Permanently straight hair has been the dream of many a woman who has faced the challenge of waking up every morning to get ready for work or school only to spend an hour or more washing, conditioning, blow drying, and straightening her hair. Think of the sleep that could be saved if so much time wasn’t required just to fix hair. If you could just wake up, wash your hair, dry it, and be on your way, mornings themselves could be completely different!

Sure you could get a super short haircut, but for many women, they love their long hair. They just hate the time and effort needed to maintain it.

It sounds like a great solution for many, but is it possible to permanently straighten hair?

The short answer is yes…and no.

It is definitely possible to permanently straighten hair. However, it’s only possible to permanently straighten the hair which is currently on your head.

This may sound ridiculously obvious, but the point is that, yes, you can permanently straighten the hair you have now through Japanese hair straightening, also known as thermal reconditioning. But new growth that comes in after the procedure will be of the same curl and consistency as your hair before the procedure.

As the new growth comes in, it will eventually need to be touched up to match the look of your straightened hair. For most hair types, a touch up is needed between 6 and 9 months after the original straightening was done. So yes, you can permanently straighten your hair. But no, that doesn’t mean you’ll never have to have a stylist touch your hair again.

Solutions to Permanently Straighten Hair

Japanese hair straightening is the closest thing that you’ll find to your search for permanently straight hair.

It is a delicate, time consuming process, and it won’t come cheap (usually between $400 and $1,000 depending on the length and density of your hair). But for many it is the best solution to the daily battle of managing their stubborn hair.

A brief summary of the process

Every thermal conditioning procedure should start out with a consultation. The process changes the chemical bonds within the individual strands of your hair, uses flat irons at temperatures upwards of 350 degrees, and takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to complete.

You don’t want to go through all of that if you aren’t a good candidate! People who benefit the most have healthy, unprocessed course hair that tends to be frizzy and is at least four inches long. If you’ve had lots of other coloring done or other hair relaxing treatments, the stylist may recommend another course of action.

A list of questions to consider in making the decision to have your hair permanently straightened can be found here.

permanently straighten hair

How much time each morning would it save you to permanently straighten your hair?

The straightening process itself varies significantly from person to person depending on the health of their hair and how much caution needs to be taken. Every procedure involves the two crucial stages of applying the thioglycolate solution and the neutralizer. The thioglycolate solution is what actively breaks down the bonds in your hair to make it straight and smooth.

There are several different brands on the market today. The most well known brand is the Yuko Hair Straightening System. Developed in Japan in 1993 by Yuko Yamashita, this is the original thermal reconditioning system. Other brands include Liscio (also from Japan), iStraight, and Bio Ionic.

The neutralizer balances the pH of your hair after the other solution has done its work. The 48 to 72 hours following the procedure are crucial to the success of the process. You must not get your hair wet, expose it to too many UV rays, or do anything that would crimp it (pony tail holders, clips, hats, etc.).

After those first two or three days, you will have hair that is sleek, soft, and manageable day in and day out. Just don’t expect to be able to curl it down the road. It is permanently straight now!

Other Hair Straightening Solutions

Japanese hair straightening is certainly not the only option out there for those longing for freedom from waves and curls. Another very popular option is known as Brazilian Keratin Treatment.

This is a completely different process from those methods that use thioglycolate. Sometimes referred to as Brazilian Blowout (this is actually a brand name), this process uses an aldehyde solution and liquid keratin (the protein building blocks of our hair and fingernails) to cover the tiny gaps in the cuticles of your hair, then seals it with a flat iron.

The popularity of this treatment comes from its great results and relatively simple process compared to thermal reconditioning.

There are drawbacks however.

The Brazilian treatment is not a permanent solution for straight hair. It only lasts between two to four months, and its effectiveness is reduced by washing.

Cost is also a factor. Individual treatments may be cheaper than a session of Japanese hair straightening. But over time, those treatment costs add up since the Brazilian method must be touched up frequently.

The more recent concern is the use of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, in the solutions. Today, most brands of Brazilian keratin treatments advertise that they are “formaldehyde free.” However an article from on the dangers of hair straightening claims that even products that are technically formaldehyde free may give off similar toxic fumes when combined with the heat from a flat iron.

Of course, there are at home treatments as well as relaxers that remove some curl without making the hair completely straight.

If you’re ready to take action and permanently straighten your hair, visit our listing of salons that offer the service. Or keep reading on our site to learn more!


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