Japanese Hair Straightening: Everything You Need To Know

Are you sick of never having your hair quite straight? Are you struggling daily with your straightener? If you have curly or you have wavy hair, then maybe the Japanese hair straightening method could be for you!

This hair straightening method lasts up to six months and gives your hair a shiny, glossy, sleek, straight look! There will be no more frizzle problems if you use this, and your hair will remain straight until it grows out again.

But, if done incorrectly by an uneducated and inexperienced hairstylist, it can damage your hair. So this comprehensive guide will give you all the information there is to know about Japanese hair straightening. It will also help you weigh out the pros and cons and decide if the Japanese hair straightening method could be for you.


The Japanese hair straightening method or thermal reconditioning became popular in New York City in the early 2000s. Then, it moved to the West Coast and moved to other big cities. It’s also known as rebonding or Yuko. It first started in Japan, as the name indicates, in 1995.

How Does It Work?

So how does it work, and what are its advantages?

Think of the Japanese hair straightening method as something resembling a flat perm. It breaks the hair bonds, and then the hair is flattened with a flat iron. It’s usually a ceramic iron, which is a bit more gentle for your hair as it heats evenly.

After your hair is washed, your hairstylist will apply products to your hair, blow-dry it. And then use the flat ceramic iron in small sections (generally ⅛). After, your hairstylist will apply a neutralizer, like when you get a flat perm. This will fix the hair. It keeps it in place and makes it shiny.


If you do it professionally, the Japanese hair straightening method will make your hair look like it’s straight out of a magazine cover!

It will look shiny, glossy, and super straight. No hair will be frizzy. So if you want that look for a more extended period of time, you should absolutely get this Japanese treatment. Just be careful that you go to a renowned hairstylist who’s done this Japanese hair straightening method many times and for a long time.


One of the advantages of the Japanese hair straightening method is that it’s permanent, meaning it’s not reversible. You’ll have pin-straight hair. So no need to straighten your hair every day. It will save you so much time!

It will stay straight, even after you shower or go swimming! The hair straightening lasts for up to six months, but you have to wait for your hair to grow out again before your hair comes back to its natural state.

This could also be considered as a con as, as time passes, your hair will have its natural texture at the bottom (curly or wavy) and your hair super straight at the top. This could look a bit weird. If you don’t like it, either get a new haircut or get your hair retreated again.


Could Japanese hair straightening be a miraculous method? It’s essential that you understand the cons of getting your hair straightened by the Japanese hair straightening method so you can decide if you want to get it.

Here they are:


If you get thermal reconditioning in a professional hair salon, you’ll probably end up paying between 150 to 800 dollars. But realistically it will range from 400 to 800 dollars.

Now you have to remember that this price is for hours of work and that your hair will stay straight for about six months or until your hair grows out again. So actually, the money could be worth it.

So you can inquire about the price in your local hair salon and think if the cost is worth it. The price will change according to your natural hair texture, length, volume, and thickness. The longer and thicker your hair is, the more it will cost since it’s obviously more work.


The Japanese hair straightening method uses chemicals and flat iron. It’s even worse for your health and for your hair if you have colored or processed hair, as it already has chemicals in it.

Many chemicals are used in the Japanese hair straightening method. The chemical that changes the hair texture is called ammonium thioglycolate. So it breaks the protein bonds in your hair. This will give your hair a limp texture that you can easily change. So if you use a flat iron, it will make your hair almost permanently straight.

The neutralizer that is applied afterward will keep your hair straight, as it changes the natural structure of the hair bonds. But the chemicals in it are harmful to your general health, as you breathe them, and for your hair too.

Also, many people reported chemical burns after getting a Japanese hair straightening treatment. Some even reported scabs, as the hairstylist has to get as close to your scalp as possible with the flat ceramic iron. And some have had burns and scabs for years after doing the treatment.

Plus, the flat iron will usually be around 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232,22 degrees Celsius) in a salon, which is hot, to straighten out your hair. Also, there could be hair loss.

Hair Damage

The chemicals that are used in this Japanese hair straightening method can damage your hair. Some people reported hair loss after using this method and damaged hair. So some hair salons don’t offer the Japanese hair straightening method anymore.

If you still decide to straighten your hair with this method, contact hairdressers and check if they can do it for you. Be careful to go to a hair salon with hairstylists who have experience doing this Japanese hair straightening method.

Ask them how long they’ve been doing this method and how many they’ve done. It may seem like too much, but it’s necessary to ensure your hair won’t be as damaged.

