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Does Japanese hair straightening work and is it safe for my hair?

By January 17, 2009 - 12:15pm
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I have heard a lot about Japanese hair straightening and since I have a head full of curls, I've been thinking about getting it done. We always want the opposite of what we have!

Does anyone know if this is damaging to hair? Could it fall out, the way African hair can fall out due to the harshness of some hair straightening products?

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HERWriter Guide

You're very welcome. I had a disastrous color job once - purple hair! - and I found a wonderful, patient, skilled woman who helped me undo the damage and get my hair back to a normal color. I've seen various articles about the straightening process, mainly focused around the use of formaldehyde which is a carcinogen. http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=599
We deserve to get more complete information about these products, for the sake of our health, and get less hype.

July 20, 2010 - 6:45pm
EmpowHER Guest

Pat, thanks for your comments. I posted previously about the botched job.
I can vouch for this not being good for coloured hair.

The hairdresser did not do a strand test on my hair. What has happened is that I had to cut most of my hair off. Now I have somewhat straight hair on the top (a short bob) but the ends, when they get wet, get stick straight out. I am going back again after I check with another local hairdresser.

I couldn't find out what the process was but I'll try. I'm very upset and wouldn't have done this if I knew the problem I was going to have.

My hair is bleached and gray roots are growing in and I'm afraid to have my hair coloured because of the process.

Any suggestions? I was just going to get my roots done but maybe need to wait a month or so. Should look like a skunk by then.

July 20, 2010 - 6:18pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

A wig? :-)
Seriously, I would try to find someone who specializes in hard to do color applications, and then find out if he/she has any experience with a situation like yours. Most likely others have also had bad experiences and needed help. If you have a local hair dresser's association or salon professionals association (they have many names) they may be able to help you in finding the right person. You're smart to be cautious about this. You need someone who understands the chemical process of both the straightener and color so that more damage won't occur. I tried to find some resources online for you on this but had no luck. I hope you have more success in finding a great hair expert to help you and to start the process of looking like yourself again. Good luck!! Pat

July 20, 2010 - 6:32pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Thank you Pat. I'll be the local expert by the time this is done.

Oh yes, and I would recommend that people who have had good and bad experiences to post comments on forums such as this or on yelp or other review sites. It helps others to be unbiased.

Thank you Pat for your help and for helping the rest of us out here.

July 20, 2010 - 6:37pm
HERWriter Guide

Anon - If you have doubts about the salon, then you need to check them out very, very thoroughly or find another salon that knows how to do this process safely and correctly. It's important to know the experience of the person who does this, and to see before and after photos of her work. Also, be aware that Japanese hair straightening is not recommended for delicate African hair; heavily treated, colored, or damaged hair; or hair that is thinning or falling out. The technician should provide a consultation to determine if it is safe to straighten your hair and do a strand test to ensure the product is safe for you.

If you do have this done I hope you will let us know all about your experience. Good luck! Pat

July 20, 2010 - 6:10pm
EmpowHER Guest

I'm eighteen years old and I am highly considering it now. Though I live in West Virginia and I'm not sure if the hair salon is....good at it.
My hair is to my shoulders and straightening it is the worst feeling ever. I truly hate it with a passion.
Would it ruin my hair?

July 20, 2010 - 3:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

I'm so glad I found this thread.
I am 53 years old and had my colored hair straightened last week. However, it did not go straight. I don't know if it was a bad product or not on long enough but now it is quite puffy and when it gets wet, it gets really kinky. Right now my bangs got wet from the rain and they are all frizzy.

I paid 500 for this and complained. I have not seen many comments on botched jobs so if anyone else has a problem like this please let me know.

My hair is already damaged so going back for more is not a good idea. But now I will HAVE to straighten my hair because it's not frizzy like it was before but kinky and very damaged.

Should I try something else. I can't really leave it the way it is. Thanks.

July 11, 2010 - 4:05pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for sharing. Can you tell us which method of hair straightening you had done (there are a few different types mentioned on this post).

Since you did not like your results, did you follow any of Diane's previous recommendations on researching the stylist's experience beforehand, or did you go to this particular salon/stylist through word-of-mouth or other recommendation? I think it would be helpful to hear if prior-researching did or did not help.

I'm sorry you had poor results. Are you looking into alternatives?

July 11, 2010 - 7:32pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Hi Alison,

I'm going back to the salon to discuss what method she used. All I know is she said it was the gentlest. I know a few people who have had great results and saw that this person was the first to bring it to the area.

I checked out yelp to see if there were any comments. There was one comment that was positive and since I live in a mid-sized city, I thought that was okay. But the comment wasn't about hair straightening, so that was bad. I believed her sign and since others with frizzy and wavy hair had a good experience, she seemed to think that it would work fine.

I did go online to do research but couldn't find any negative comments until last night. This is seems depends on the key words you use. If you type in botched hair straightening, you'll find some comments.

One comment I thought important is not to have this treatment done on highlighted hair, (which mine is). Another is to go to a Japanese person who knows what they are doing. But I'm not too sure of that, since Japanese hair has a very different consistency than Caucasian hair.

However, if I had to do it again, I would ask for more information and get more recommendations. I would also try more products to tame my hair rather than going through this permanent and damaging process. The salon where I had this done said they are all about healthy hair. If that is the case, she probably should not have proceeded with this process. Many hairdressers, according to online comments, will not do this process.

I will give the hairdresser an opportunity to rectify this situation. I will try and find out what process she used. And then I will contact the manufacturer to see if they recommend retrying the process. My hair is very kinky and damaged so I don't like that idea. The alternative is to visit a larger city and see if I can find someone who is experienced to fix my hair. There may be some people here who are good but I haven't found them. I find in a small town, there are lots of bad hairdressers and you are at the mercy of the good ones. And the good ones are the ones that continually learn.

July 12, 2010 - 7:06am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello ladies, I just got the japanese relaxer and I was like you guys real worried about doing it. I did alot of research on it and got alot of feedbacks from lots of people. But I actually was real happy with the results. I used to have curly, frizzy, and puffy hair before that I hated. Everyone used to love my hair but it was just so difficult to fix it. One thing I had a problem was the puffiness of my hair. I had alot of hair too so that made it worse. Since I got the japanese relaxer my hair is silky straight. The only thing is the front of my hair from the tips they get a little frizzy and according to my stylist, the reason for that was bcuz of my color-treated hair already. Overall my hair feels and looks healthier then before. I payed only $200 though and it was almost a 4-5 hour process. And my stylist were actually asian ladies so idk if that made it better. But I would definitely recommend it to everyone who is just tired of dealing with their curly hair.

February 15, 2010 - 7:58am
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