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Japanese Hair Straightening: Sorting Through The Fog

Complete Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Hair Straightening

It’s easy to get confused with hair straightening options, Japanese Hair Straightening or Thermal Reconditioning. Both procedures are pretty much the same and differ only in minor ways. In researching these new innovative hair straightening services, I’ve come to understand the most important consideration . . . an experienced professional. Like any chemical hair treatment, Japanese hair straightening takes some time to get the experience of how different hair types will react any chemical treatment. A hairdressers past experience with perms, hair straighteners and hair dyes gives them a leg up in being able to identify a number of critical issues that need attention when considering hair straightening.

Japanese Hair Straightening

An experienced hairdresser can assess if your hair can handle Japanese hair straightening. They also will know, from experience, just when your hair has been relaxed enough to stop the processing.

Seek out a SPECIALIST because Japanese hair straightening requires special training. A good personality type to seek out is . . . a meticulous, anal-retentive type who is well-informed and keen on detail.

How do you find this person? Japanese hair straightening is still fairly new in America so it may take work on your part. Ask around and get referrals if you can. Check well established, credible salons, including high-profile chain salons. In the consultation, ask lots of questions, ask for before and after pictures and references. The more informed you are, the better you will be able to assess their know-how. If you question their confidence and ability, hold off and consult with someone else. Tell them you need to think it over if you aren’t sure. A consultation is a two-way street, so follow your intuition.

Japanese Hair Straightening

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

On average about $500.00 but it can go from $200.00 to $800.00 depending on how long it takes. Basically, you’ll be charged by the hour.

WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE?

A ceramic flat iron is used in the process to create pressure with extreme heat.

WHY DID THE JAPANESE, WHO HAVE STRAIGHT HAIR, COME UP WITH THIS METHOD?

With this hair straightening method, the Japanese discovered a way to “soften” strong-minded hair, as well as curly hair. Softening the hair gives it more movement or body and a healthier look!

DO I NEED A CONSULTATION?

A preliminary consultation is a must! A qualified specialist needs to check the condition of your hair to evaluate if it will hold up to the chemical process. You need to be very clear about any chemicals that you have used in the past that may still remain on your hair. You may be sent home with a hair care regime to follow before your scheduled appointment. Some red flags to having this done may be:

  • Pre-lightened hair
  • Some residual colored hair
  • Strong African hair types
  • Hair straightened with lye type or sodium relaxers

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE?

Simplified, it looks like this;

  • A straightening solution is applied and rinsed when your hair has reached the correct stage of relaxation
  • Sections of (approximately 1/4 inch) throughout the head are blow dried and flat-ironed . . . meticulously
  • A neutralizer solution is applied and watched as it “sets in” the new form of the relaxed hair
  • Rinse, blow-dried and flat-ironed again

This procedure may need to be repeated and seems to take on average 5 to 8 hours. Some people may require a second day appointment.

Japanese Hair Straightening

HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

Your natural hair type will make the difference on how well the new growth can blend with the straightened hair.

From those I’ve talked to in the hair industry, sounds like when this is done right the results are spectacular, straight hair, incredibly soft and silky, shiny hair with no frizz! If it’s not done right, major breakage can happen! (Maybe you want to think about investing in a high quality flat-iron instead?)

  



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Brazilian Hair Straightening

Brazilian Hair Straightening

Is Brazilian Hair Straightening a Miracle Treatment?

A new treatment for smoothing out unruly hair is springing up all over the country. Although Brazilian Hair Straightening (sometimes called Brazilian Keratin Treatment,) has been around for a little while, it has caught on like wildfire in the last six months or so since American manufacturers have started producing the Product. Marcia and Marcelo Teixeira, of M&M International, in Delray Beach Florida, says Brazilian Hair Straightening business has “been nuts,” since they started manufacturing the product last January. Salons are reporting the phones are ringing off the hook with calls about Brazilian Hair Straightening. Brazilian Hair Straightening Chat rooms are active with women wanting more information about the product and it’s results. You may want to go the full way and get a Brazilian wax too, for more information abut the process, head over and check out: http://waxingbyceleste.com/hair-removal-san-diego/brazilian/.

“phones are ringing off the hook with calls”

  • The Good News ~~ Unlike the Japanese Thermal Straighteners, the Brazilian Hair Straightening treatment is technically not a straightener or a relaxer. The Japanese Thermal Straightening, can be extremely hard on the hair, which has been its demise. Brazilian Hair Straightening, on the other hand is made up of a keratin like protein, which when brushed on the hair and flat-ironed out, leaves the hair in beautifully silky, shiny condition. It doesn’t penetrate the hair shaft or alter bonds of the hair as a Japanese Thermal Straightening will do. A hot flat-iron seals the keratin on the outer cuticle layer, sealing in moisture, hydrating the hair. Brazilian Hair Straightening can be used on both color treated and high lighted hair with apparently no ill effects and is reported to tame the utmost unruly hair. The treatment can lasts about 3 months and will cost from $150.00 to $600.00 depending on thickness and length of hair. Styling is reported to take minimal blow drying to achieve a finished look.

