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Japanese Hair Straightening: Sorting Through The Fog

Hair Straightening Are you confused by all the buzz words?

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, it 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.

Hair Straightening

An experienced hairdresser can assess if your hair can handle this type of 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 the procedure 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? This 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 refernces. 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.


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.


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


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!


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


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 days appointment.


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?)



  1. Please tell me where in Cola SC you had the japanese straightening done! I live here and am in need of a touch up! Thanks

    Comment by Jennifer — November 7, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

  2. Yes, please tell us where in Columbia, SC you went! I’m here and I really need to get my roots and hair reconditioned! My curls are growing back insanely!!!!

    Comment by Erica — July 28, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  3. Taylor, where in Columbia, SC did you go?

    Comment by kendra — July 14, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

  4. where in ohio did you go

    Comment by jodie — November 20, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

  5. I just had my hair done in Columbia SC and agree with you completely! I have to admit after reading all I could on the subject I was a bit concerned and worried if I was doing the right thing.. (inexperienced stylist.. sometimes you just don’t know!) It was a long and tedious process. I paid 100.00 per hour and it took 4 1/2 hours to finish. Imagine my concern when she told me I was her first one! Honestly, I don’t think it has anything to do with experience… it’s all about patience! When they hot iron your hair to lock in the chemical.. you can only do a few hairs at a time!.. I suspect after a while some stylists get impatient and start pulling more hairs just to get it done.. and this may be the problem for some. The poor girls arms started to cramp as she continued to pull just a few strands of my long hair through the iron hour after hour. She was a perfectionist. I benefited from it. My course, frizzy long hair is sleek and shiney and straight and feels so nice to touch.. expensive? yes. worth every penny.

    Comment by Taylor — July 18, 2008 @ 7:31 am

  6. what salon in ohio did you go to

    Comment by lauren maccormick — July 19, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

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