Over the last 4 years a new type of hair straightening has crept into the USA. Called Japanese hair straightening it also falls under other names including; Thermal Reconditioning, Magic Straight, Bio Ionic Straightening, Yuko System (named after the Japanese stylist who is meant to have popularised the treatment), Liscio, and Rebonding. The Liscio process is the original and the one you are most likely to see in salons.
As the name suggests it originated in Japan and the process will give you permanently straight hair as opposed to the temporary straight hair provided by in-home straighteners like the excellent Sedu flat iron. In reality it lasts about 6 months when your hair will need re-touching because of the hair growth.
This form of treatment is not recommended for:
- more delicate African hair
- hair that has been heavily treated or damaged
- hair that is quickly thinning and falling out
The treatment is very expensive, $300-$800 in top salons and depending on which process you opt for can take between 4-6 hours to complete. This is a far cry from using your own hair straightener at home for a fraction of the cost and only taking a matter of minutes. Given the cost you should expect a free consultation on how well (or if) the treatment will work on your hair.
As the treatment is very expensive you should do your homework. Here are a few tips:
- Visit the websites of salons close to you for more details about which Japanese hair straightening treatment they use.
- Visit the salon and speak with their straightening specialist about the process
- Make sure the specialist has sufficient experience in the process. Don’t forget you are paying lots of money so you don’t want to end up with damaged hair because of an inexperienced stylist.
- Ask for some “before and after” pictures of previous customers results.
- If possible ask to speak with a previous customer to get some detailed insight into how long it took and to find out if there are any things they didn’t like about the process.
If you do decide to go ahead with the treatment then here is a summary of the whole process.
- A protein conditioner is applied to your hair.
- A cream based thio relaxor is then applied. This will soften your hair and disassociate the sulfur bonds inside the hair shaft.
- After a period of time the stylist will do a test to see if the hair has broken down to the right degree.
- Once the proper amount of Sulfur bonds have been disassociated the stylist will rinse your hair.
- Your hair is dried into the style you normally wear it in.
- The stylist will take small sections and apply some degree of tension to get your hair as straight as possible.
- Once the neutralizer has been on the hair for the proper amount of time it will be rinsed from the hair.
- After the hair is rinsed it will be dried again and ironed into the style you wish to wear.
- The neutralizing chemical only begins to re-associate the sulfur bonds. The hair still needs to absorb more oxygen and will do so naturally through the air.
- The hair designer will instruct you not to shampoo, wet or style your hair for 24-72 hours, this is to allow it to completely neutralize into the current shape.
The results from the process are amazing, considering your hair is subjected to nearly 6 hours of chemical and heat treatment. You will probably be advised to use special after care products. You should take the stylists advice but make sure and shop round for the products online, as they can be very expensive in salons.
However, all the time and effort is worth it, as your hair will not need to be treated for at least 6 months. So twice a year should be enough for curl free hair all year.
Andrea Simpson is a self confessed hair straightener fan. She runs her own website, [http://www.a1-hair-straighteners.com/hairstraightener.shtml], devoted to hair straightening devices including Sedu Flat Irons and other hair straightening processes.