  • The Bad News ~~ There have been some health concerns about Brazilian Hair Straightening in the industry. The solution contains formaldehyde, classified as a “probable carcinogen,” by the EPA. Formaldehyde, however, is also present in many household and beauty products such as lipstick, mascara, nail polish and some toothpaste. The FDA does not regulate cosmetics but OSHA has set guidelines that in the workplace there be no more than 0.75 parts formaldehyde per million in an airborne environment over a period of eight hours. OSHA restricted using a spray bottle for application of Brazilian Hair Straightening and instead professionals must use a bowl and brush. Opponents say that by heating up the solution on the hair, it causes a more gaseous environment.

You can read some testimonials.

Here is what ELLE magazine reported on Brazilian Hair Straightening. They also list their top 9 picks for at home products for straightening your hair.

If you’re in the market for a new ceramic flat iron, Misikko has what you’re looking for. Whether it’s an FHI Flat Iron or a pink chi flat iron, Misikko has it in stock at an unbeatable price… And all orders $50 and over come with free 2 day shipping!

  



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How Hair Straightening Treatments Differ

Long Curly Hair Side by Side Before and After Keratin Hair Treatment

Temporary or Permanent Hair Straightening Treatments?

So, what’s the real difference between a traditional “relaxing” treatment (that leaves a line of demarcation) and a smoothing treatment?

According to Cornell Scientist Jason Dorvee, each follicle of hair is made up of very small molecules of protein called cytokeratin. There are two main kinds of bonds between molecules in each follicle that will decide how straight or curly that particular strand is. The molecules are all linked to each other by forms of bonding. Some molecules are bonded to their brethren in a very loose knit web like  fashion while others are bonded to each other in a much tighter permanent fashion much like concrete binds together grains of sand and are termed hydrogen bonds.

Smoothing Treatments

The loose knit web like bonding of the molecules are porous and the molecules can be restructured quite easily. The loose knit structure of these molecules will change in shape as they absorb moisture. This is why your hair is curly and kinky when you climb out of the shower, or why we have the frizzies on very humid days.

Smoothing treatments work with the cuticle, not the cortex of the hair. No hair bonds are broken or restructured. For a better understanding of the structure of a hair strand you might want to check out my article Understanding Your Hair. Most smoothing treatments work on the principle of coating the cuticle to prevent the molecules from absorbing moisture. Or in the case of your blow dryer, just simply removing the moisture captured in the bonding agent of the molecules.

Struggling with challenges ranging from frizz to unruly hair, clients have searched far and wide for ways to manage their hair styles. But in the not-so-distant past, when they came into a hairdressing salon asking to get their hair straightened, they really only had two chemical service options: a traditional relaxer or a Japanese straightening treatment. Then, almost overnight, “keratin” became the buzzword of the hair styling industry, shifting the k-word context from protein and conditioning to smoothing and straightening.

This new anti-wave of popular treatments, known for giving clients with textured hair a straight, sleek look that lasted for months, became the new trend in texture management. This generated a boom of curly, wavy and even straight-haired clients running into hair salons to reap the “life-changing” frizz-fighting benefits, even as questions and concerns about the process were raised.

With the downward-turning economy and traditional appointment stretching affecting salons, timing was good for companies to introduce a new revenue-generating service built upon consumer demand and dramatic results. Dozens of new brands popped up.

This first generation of keratin straightening treatments—many labeled or described as “Brazilian” after the country where the service originated—were formulated to last 3-4 months with an average ticket of $400. Manufacturers of these new straightening treatment products and their R&D scientists proclaimed that replacing keratin in the hair could restructure and recondition hair fibers, refilling the holes and gaps in the hair shaft caused by chemical services and environmental factors, and that the process could even straighten hair when the formula was “sealed in” with a flatiron heated to 450 degrees.

Perms, Relaxers, Japanese straightening and Brazilian treatments

These work on the more permanent bonding between molecules in the hair. It is the permanent type of bonding of the molecule that defines the inherent characteristics of the texture of your hair. These permanent bonding characteristics are what we inherit from our parents in our DNA.

This kind of bonding is very strong and enduring. When you get a “permanent” to alter the curvature your hair, the chemical that you smell is sulfur or some other quite hardy chemical that breaks the bonds and then permits the molecules inside the cortex to reformulate in a different shape. When the chemical is removed the new hair shape becomes permanent and will stay in that shape until it is cut off. Of course these chemicals are very powerful and if left on too long can do long-term damage to the hair. When you hear a professional hair stylist use the term “Fried Perm” you’ll know that someone has left a perming chemical on too long.

The rule of thumb to use on any hair straightening technique is the longer term the effect the less room for error and the stronger the likelihood of hair damage.

 



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