Thermal reconditioning has many names: Japanese hair straightening, thermal straightening, ionic straightening, magic straight perm, and thermal relaxing. But they all describe the same revolutionary treatment designed to make any hair type luxuriously soft, smooth, and straight. Thermal reconditioning differs from traditional relaxers and perms in the way that it completely retexturizes the hair. So not only will your hair be straight, but it will also be totally frizz-free—or so the developers of the treatment claim.
Cursed with unruly, curly hair myself, I decided to do a bit of research on thermal reconditioning. It was developed in Japan during the 90s, when the stick-straight hair craze was at its peak. It’s been on the U.S. market for about eight years, and has been popularized by mentions by Oprah and other celebrities. There are formulations for every type of hair, including bleached and African-American hair. After reading so many success stories, I decided to take the plunge into thermal reconditioning. After all, relaxers did nothing to tame my lion’s mane, and even top flat irons like the CHI and Sedu would only straighten my hair for a few hours before it reverted back to its painfully frizzy state. Thermal reconditioning was different, according to its makers. It would “cure” me of my hair issues.
If you want perfect hair, you’re going to have to pay for it. Thermal reconditioning can cost anywhere between $350 and $800, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. I was told the process could take up to six hours, but I only sat in the salon chair for about four. Honestly, I could have sat there for twelve—as my fellow curly girls know, there’s no time limit that could scare us away from the promise of straight hair.
Why does thermal reconditioning take so long and cost so much? Well, it’s a pretty labor-intensive process for the stylist. After shampooing my hair, my stylist divided my hair into small sections and coated it with a relaxing cream. While it sat on my hair for a few minutes, my stylist explained that it was transforming my hair from curly to straight and also opening up the pores of my hair. She washed my hair and then started a quick blow dry.
At that point, my hair was straight, but even frizzier than before—this, she explained, was due to the temporary porous nature of my hair. She then divided my hair again, but this time into tiny sections about one-eighth of an inch wide. She flat ironed each section meticulously until every strand on my head was pin-straight. We laughed at the fact that even the baby hairs on my forehead were straight. This step is undoubtedly the most time-consuming part of Japanese hair straightening, and also the most important. Once all of her hard work was done, my stylist coated my hair with a wet, drippy substance called a neutralizer. The neutralizer locks in the flat-ironed texture of the hair. After a few minutes, my hair was rinsed, shampooed, and conditioned.
When she began to blow-dry for the second time, the results were obvious. There she was, whipping my hair around rather carelessly with a blow dryer while my hair dried into a shiny, perfectly straight sheet of hair. It was incredible. That type of result previously involved at least an hour of blow drying with a round brush followed up with a careful flat ironing session. At last, straight shiny hair was mine! She divided my hair up one last time and flat ironed it, sealing in my fabulous new hair. The treatment continues to process in your hair for the next 72 hours, so during that time you can’t wash your hair or bend it in any way. That means no ponytails, bobby pins, or behind the ear tucking. It was a little difficult to adhere to these rules and I looked like a greaseball for three days, but it was worth it.
After thermal reconditioning, I now have wash-and-go hair, something I never dreamed possible with my natural hair texture. Rain, humidity, and wind are no match for the results of my thermal reconditioning. Thermal reconditioning isn’t for everyone. It tends to suck the volume out hair and it becomes nearly impossible to hold a curl. But if you’re like me and you dream of pin-straight hair, go for it!
To learn more about Japanese hair straightening or a wide variety of other popular cosmetic spa treatments, feel free to contact us at Signature Forum today. We can schedule you a free consultation with a top specialist near you!
or Fill Out Our Online Form
Share the gift of superior service! The perfect gift for any occasion...stocking stuffers, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and more.
Whether it's interesting factoids, introductions to local providers, or the latest industry news—SignatureForum's newsletters are something to look forward to.
Enjoy exclusive promotions and savings worth up to hundreds of dollars with SignatureForum membership packages!
Does your company provide superior service? Submit your application for becoming one of our elite network service providers.