Sandra Bullock. Penelope Cruz. Jennifer Aniston. All are reported to have fallen head first for the biggest hair treatment trend in years, thermal reconditioning. Thanks to thermal reconditioning even curly haired girls can keep their locks silky straight.
Thermal reconditioning or Japanese straightening is a permanent straightening process that promises pin-straight hair while maintaining health and shine. What does permanent mean? Only new hair growth needs further treatment. That's right. Once treated, hair is left eternally straight.
The revolutionary thermal reconditioning process reportedly originated in Japan in 1996 with the dawn of the Yuko system. The Yuko system uses heat to restructure the hair's protein bond, resulting in smooth, straight, shiny, sleek hair.
Now, nearly a decade later, thermal reconditioning has become a bona fide beauty phenomenon. And like any good trend, the popularity of the Yuko system spurred the invention of comparable brands including Liscio, iStraight, Bio Ionic and more.
While all the choices in thermal reconditioning are enough to confuse a girl, you don't have to become a brand expert in order to make an informed decision about where to go for this treatment. The decision to have your hair straightened should be based on the salon professional that performs the treatment and your specific type of hair, not the brand.
Most reputable salons will require a consultation before booking thermal reconditioning . This is your chance to come clean. Explain your hair type to the stylist. Be completely forthright about your hair history, from color to highlights to texture to split ends. This information is crucial to your stylist in determining which product to use, how much to use and where to apply it sparingly.
With thermal reconditioning prices beginning as low as $300 and exceeding $1500, it's tempting to bargain shop. But according to Leslie Correa, a nationally renowned thermal reconditioning expert and owner of Capelli D'Oro Salon Spa in New York , "price is not an indication of skill when it comes to thermal reconditioning ." Which means that those choosing a stylist from the bargain bin may get burned.
Graciela Nowik, owner of Hair Base Salon in Chicago and a director for the National Cosmetology Association concurs: "This is one service where price should be at the bottom of the list. The success largely depends on the chemical expertise of the stylist and ability to analyze the hair for the myriad variables that can alter the final results. We strongly recommend several strand tests be done at the time of consultation. This will give both the stylist and the client a sneak peak of what the hair will look and feel like."
Plus, the range in thermal reconditioning pricing is based on factors such as hair length, thickness, product usage and, of course, the cachet of the salon. Most salons charge an hourly rate, and it's wise to be cautious of any professional offering a flat rate for all clientele. Clearly, a client with long hair requires more time and effort than her short-haired counterpart.
Once you've taken the thermal reconditioning plunge, at-home hair care becomes crucial. For the first 72 hours after treatment, don't wash your hair, exercise or tie hair back.
What's done during these first three days may affect the way the hair will ultimately (and permanently) look.
Use specially formulated shampoos and conditioners for chemically straightened hair to help maintain your hair's health and the length and quality of the treatment. To minimize UV exposure in the first days after treatment, keep hair protected with a hat when possible.
Once you've made the initial investment, you'll still need the occasional touchup. According to Correa, "most clients will not need to retouch a thermal reconditioning for at least six to nine months, depending on how quickly hair grows and how curly it is at the root."
Properly treated hair should remain silky-straight for months, until the hair starts to grow out. Which means less blow-drying, less aggravation and more time to hit the snooze button.
the PrettyCity.com searchable database to find a Japanese Straightening expert near you.