Hair Relaxing or Straightening

Archived Q&A and Reviews

New recommendation for Japanese hair straightening?

Jan 2007

Hi, I've had the Japanese straightening method, or variations of it done about 6 times in the past four years. I have tried letting it go natural w/ bad results - very frizzy, dry, some wave, little curl, little straight = bad! The last recommendation for this type of procedure is over a year old. Does anyone have any recent recommendations for a stylist and/or what have you done if you've decided to go natural after years of straightening while it's in this awful in-between stage? Thanks! Jessica

I have my hair relaxed every few months. Luv the ''Japanese'' relaxer, it is time consuming. Plan about at least 4 to 5 hours (according to your hair length). You do need someone that speciallizes in that since if the steps are not done properly it will not work. It is costly at $300+ I went to a shop in Antioch. The stylist is Angrett at 925-565-0974 that is her specialty plus hair extensions Des

Japanese/Thermal Hair straightening

Oct 2006

Can anyone recommend a talented and reasonably priced person/salon to do this treatment? Your help would be appreciated! Margaret

I was told that Polly at Festoon is the go-to person in this area for Japanese/Thermal hair straightening treatment. Of course, I wouldn't really know. I looked into this myself a few months ago. Polly does 15-minute consultations, but only at the Festoon Salon in SF (I live in the EB). Then she's booked months in advance for the actual treatment (appt for straightening can be made for the Berkeley salon). Then you get to spend $$$ and several hours of your day for a treatment that you have to do all over again in six months. In the end, I decided it wasn't worth it and found a hair stylist who could skillfully cut my naturally and unevenly wavy hair. CC

Japanese hair straightening?

Apr 2005

After battling with my unruly wavy hair for this long, I would really like to explore the possibility for Japanese hair straightening. I have a 20 month old baby and a full time job and no time to devote to styling my hair. Morning routines need to be pared way back and I don't have 30 minutes to spend blow drying my hair straight. I don't like wearing my hair back and I detest wearing my hair wavy. Has anyone gone through this process and if so, how did it turn out. What is the average cost and where did you get it done. Any tips would be appreciated. Julia


  • Festoon Salon N. Berkeley (2)
  • Japan Center Beauty Clinic SF

    Other advice:

    i've had my hair thermal reconditioned and it is great. i have typical thick, wavy, asian hair. after i got my hair done, it is shiny, straight, and silky. it's amazing. i can go straight from the shower to perfect just need to air dry. you really have to go to a salon that has a lot of experience doing the reconditioning otherwise they can damage your hair or burn your hair entirely. i've had girlfriends of mine who have had negative experiences with this. thus, i get my hair done when i go down to la... there is a salon called kim sun young, that has been doing it for years and it is a lot less expensive than most american salons that charge around $500-800. they are the only ones i trust with my hair besides the stylist who's been cutting my hair for years. the salon's website is they do straight perms and ''magic straight''. the magic straight is the thermal reconditioning. they start at around $200 +/- depending on the length of your hair. my sister just got it done and she has hair around 4 inches below her shoulders...she paid $200 plus tip. good luck

    Permanent hair straightening?

    Sept. 2003

    I recently drove by a sign on a shop near campus that advertised ''Permanent Hair Straightening''. Is this a new technique and does it really last until the hair grows out? I had my hair chemically straightened once about twenty years ago and I loved it, but after the next shampoo it was gone. It was too expensive to do every week, so I gave up. But I would love to be able to get a permanent that would keep my hair straight until it grew out! I have longed for straight hair all my life. I have extremely thick and unruly hair. I checked the website but didn't find anything on this. Thanks for any help.

