So you’ve finally decided that you’re tired of frizzy, unmanageable hair and are ready for a Japanese hair straightening treatment. But you also want a new color or highlights to go along with your newly straight, silky smooth hair.

The problem is, you aren’t sure when is the best time to color your hair in relation to your thermal straightening procedure.

This is no small issue. Japanese hair straightening directly affects the chemical makeup of your hair. Safely engaging in other chemical processes on your hair requires planning to avoid over processing.

The Key: Avoid Over Processing

But before we dive into the key factors to consider, there’s one important point you must remember about changing the color of your hair: Bleaching/highlighting and permanent hair dyes have a greater impact on your hair than does semi-permanent hair coloring.

Consider these differences:

  • Bleaching and highlighting – removes the color from your hair through a process called oxidation
  • Permanent hair coloring – uses dyes that contain hydrogen peroxide (oxidation) to produce a longer lasting effect that can be a lighter shade than your natural hair color
  • Semi-permanent coloring – does not involve oxidation but rather uses dyes to produce an effect that progressively fades over about six weeks and doesn’t lighten your color

In case you missed it, the key term here is oxidation.

Like Japanese straightening, oxidation is a chemical process that weakens your hair. Combining too many of these processes could lead to very negative results such as super dry, thin hair or even breakage.

Stylists performing a thermal reconditioning treatment must treat bleached or highlighted sections of hair with special care.

Tips for Scheduling Your Hair Coloring Appointment

So what precautions should you take to avoid these pitfalls when planning for both hair coloring and Japanese hair straightening? Here are our tips:

#1 If possible, avoid coloring your hair for up to six months before your Japanese straightening procedure.

Though this may seem like a long time to wait, it can pay off on the effectiveness of your thermal straightening procedure. Avoiding chemical processes during this time will help to ensure that your hair is strong and healthy for the procedure.

If your hair has been colored or especially if it has been bleached (oxidized) within the last several months, be sure to discuss this with your stylist at your consultation.

Bleached or highlighted sections of hair must be given cared for differently during the procedure to avoid weakening the strands too much. This can sometimes lead to subpar results.

#2 Wait for at least two weeks to color your hair after a Japanese hair straightening treatment.

Can you apply color treatments to hair that has been newly straightened by thermal reconditioning? Yes. But you should wait at least two weeks to give your hair a chance to stabilize in its new straighter shape before coloring. A stylist who suggests doing both at the same time is a stylist to be avoided.

Also, if a different stylist is doing your coloring, be sure to let her know that you have had the Japanese straightening procedure done. She will likely want to adjust her coloring plan to account for change in porosity.

#3) Know that your color may fade slightly as a result of thermal straightening.

Though it would not be dramatic, the chemical processing of thermal reconditioning can lighten colored hair a shade or two. Even virgin hair may lighten slightly.

#4) If you have an extensive history of bleaching or highlighting your hair, Japanese hair straightening may not be your best option.

There are many options for straightening your hair. And while Japanese straightening is a great one (hey, we built a whole website about it!), it is not the best option for hair that may already over processed.

Instead, consider a keratin treatment such as Brazilian Blowout or the iStraight Keratin treatment. Keratin treatments are more compatible with processed hair though the results do not last as long.

So, should you get your hair colored before or after your Japanese hair straightening treatment? Our recommendation is to wait until at least two weeks after the procedure. If the hair coloring is being done by a stylist other than the one who did the straightening, be sure to inform him or her so that any needed adjustments can be made. This will set you up for gorgeous, straight hair of any shade!

BONUS: Find the best shampoo for your newly colored hair in our post on the topic. Spoiler, our favorite for straightened hair is AG Hair Cosmetics Colour Savour Sulfate-Free Shampoo! 

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