Hate having coarse, unruly hair? Want a smooth and straight hairstyle for a change? Then you might want to try a Japanese hair straightening (JHS) treatment. As the name suggests, this treatment came from Japan and is steadily gaining popularity for those who prefer their hair as smooth as glass. The process utilizes heat, a chemical treatment, and flat ironing to re-texture curly, coarse and frizzy hair bonds, resulting in permanent pin-straight hair. Once the hair has been treated, it will remain straight and only new hair growth, which comes in after 4 – 6 months will need to be treated.
Other names for the process include: Permanent Relaxer, iStraight, Magic Straight, Ionic Perm, Thermal Reconditioning, Ionic Straightening, and Rebonding.
This type of hair straightening takes from two to eight hours depending on the length and type of hair:
- Hair is first washed and then rinsed.
- A relaxing solution is then applied on dried hair, making sure to keep the solution away from the scalp.
- The hair is rinsed again.
- The hair is blown dry, then ironed several times at a high setting. This ensures rod-straight hair.
- Another solution may be applied, and the rest of the process is repeated again.
- It is advised that the hair remain untouched (no hair washing) for three days to let the strands of hair re-bond properly.
There are several types of JHS. iStraight is extremely popular. Yuko is the original Japanese straightening process and is primarily geared toward virgin, untreated hair. It is not recommended for African ethnic hair or any hair that has been highlighted. Liscio, however, can be used on chemically treated hair. It was developed in 1996 and is now more commonly used than Yuko. Other similar treatments include Magic Straight (Korean version).
Some consultation with a professional is needed before proceeding with this method. Beware of a stylist who is willing to do the treatment without a consultation first. For one thing, the stylist needs to inspect your hair first hand to choose the right level of straightener. It just can’t be done over the phone. The consultation is usually free – don’t expect to pay for it.
The cost of these treatments vary from one salon to another. Some salons may charge by the hour, while others may charge a flat rate after a professional hair evaluation. On average, the price range can be from $500 to $600 for long hair, less for short hair, because it’s labor intensive. Costs are usually the same for treating new hair growth as the process involves straightening hair closer to the scalp.
But like all hair treatments, there is always a risk of style side-effects. One should always consider these possibilities before undergoing this procedure. For instance, missed hair will stand out frizzy from the rest and sleeping on it right after treatment will result in waves. The shiny initial results may also fade in time and sun exposure. Sometimes, the hair may become so straight that it stands out stiff like a brush rather than bending on the shoulders. It may also fall flat against the head (helmet head). Your hair could also become drier in time, and it will never -ever- curl. Eventually, this could become an expensive and time consuming process to be done biannually. Spending a whole day in the salon and no hair washing for three days may not be conducive to your lifestyle. It is best to remember that JHS, like almost any other hair treatment, deals a certain amount of damage to hair. The extent could be minimal, with results that are positively fantastic. Knowing the limitations of the process and knowing what you want out of it is key to gaining the best results and looking fabulous. Remember that this treatment is not for all hair types.
Going to the right salon hair stylist with a lot of experience in straightening in particular, who will do a proper consultation in advance and who isn’t charging bottom of the barrel rates (that usually means inferior product or lack of experience), is your best bet for a positive hair straightening experience.
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