There are so many horrifying testimonies of people who regret straightening their hair with this method because they didn’t do it right. So you should make sure your hairstylists know what they’re doing and you know all the information. Also, bear in mind that this treatment can hurt you.

Also, if you have colored hair or your hair has had a chemical treatment, your hair will be even more damaged by this Japanese hair straightening method. If you have any of these, you should inform your hairstylist so you can be more advised.


It takes a lot of time to straighten your hair with this Japanese hair straightening method. It will take even longer if you have thick and/or long hair. It can take several hours, so make sure you don’t have any work or commitments that day! And I mean like around five to ten hours.

Hair Post-Treatment

During at least three days following your Japanese hair straightening treatment, you can’t wash your hair.

Also, you won’t be able to get your natural hair texture for a while. And sometimes, it never comes back quite the same. You can’t get a perm or any other chemical treatment for at least six months after you get your hair straightened with the Japanese hair straightening method. Otherwise, your hair will only get more damaged.

So unless you want to cut your hair, you’ll need to let your hair grow out before the natural textures come back.

Also, check if your hair type can get that type of treatment before actually doing it. Book a first consultation with a specialized hairstylist and ask for their opinion.

Japanese Hair Straightening At Home Vs. In A Hair Salon

If you want to make sure your hair looks straight and silky without damaging your hair too much, you should go to a hair salon and get your hair done by an experienced professional.

But, if you don’t want to pay too much, have some hair knowledge, and don’t mind that it will get damaged, you can do this treatment at home yourself. Just make sure you don’t have colored, bleached, permed, or chemically-treated hair beforehand.

First, you’ll need a pre-treatment. Ideally, use a hair mask that’s conditioning. If you want a natural hair mask, coconut oil is great. It will make your hair smooth.

Then, use a clarifying shampoo to remove any toxins or dead cells from your hair. Just rinse it and apply an activator (you can choose different strengths) evenly.

Blow-dry your hair but don’t dry it completely to keep some moisture in your hair. Use a ceramic flat-iron, around 350 degrees Fahrenheit (about 176,66 degrees Celsius). Separate your hair into small sections and straighten it out quickly.

Afterward, just apply a neutralizer, which will keep the hair in place and straight. It also balances your hair’s natural pH. Leave it in for around five to ten minutes. Then, just rinse your hair for about ten minutes to get all the product out.

Blow-dry your hair once again, and get it almost dry. Don’t wash or wet your hair for the next three days to make sure your hair stays straighter for longer. And there you go, that’s all you need to know! You can now use this method yourself. You will just need patience.

Japanese Hair Straightening VS. Keratin Treatment

A keratin treatment is used to straighten hair and remove all the frizz from your hair. It’s then easy to straighten out your hair afterward.

But what is a keratin treatment, how does it work, and is it better than getting your hair straightened with the Japanese method?

So, as the name indicates, it uses keratin, which is the protein that’s in your hair, nails, and more. The keratin formula, combined with a hair straightener, is used after your hair is washed.

The iron has to be extremely hot, and although the heat can damage your hair, using a keratin treatment won’t change your hair bond texture. The Japanese hair straightening method does change your hair bond texture.

Japanese Hair Straightening VS. Brazilian Blowout

Brazilian blowout, aka the Brazilian straightening method, is also a popular hair straightening method. At some point, it was even more popular than the Japanese hair straightening method. It’s actually also a keratin-based treatment.

But you have to be aware that a Brazilian blowout uses formaldehyde. This is a carcinogen also used in building materials. It’s a colorless chemical that acts as a preservative (which conserves a product longer). And it is found in glue, cosmetics, and more building materials. This means that if you use this ingredient, there’ll be a cancer risk.

Yikes, right? This made it far less popular and regave the Japanese hair straightening method its hype. The Japanese hair straightening method can still damage your hair. But it’s a bit safer than getting a Brazilian blowout, which only lasts two to three months.

Also, remember that the treatment washes off if you get a Brazilian blowout or even a keratin treatment. The Japanese hair straightening treatment doesn’t. Your hair will grow out in its natural texture, but the rest of the hair that’s already there will stay straight. That happens because of the new texture given to your hair by the neutralizer and flat ceramic iron, as said above.

Should You Get Your Hair Straightened With This Method?

Now you know all the pros and cons of straightening your hair with the Japanese hair straightening method in a professional salon or a home. You also know of other methods of getting your hair straightened: the keratin treatment and the Brazilian Blowout.

Hopefully, this all gave you the tools you need to make an informed decision about if the Japanese hair straightening method is for you. If you believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, you should go for it! Your hair will look great.

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