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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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(reply to Anonymous)


At age 11, your hair still does have plenty of time to change. As you go through adolescence and get your period, the new hormones in your body may change your hair to be thicker, thinner, have a different texture, be oiler or drier, or, yes, have less curl.

At this age, your best bet is to find some GREAT haircare products that help by smoothing your curls out a little bit and making your hair shiny. There's a great website -- naturallycurly.com -- that talks about all the products out there and what they do.

Wait a little longer before you do anything permanent to your hair like Japanese hair straightening, and here's why: if you do permanent hair straightening, you have to do the new growth every few months, because it grows out curly and looks funny on top of the straight hair! So it's a really expensive and time-consuming habit to start so young. (A touch-up can be more than $300!)

November 24, 2009 - 9:27am
EmpowHER Guest

hi im turning 13 and i am planning to japanese straighten my hair. my hair has amazing curls and like anon. my family rather me not do it . i already reserved a date at the salon to do my hair, but im concerned i dont want to ruin my hair. what things should i ask before i get my hair done? instead of getting touch ups at the salon can i just straighten my own roots? also how will the roots look when they start to grow in? please im kind of worried but i want to straighten my hair because personally i think i look better with straight hair and it makes life easier. so please i need some advice.

July 14, 2009 - 2:32pm
(reply to Anonymous)

We always want the opposite of what we have!

As a child, I had very curly hair. The longer it grew, the straighter it got, probably because it was so heavy. Now, you'd never guess it has a natural wave, unless you saw me coming out of water.

My daughter also has very curly hair and sometimes uses a hair iron. However, that is very drying and she has to use a certain hair treatment when she irons her hair. While smooth looks very nice and professional, a good hair cut achieves an attractive result.

So, the point is that, a good haircut and taking good care of your hair - and overall health - is, in my opinion, the better way to go. It's also easier, and less expensive, to care for.

July 14, 2009 - 4:10pm

Hi anon, I'm sorry you are so upset. Like you, naturally, I have sorta curly, sorta frizzy hair and used to be one of those women who religiously took a straight iron to her hair every day. And we are like millions of women -- who have cried over straightening, perms, short haircuts and bad dye jobs that turned our beautiful natural color into something that nature would never create. Is there a way to revisit your hairdresser to find out how you can restyle it or restore some of its suppleness? Maybe you can call her to have her recommend products? Hang in there. I hate to say this because my mother used to say it to me -- but it will grow out and you will have your curly hair back and appreciate it more than ever.

July 5, 2009 - 2:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hello, im 13 and i have recentaly got the japanse hair straighting done.i have very curly hair but it was soo nice, my family begged me not to get it because they love my curls but i wanted to see me with straight hair. the hair dresser said that it could either be pin straight like i really really wanted or wavy. i bugged my mom to get it done for like a year and finally when my mom made the appointment. when it was over it took 2 and a half hours and $400!! it looked awesome! it was silky and smooth and pin straight. after 3 days of not washing it on the 4th day i did,, when i got out of the shower it was soo easy to comb through, but when it dried it was wavy and sort of frizzy, it looked nothing like it did when i got it first done. i hate it soo much, and i have 2 wait a year for it to grow out. i have been crying for 2 days already because of how ugly it looks. i regret getting it and also my hair feels brittle. i am crying while im writing this because i miss my curly sorta frizzy hair!!!!!!

July 5, 2009 - 6:53am
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Anon. I want to add my comments because I"ve had the Japanese hair straigtening done a few times. Twice the results were like you described. I think the stylist did not leave the formula on your hair long enough. Usually when I get it done it takes about 4 hours (but I have fairly long hair). How long ago did you have this done? It may be that if it's just in the last couple of weeks you could go back and ask her to help you fix it. It should be silky straight even if you just get out of the shower and blow it dry with a brush. Not frizzy.

The times when I have had it done and the formula was on my hair long enough, it always looked silky and smooth, even after I washed it and dried it myself. So there is hope!

If you want to work on controlling it while it grows out, my favorite favorite product of ALL all time is Phyto Phytodefrisant. It is a clear gel that comes in a tube that you rub into your wet hair. It helps it not frizz so much. I used it a lot before I got my hair straightened, and when it starts to grow back in I use it. It seems very expensive -- it is $18 to $21 for a tube -- but it lasts forever because you just don't use very much each time. But it is a huge help.

You can get it at some hair supply stores, call them ahead and ask if they have the Phyto products and if they do, ask if they have the Phytodefrisant (pronounced phy-toe day-frizz-ont). Or you can search for it online. I found it at several places online including Amazon.com:


The whole Phyto line is very good for us somewhat-frizzy girls.

I'm so sorry this whole episode has been so frustrating for you. Our hair is really really tough to deal with sometimes, and I know how you feel. Get the Phyto defrisant and work with your hair, and I bet you can get it controlled before school starts so that you are happy with it while it grows out.

July 7, 2009 - 8:15am

I echo Anon's comment about going to a salon where the stylist is TRAINED and certified in the japanese method of hair straightening.

It goes by several brand names. I have always gone to stylists who use the Liscio (pronounced lee-she-o, i believe) and have always gotten stellar results. The one time I did it with a stylist who used a different product, I was not at all happy with the results. But I do not know what product that was.

You can find stylists who use (and are trained in) the Liscio methods on that website. I'm sure there are other excellent products as well, and maybe some who've had good experiences will ask their stylists what brand of products they use and come back and tell us here. Frizzy girls need to know!!!

May 20, 2009 - 8:12am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)


February 26, 2011 - 9:25am
EmpowHER Guest

hi i have actually done the japanese straightening to my hair for the past 6 or 7 years. i always swear it will be the last time i do it cause im scared of damaging my hair too much. but th truth is once u do it u cant stop it cause u love the resuls. the only thing i notices is my hairs looks thinner tan it was but thats cause curly or wavy hair makes ur hair look thicker than it is anyways. and i also have gotten some premature gray hairs but im not sure if its from the straightening. but i truely luv it it makes my life easy n makes me feel beautiful n i get so many complaiments on my hair n its healthy condition. but do make sure u go to someone who knows whats they are doing

May 18, 2009 - 12:55pm
EmpowHER Guest

Diane P, did u find that when u did ur japanese hair treatment..were ur roots in an L shape?

March 14, 2009 - 10:25pm
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