Thermal Straightening

Facts about Japanese Thermal Straightening

Hair that is extremely curly is often a point of exasperation for its owner, although a new technique called Japanese thermal straightening could very well be the answer to this problem.

Types of hair

The deciding factor between curly hair and straight hair is the hair follicle.  The follicle determines the shape of the hair shaft as well as the angle from which the shaft grows from the follicle.  Curly hair, for example, features a long oval shape.  It grows from a sharp angle from the scalp.  That being said, not all curly hair is created equal.  Some hair is merely wavy; other hair is moderately curly while still other hair has so much curl that is becomes kinky.  The tendency to have curly or kinky hair is a genetic decision; if the parent has curly hair, it is more likely that their child will as well.  In addition, certain ethnicities possess the predisposition for curly or kinky hair.

People who have excessively curly hair find it difficult to care for it.  The kinks in the hair become easily intertwined, causing the hair to tangle.  This condition becomes even more pronounced when there is a great deal of humidity in the air.  Attempts to comb through the hair are futile, as the tightly wound hair shafts form knots that are difficult if not impossible to break through.

Ways to battle kinky hair

There are many products on the market that profess to ease or straighten kinky or excessively curly hair for the short term and are able to be performed at home.  The most common types are electrical styling tools which use heat, pressure and negative ion emissions to straighten hair, and usually must be performed on a daily basis in most cases.  Other methods include creams that provide a temporary straightening effect when applied to the hair.  While these methods provide relief for tangled, kinky hair on the day they are used, the next day will find the hair back in its normal, unruly and unmanageable condition.

A more permanent application has now been developed that is causing great excitement among those with naturally curly hair.  A relatively new method for battling curly hair, called thermal straightening, is providing long term relief from the fight of tangled hair.  It is not a process that is able to be performed at home, however.  It is necessary for the straightening to be done by a cosmetologist who has been trained for the procedure.

There are three steps involved in this straightening process that will change hair from a tangled, frizzy mess to smooth and shiny locks.

  1. The first step is to wash and condition hair. 
  2. Once completed, the hair is treated with a “retexturizer”; a product that alters the internal stress of hair shafts which relaxes the hair.
  3. A ceramic flat iron that has been heated to between 170 and 230 degrees Celsius is used to press the hair; a process that thermally reconstructs the hair shafts into their new “straightened” condition.  To lock the hair into its straightened shape, a neutralizer is then applied to the tresses. 

Three steps may seem to be easy, but the process is a lengthy and time consuming one.  It can range between three to five hours for the straightening to be complete.  Due to this fact, it is also an expensive venture.  However, it is a semi-permanent fix that will last until the hair is cut.  All new growth will, of course, grow in its natural curly state.  This means that touchups will be necessary, with the period of time between touch ups varying per individual.

Japanese thermal straightening may not be the answer for everyone with excessively curly hair, but can provide relief for those who choose to undergo this procedure.