I’ve been wanting to get my hair straightened for a long time, I’m tired of frizz and spending ages blow drying my hair. What is better, Japanese or keratin straightening? - Amanda
In a nutshell, they are both completely different so it’s best to look at your needs specifically to determine the best fit.
Over the years, in salon treatments have become popular to straighten frizzy hair and decrease styling time. Japanese hair straightening and professional Keratin straightening have been the most popular.
They both work to straighten the hair but there are significant differences which are important to consider before deciding which is best for your hair type.
Japanese straightening treatments use thermal energy and chemicals (typically calcium hydroxide or Lye) to re-arrange the hair bonds, while the keratin straightening treatments (also known as Brazilian blowouts) use keratin protein and amino acids along with heat, to repair and rejuvenate the cuticle surface.
How Japanese straightening works
Also known as re-bonding or thermal re-conditioning, Japanese hair straightening permanently straightens hair by breaking and changing the internal protein bonds of the hair with a chemical solution and heat. Depending on the hair length and thickness, Japanese hair straightening can take 3-6 hours to complete and should not be washed for 72 hours after. Once straightened, hair will never go back to its original form, though new hair growth will maintain your hair’s natural texture.
Make sure you give your stylist a full history, especially if your hair has been previously permed, straightened, or been colour processed. Due to the chemical nature of the solution and the process the hair goes through re-structuring the bonds, it may not be for you if your hair has been damaged.
Japanese straightening may be what you are looking for if you have healthy wavy or curly hair and want a super straight finish which is long term, just be aware that if you have naturally curly hair your regrowth will be curly.
How keratin straightening treatments work
Your hair structure is made up of about 90% keratin protein. Professional keratin treatments use naturally occurring keratin protein and amino acids which are then bonded to the hair using heat. They repair damaged sections within the hair cortex and cuticle and rejuvenate the hair by building on layers of keratin protein to rejuvenate its surface.
During the treatment process, the keratin penetrates the hair shaft and forms a smooth protective coat on the cuticle’s surface, this results in straight, healthy hair and takes between 3-4 hours.
The effects wear off gradually over a 3-6 month period which makes it ideal if you want to return to having curly hair. Keratin straightening is a good option for bleached hair as one of the main benefits aside from straightening is the repair of damage.
Both treatments remove frizz, add shine, and decrease blow drying time, making hair very easy to style. Keratin treatments are be the preferred option in most cases though as they are safe for hair which has previously been chemically treated and is suffering with from damage.
Ultimately, speak to your stylist / straightening expert and discuss in detail what your expectations are long term for your hair. Remember to be sure to be honest about your hair’s history, your stylist has your best interests at heart and needs to know what’s your hair has been through in order to make sure treatments and services can be tailored to your hair condition.
Word of caution: Old generation keratin treatments used to incorporate formaldehyde in their formulas but this practice has since been stopped with offending products being recalled. Watch out for any treatment which is supposed to be left on the hair for days after as this is usually a sign it may have questionable ingredients.