. This, my friends, this is why this is Great important that you find a stylist with a lot of experience in this process. If the technician is properly trained and the treatment is performed according to the manufacturer’s directions, Abramite says the hair should remain relatively healthy upon completion.

Can you undo Japanese hair straightening?

With thermal reconditioning, the treated hair is permanently straightened and will not fade or wear out over time. If you change your mind, there is no edit> Undo. Your only option is to grow it out and cut off the treated sections. To aid and smooth the growth process and help with frizz and time spent with your hair dryer, Abramite recommends – you guessed it – a keratin treatment.

How long does Japanese straightening last?

Although straightening Japanese hair lasts forever, that doesn’t mean it’s a one-time process. Since your hair will continue to grow, you will need to touch it up after eight to ten months, or whenever you have four inches of new growth (which is the length needed for proper product application and flat ironing). To this end, Abramite explains that Japanese thermal straightening is best suited for wavy and curly hair models that are looser at the scalp, allowing for texture continuity between treated hair and regrowth.

How much does Japanese straightening cost?

Prepare yourself, because the price of Japanese thermal smoothing starts around $ 700. It’s a time consuming treatment, so the price reflects that, but your total cost will also depend on your stylist and salon.

Should you wash your hair before Japanese straightening?

You’re welcome! Abramite says the best way to prepare your hair for Japanese thermal straightening is to arrive with clean, air-dried hair in its natural texture. The process takes around four hours from start to finish, so arriving with hair prepared will reduce your time in the chair.

Can I tie my hair back after permanent straightening?

For 72 hours after treatment, you should wear your hair straight in all its glory and, just like a perm, keep it dry. Not only that, but your hair should also be kept free from tension or pressure caused by bobby pins, rubber bands, headbands or anything else that could wrinkle it. Abramite explains that during this delicate time, your hair neutralizes itself and the tension can leave an indentation for good. Once the waiting period is over, you can go back to shampooing and a regular hair care routine. Need new products? Try some of our favorite shampoos and conditioners below.

Is Japanese smoothing worth it?

Just like how you choose to wear your hair, how you decide to spend your room is up to you. If $ 700 is worth being able to wake up with straight locks every day and you’re ready to commit to the process and all the upkeep needed to keep it going or possibly grow it, then it just might be. . Only you (with the advice of your hairstylist, of course) can make this call.

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