    Hi there, I've seen an ad in Brazil Today (Brazilian newspaper) about hair straightening supposed to last a year and done without any chemicals. The hairdresser is from Japan (her name is Yasuyo) and you can find her at Bibbo, located at Union Square. Phone number: (415)421-2426 Silvia
    My sister in law just had a permanent hair straightening process done called Yuko System. It is pretty pricy, but she swears by it. Supposedly, not only does it NOT damage hair, but it makes it healtier. They have a website: It explains the process & also lists where you can get it done. It is pretty expensive & you do have to go in for touch ups when your hair grows out. As a former hair straightener, I can tell you that if you have really thick & curly/coarse hair, with most strighteners you will still have to use the blow dryer &/or curling iron to get a smooth, straight look. Good luck! now loving my curls
    The process is generically called Japanese straightening or thermal reconditioning. It's been around for about two years and it leaves hair smooth, soft, healthy looking. It cannot be used on certain types of hair including highlighted hair, so be sure to get a consultation from a stylist who is experienced with the process. It does indeed last until new hair growth, and depending on how fast your hair grows, this means from 6 - 9 months. I have had it done every six months for the last 1.5 years and I am a big fan. It is not cheap -- depending on length, texture of hair, initial process can run about $500. Check out Festoon on MLK/Rose in Berkeley, or in SF. anonymous
    [Editor] also see Reviews for Festoon Salon

    Relaxing/texturizing black hair

    June 2003

    I recently moved from S.F. to the East Bay and am looking for a quality salon/stylist that is experienced in relaxing/texturizing black hair - preferably someone at a salon (as opposed to a neighborhood beauty parlor type establishment). I checked the website, but the posts only referenced a couple of salons and only talked about ''thermal relaxers.'' I am interested in the traditional relaxer/texturizer. Many thanks.

    Recommendation received:

  • Right Angle Berkeley

    Thermal Reconditioning

    Feb. 2003

    I am looking for a good hair stylist in the East Bay who does also thermal reconditioning. This is also known as the Japanese hair straightening process.

    Recommendations received:

  • Utopia Salon SF

    More advice:

    I had mine done in the city so I don't have any East Bay recommendations, but I just wanted to make a few suggestions. First, make sure that you go to someone who has done a lot of these. It is a very tedious process and there is definitely a learning curve. If the person is not totally experienced the results could be disastrous. The person should take test strands (as part of a free consultation) from several places on your head and treat them to see if it works on your hair--it does not work an all hair types, and factors like color, highlights, and chemical relaxing could count you out, so let the person know what treatments, if any, you've had. If it works well on your test strands things should go well. It is a very expensive, tedious process, but it is TOTALLY worth it!!! I also recommend checking out the internet (just do a google search) to learn more and read some of the message boards to learn about other peoples' experiences. Good luck, and feel free to email me with any questions. Tracy

    I didn't see the original posting, but it sounds as though the original inquirer was looking for someone in the East Bay who does Thermal Reconditioning/Straightening. Festoon at MLK/Rose in Berkeley provides this service. Jane

    Salon for getting hair relaxed

    May 2002

    Does anyone know a reliable salon in the Bay area where I can have my hair relaxed? (Preferably a salon that applies a relaxer called 'Precise'). Thank you very much. Sonia

    Recommendations received:

  • Festoon Salon (2)

    Straightening Hair Without Chemicals

    April 2002

    I have very thick, frizzy hair, and I would like to have it straightened. Many years ago I went to a stylist who used some harsh chemical ''relaxer'' on it. It looked great but I didn't like the chemical so I never went back. Then a few months ago I went to a hair stylist (out of town) who was able to carefully blow-dry my hair completely straight. It looked just as good as ''relaxing'' it. So now I know it's possible; the question is, is there anyone in the N. Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito area who can do this? Thanks for any info. Diana

    There are lots of good heat-activated straightening gels these days, that, when combined with careful blow drying and methodical flat-ironing, leave hear smooth and straight. However, this process lasts only until the next hairwash. After wanting straight hair all my life, I finally got it straightened using chemicals, recently, and I am thrilled with the results. Unfortunately, there is no way to get naturally curly hair to stay straight without using chemicals. My understanding is that the current thermal relaxing processes for this purpose are much better than what's been available in the past. Regardless of whether you go the temporary route or want to try the permanent, try Festoon at MLK and Rose in North Berkeley.