This is the second article in the straightening natural hair series. The Japanese straightening system is aka thermal reconditioning.
With this system, hair is saturated with a chemical that breaks down the hair bonds before it is rinsed, blow dried and flat ironed.
While hair strands eventually revert back to their normal state after a few months with BKT, hair remains permanently straight with the thermal reconditioning treatment – similar to applying a relaxer.
However, the chemicals in a relaxer are more harmful to the hair than the ingredients in the Japanese straightening system.
Pros of the Japanese Straightening Treatment (Thermal Reconditioning)
- This is supposed to be healthier on hair because it uses a milder chemical (ammonium thioglycolate) while relaxers use sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide.
- Requires less maintenance and treatment than relaxed hair.
- Comes with a choice of mild, regular, or extra strength depending on your hair type and density.
- It doesn’t burn the scalp like traditional relaxers and can be applied without gloves.
- You can use this system to loosen your curl pattern or achieve completely straight hair.
Related Content: Straightening Natural Hair – Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT)
Cons of the Japanese Straightening Treatment (Thermal Reconditioning)
- This takes a crazy amount of time. Up to 10 hours some times!
- Straightening is permanent. Your hair will never revert back to its curly state.
- You will need to touch up your roots like a relaxer.
- Very expensive and cost as much as $500 especially for first-time treatments. There are home kits available but you have to be quite skilled to get it done properly.
- If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can cause serious hair damage.
- The kinkier your hair is, the more challenging it will be to achieve straight results.
- Though milder than relaxers, ammonium thioglycolate can still cause scalp irritation, redness, and itching in some cases.
Overall, if you’re thinking of going back to relaxed hair, this is a healthier option than traditional relaxers. For reversion back to your curls a few months down the road, formaldehyde-free BKT smoothing systems are a better option.
DIY Thermal Straightening Treatments
If you’re low on funds but brave enough to try this at home, some DIY at home thermal straightening solutions include One n Only Thermal Ionic Straightening Solution, Matrix Opti Smooth Resistant and Quantum Thermal Straightener.
Below is a video showing the treatment on kinky hair at a salon in LA:
Here’s a simple tutorial on how to DIY thermal reconditioning. If you’ve ever tried this treatment, let’s know your feedback in the comments section.