Japanese hair straightening | My experience

‘All asians have black, super straight hair’, is the greatest myth ever! Even though I was born with straight hair, my hair suddenly started to chance by the age of twelve. One day I’ve woke up, and my hair suddenly began to curl. And I totally hated it!

I wasn’t used to take care of curls, so at some point it looked fluffy -but not in a good way. During puberty my hair felt like a complete nightmare. And I’m not exaggerating, people made fun of my hair. Hard times.

After a while, I discovered flat irons. My first one wasn’t that good. It broke off my hair and made it extremely dry and damaged (flat irons with ceramic plates didn’t exist yet), but my hair was more straight, and that was all what matters.

At the age of 19 I was introduced to Japanese hair straightening, and it changed my life.

What is Japanese Hair straightening?

Japanese hair straightening is a method to permanently straighten the hair. The treatment makes your hair pin-straight, soft and shiny. You no longer need a flat iron. It’s permanent, so you have to wait for it to grow out. Usually this is after 6 months.

The first time I heard about this, was via a Dutch hair salon I’ve found on the internet. Only problem: they asked €350 ($410) for a treatment. That was a lot of money for a teenager, so I decided to save money for it.

A year later, I was nineteen, my family and I went on a family trip to Bali. And I made the stupid decision to leave my flat iron at home. I thought that I won’t have time to straighten my hair every day. So when we arrived at the Balinese airport, the humidity overtook me, and within a couple of hours my hair curled up. The whole trip I walked around with difficult-to-manage hair.

During our last week, we visited a hair salon. The hairdresser asked if I was interested in Japanese hair straightening. “That depends how much it costs”, I answered.
It was converted €40 ($46.86). I fell off my seat and immediately shouted yes!

How does it works?

A treatment takes 3 to 5 hours, depending on the length, thickness, and condition of the hair. First they wash and blow-dry the hair. Then the mixture is put into the hair. This loosens the connections (they’re responsible for the curls) in your hair. Now the hair can take on a new, straight shape, through straightening with a flat iron. With small sections, the hair is straighten several times. After the treatment you aren’t aloud to wash your hair for a couple of days, to tie your hair, wear a cap or put your hair behind your ears.

My treatment lasted around 5 hours. It was very intense. First, the smell was awful. It reminded me of the smell of hair removal. The salon didn’t have aircon, and several hairdressers were sweating while they were straightening my hair. After the treatment my hair was pin-straight, super soft and shiny. I felt great! They advised me to not wash my hair for 4 days. After that, I could use any shampoo I want and wear my hair like I normally do.

The results

I didn’t find it hard to not was my hair for 4 days. Yes, it became greasy, but I was too in love with my hair, so I didn’t care. After 4 days, I washed my hair and my hair was still pin-straight. I didn’t blow-dry my hair, and even slept with wet hair (I can’t remember why), but my hair stayed pin-straight, soft and shiny.

Japanese hair straightening: before and after
Okay, the before photo wasn’t made in Bali, but in a hair salon where I did my keratin treatment (I will post about my keratine treatments later). However, it’s a picture of my natural hair. The after photo is end-of-puberty me (so baby), happy with my new pin-straight hair. I wish I could find a better picture, where you can see my whole hair. But those pictures are on my old, crashed laptop -with no back up.

I was so happy with my hair! I could finally do things, other Dutch girls could do. Like: carefree swimming, not blow drying my hair, and not using an umbrella during rainy day’s.

The results lasted up to 9 months. Afterwards my hair slowly grew back to normal. So I did a Chinese hair straightening for €100 ($117.15). The treatment was kind of similar, but the results were less stunning.

Will I do this again?

Yes! In fact, since my treatment in Bali, I’ve promised myself to do a Japanese hair straightening again. But in The Netherlands, the treatment is quite expensive (prices starting from €200- €350 ($292.88- $410). I could do the treatment again in Indonesia, but unfortunately the salon in Bali doesn’t exist anymore. Besides, I’m afraid to do a treatment in an unknown, Indonesian hair salon. To be honest, I’ve tried once, and the hairdresser didn’t speak English that well. So I’ve ended up with only an hair masks, because I was too scared that he would ruin my hair.

Because of the price, I currently do keratin treatments to keep my hair straight. I will discuss that in another article.

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