Its summer so that means its time for my permenant hair straightening appointment. I’m half Italian and have enough hair for six people. I am not a hair stylist, just a huge fan of making my life easy as a career loving mom who loves fashion and doing all things girlie. If you flat iron your hair every day or blow dry it straight, you should look into Japanese hair straightening. It is referred to as Japanese’s hair straightening, thermal reconditioning and “straight perm”. My hair is course and extremely wavy (especially in the back on my head). I’ve been getting Japanese hair straightening done for the last eight years. Its life changing to walk out of the shower and have air-dried, poker straight hair. This process is like getting a perm in reverse. As new hair grows in, it becomes wavy again. I am okay living with it half wavy and half straight so, I only get this process done once a year. I can get my hair to curl with a curling iron even with permanent hair straightening. I don’t believe this to be true for most people but it works for me. Depending on how fast your hair grows and the length, you may have touch ups done to the regrowth every 6-9 months.
It is different from Keratin treatments because they are known to de-frizz hair and wash out over 3-4 months. Keratin treatments are great if you just want to keep your curl or waves and remove the frizz. I’ve also heard they are safe with highlighted hair. I have no experience with Keratin or Brazilian Blowouts. I do know that Brazilian Blowouts contain formaldehyde and are not the safest products out there. Apparently, Yuko brand makes and essential oil based de-frizzing process that is much safer. I have been told by several stylists that Keratin treatments are not for me because I want straight hair and I’ve never wanted to risk spending $300-400 and not be happy with the result.
BRANDS: Yuko (original), Liscio (brand I prefer), Chi (I do not recommend).
CONSULTATION~ Have a consultation first. Be honest about what you have had done to your hair (coloring, other kinds of relaxers, etc). In the picture above, I have balayage highlights and overall color. This is the first time I have had straightening done with highlights. I was aware that my hair around the frame of my face could break off from over processing. The highlighted hair has protein bonds that have been broken down to lighten the color to blonde, thus making it very fragile to any other chemicals. Knowing this, my stylist tried to avoid the big chunk of blonde on the left side of my face. After the process, it was fried. My hair is super strong and course, so I know it can take a lot of chemicals and heat. I rarely blow dry or flat iron my hair. I would definitely ask how long they have be doing Japanese hair straightening. I personally wouldn’t risk a season that only does them once in a while or a new stylist. This process takes high level training on how to use the chemicals and a great understanding of hair types.
THE PROCESS~ Bring a book, Kindle, office work, music and a snack. If you have a tender head like me, take ibuprofen prior to the process. My length of hair and thickness takes 4 hours to complete the process. Shorter and less volume hair will take 2-3 hours.
~The first step is washing and drying the hair.
~Then the chemical solution is applied and allowed to process.
~Rinse for 10 min.
~Completely dry the hair.
~Flat iron in teeny sections with an extremely hot iron that reaches 450 degrees. Hence, why you need to have non-highlighted/over process or damaged hair.
~Now its time to neutralize the hair.
~Then rinse again for 10 min.
~Finally dry hair again and off you go.
THE COST~ I’ve been to high end posh salons in the Washington, DC area and paid $600-800. When I lived in Seattle, I researched via the Liscio/Milbon website, salons in my area that carried the product. Then I read Yelp reviews and ended up at an in-home salon called Mary So and paid $450. It all depends on what experience you are looking for. Do you want a chic atmosphere, beautiful people walking around while listening to house music followed with an espresso brought to you or you are packing water and a protein bar in your purse for when you are famished during the process? I like both. But, as my disposable income is not as vast as it used be prior to having 3 kiddos and an 80 year old fixer upper old, I’m looking for a less expensive solution. Most recently, I researched the same way I did before and came across amazing reviews at Total Concept salon in Fairfax, VA. Mimi did my hair and I was very pleased with the results for $300. She also does Keratin treatments for $150.
AFTERWARDS~For 72 hours you can not wash or put any creases in your hair. This means don’t tuck you hair behind your ears or put your hair in a pony tail. It will cause a permanent creases. You are allowing time for the cutical/protein bonds in your hair to close so they remain straight. If you sleep on your hair funky, just use a flat iron for a quick touch up. Be careful driving home from the salon and sitting back on long, freshly straightened hair. I try to sit up straight and not lay on it to prevent a wave from forming.
You can have hair coloring done after straightening but consult with you hair stylist on how long to wait. Most will say several weeks. You will notice my root regrowth in my side by side before & after picture. I had highlights and overall coloring done March 22nd. The straightening was done July 12th.
HAIRCARE~ I use the recommended shampoo and conditioner by Milbon called Nigelle ER shampoo and Nigelle ER conditioner found on Amazon. At first I bought the smallest size, then upgraded to the large bottle. Now I just buy the refill pouch like salons use because it is the most cost effective solution. Its also listed in my Amazon store on the right sidebar along with my favorite detangling brush from Mason Pearson. I have had this brush for 20 years and its amazing for brushing through my wet hair. I use it with Unite 7Seconds detangling spray on my wet hair before brushing. Another one of my new favorite finds is Drybar’s detox dry shampoo for brunettes. This dry shampoo brown pigment in it and is perfect for coloring up my gray roots in-between colorings. I’ve never been a fan of dry shampoo because of its white power color on my dark hair. You have to be careful not to touch your hair after styling it because the color will transfer to your fingers. I also keep it away from the nape of my neck so it doesn’t transfer on my clothes.
Before & After hair straightening in 2012