This is the second article in the straightening natural hair series. The Japanese straightening treatment is aka thermal reconditioning.
It’s a treatment that originated in Japan over 20 years ago; formulated as a treatment for turning coarse and curly hair into straight locks.
Japanese Straightening Treatment
What is the Japanese Straightening Treatment?
The Japanese straightening treatment breaks down the hair bonds. Hair is saturated with a chemical that breaks down the hair bonds.
Hair is then 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 Japanese straightening treatment.
The term – thermal reconditioning – is used because special flat irons at specific temperatures are used to complement the work of the solution.
The Japanese straightening treatment is similar to applying a relaxer.
However, the chemicals in a relaxer are more harmful to the hair than the ingredients in the Japanese straightening treatment.
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 sometimes!
- 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 costs 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 thermal straightening solutions include:-
- One n Only Thermal Ionic Straightening Solution
- Matrix Opti Smooth Resistant
- 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.
Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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