Thermal Reconditioning or “Japanese Hair Straightening” is an innovative hair straightening system that permanently transforms curly, wavy, frizzy, unruly hair into soft, radiant, perfect, silky-straight hair that’s very easy to manage. Some of our clients “wash and go”… others quickly tousle-dry with a blow dryer. Our clients throw away their brushes! Rather than wrestling with your hair for hours on end — only to have it frizz back up in the fog or humidity — you can sleep in, work out, swim, and feel confident knowing that your hair will look its best!
Frequently Asked Questions
How it Works
Thermal Reconditioning uses an ammonium thioglycolate-based solution that has an alkaline base with a p.h. range of 6.0-8.8. This high p.h. level allows the solution to penetrate deep into hair’s sub-cuticle layers where it then breaks down the disulfide bonds that give each hair its intrinsic curly shape. After rinsing and drying, the hair is flat ironed. Last, a neutralizer is applied to reform and solidify the disulfide bonds and set the hair into its new silky-straight shape.
Dax and Lindsay are the only true thermal reconditioning specialists who do a strand test before every Straightening. Most stylists don’t do them at all. Some only do them for damaged hair. Others throw the word out as a buzzword and make them “complimentary”. Why is this important? A strand test is the foundation for every thermal reconditioning treatment. It’s the only way to assure that your hair will turn out beautifully, while giving us valuable information about your hair.
This test shows us which strength solution to use, how long your hair takes to process, and the proper iron temperatures to use. It’s a real-time example of how your hair will turn out, and we will only treat your hair if your test comes out beautifully. We’ll let you see and feel the results before your treatment so you know exactly what to expect.
This strand test is imperative, because not everyone will achieve a great result. There are many extraneous factors that, in combination with thermal reconditioning, can ruin your hair. These can include: hair color, highlights, henna, metallics, medications, hormones, and keratins. These can serve to weaken your hair, or react adversely with the thermal reconditioning solution, and negatively affect the end result.
The strand test is the only way to know that your hair will avoid these pitfalls and you can walk out with fabulously straight hair.
Maintenance / Retouch
The hair that we straighten will remain straight. Every 4 to 8 months, your new growth will need a re-touch so that it matches your previously straightened hair. In between re-touches iron new-growth to blend the roots with the straightened hair.
The re-touch is much more difficult to do than the first treatment! To avoid damage, it’s imperative not to overlap solution onto the previously straightened hair. Many stylists don’t know how to do a retouch properly. Some thermal reconditioning certification classes don’t even mention the retouch! Other classes have inferior ways of managing the line between the new growth and the previously straightened hair. This is where damage and/ or breakage can happen if the specialist isn’t very experienced, patient, and focused.
Dax and Lindsay and have performed thousands of Straightening’s and take great pride in their seamless re-touches!
Compatibility with Hair Color
The basis of a great thermal reconditioning straightening is strong, healthy, hair that has consistent porosity from root to end. Color strips proteins from the hair, which weakens it.
Semi permanent is preferred because it strips less protein than both demi-permanent and permanent colors. However, a great result can be achieved with both permanent and demi-permanent color.
Salon color is best because of its high quality, and in a salon you’ll get consistent color application, which is essential for your Straightening.
If salon color isn’t an option, color from a beauty supply store is your next best bet. Stay away from drug store home hair colors and henna that may contain metallic — which will ruin your hair when mixed with the Thermal Reconditioning solution.
Color your hair 2 weeks (14 days) to 1 month before your Straightening. You can not color your hair within 14 days on either side of your treatment. We require your color to be touched up to the root BEFORE you see us to ensure a consistent Straightening.
The strand test will show whether your color is compatible with the thermal reconditioning treatment. In many cases, it is, but please contact us before coloring to ensure success.
Compatibility with Highlights
It is imperative that you consult us before receiving any color treatment — especially highlights.
Highlights break two of our fundamental hair straightening laws: (1) Any successful Thermal Reconditioning Straightening must begin with healthy hair; and (2) We must have a solid, consistent foundation of hair to work with to ensure a great result.
Highlights create the exact opposite conditions, because they can strip up to half of the hair’s protein, which creates a head of hair that ranges from healthy — to barely healthy — to damaged — and everything in between.
Highlights create three completely different porosities when interwoven with color-treated and virgin hair. This porosity problem exacerbates when the hair is long and has been colored and/or highlighted multiple times because the colorist can’t match the exact weaving of the new highlight to the prior highlights.
Worse, if any of the prior highlights have been tinted over, they’re impossible to see, and therefore, impossible to protect during the straightening.
Keratin straightening is usually the better option for highlighted hair. The keratin infuses protein into the hair, rather than stripping it from the hair. It works wonderfully to fill in the missing protein stripped from color and highlights. Of course, if you want straight hair you’ll have to blow dry and iron– but you will anyway with thermal reconditioning. Also, flat ironing multi- processed hair will damage it. Plus, you’ll have the option of wavy hair. It’s important to note, we’re not saying that highlights can’t be done. Any hair “can” be done, but it takes very special circumstances for them to be done consistently well. Highlights are one of the main reasons for many of the horror stories that circulate todays message boards.
A couple of things to keep in mind regarding highlights:
- Salon pictures on websites are usually of pristinely ironed out hair. Your result will likely be much different at home before considerable styling.
- Everyone has a very different interpretation of what looks “good”. When you hear that someones very happy with their highlighted hair, most likely this person doesn’t mind heat styling to blend remaining wave and damage. This of course, can lead to much more damage as daily heat is particularly hard on double processed hair, especially highlights.
- Don’t get your hair wet for 2 days (48 hours). This includes sweat, steam, and heavy fog. If you accidentally get your hair wet, blowdry immediately.
- Don’t do anything that will put a crease in your hair including hats, head bands, clips, scarves, bands, and tucking. If you accidentally leave a crease in your hair, iron it out. Make sure to keep the iron moving to avoid an iron crease.
Recently, there have been reports that hair straightening procedures can cause cancer. Thermal Reconditioning/Japanese hair straightening is NOT one of them!
The straighteners in question are tradional relaxers, which are sodium hydroxide (lye) based and are applied directly onto the scalp.
These chemicals very harsh and toxic.
Conversely, thermal reconditioning uses ammonium thioglycolate, or a “thio” based solution. This is the same as perm solution and has been used since the 50’s, even on pregnant women. Also, we purposely leave the solution 1/4-1/2″ off of the scalp so nothing gets absorbed into the skin.
In short, Thermal reconditioning and traditional relaxers are two completely different treatments.