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Hair - Japanese Hair Straightening/ Thermal Reconditoning

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rated 4.5(45 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 4.5
  • 88% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 4.3
  • Price: $$$$

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 3/6/2007 6:17:00 PM More reviews by lotusfairy

Age: 19-24 Skin: Oily, Medium, Cool Hair: Brunette, Curly, Medium Eyes: Brown

I had this done at a local Asian salon for 250 bucks, since my hair is short. I have virgin, medium-textured hair that frizzes up in humidity. My hair is also a mix of botticelli curls and waves. Not easy to work with, but I managed to get my routine down pat. The process took a long time to do (3 and a half hours), but my hair came out beautifully straight and shiny. It was also soft to the touch. I couldn't wash my hair for three days and couldn't use any pony holders and hair clips so that my hair doesn't get any marks. Something I'm willing to endure if I have to. Its a big change for me, but cuts down styling time in the morning and I don't have to use too many products. I recommend you do some research first and make sure you use moisturizing hair products to ensure your hair remains healthy.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 12/9/2006 2:32:00 PM More reviews by niveous

Age: 25-29 Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral Hair: Brown, Curly, Medium Eyes: Brown

My life has been changed by thermal reconditioning. I balked at the ridiculously expensive prices here in the US ($500?! - even Asian hair salons charge around $200) and got it done on a recent trip to Asia, for about USD $100. The procedure has been around for years there and done in almost every salon, so the only research I did was asking people which salon to go to.
This was one of the best decisions I've made. My hair: Medium-textured Asian hair that has never been straight but is rather wavy (totally curly on a good behavior day, or just has a mind of its own on bad days), poofy, frizzy, kinda dull, dry, and deathly afraid of humidity. For years I've blown dry my hair so that it can be the semblance of straight, and even then you can tell it's not - not to mention the damage I do to my hair with all that blow-drying! After getting thermal reconditioning, I didn't wash my hair for 3 days, no ponytail holders, and had to sleep a certain way too (so that the hair doesn't get bent, as recommended by the stylist). It was flat as could be until I got to shampoo it! But what I ended up with was shiny, sleek, straight hair that looked beautiful, healthy, retained the body/volume my hair always had, and incredibly easy to style. No more blow-drying! I let it air dry, run my fingers through it, and I'm good to go. Much time and frustration saved.
Unfortunately, my hair grows out pretty quickly, so after 3+ months, my curly/wavy roots definitely show, and it's not as straight as it was when I first got it done (but still passable for straight). Sigh. I've gone back to blow-drying just the roots so that they conform. I'm waiting for it to grow out a bit more so I can get it redone. Really don't know how on earth I could've lived without thermal reconditioning for so long! This process is a god-send for girls with kinky hair like mine. continued >>

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rated 5 of 5 on 12/9/2006 2:00:00 PM More reviews by everitt4

Age: 25-29 Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse Eyes: Brown

So I've been a hold-out for years, with my chinese/jewish, ultra-thick and coarse wavy hair (no prior straightening/color/perms). I had my hair down to a science, albeit hi-maintenance hell, but I still had my more tamed waves, and the price of $400+ for straight perm was a bit hefty. But I have always craved straight hassle-free hair. A friend had recently gone to a japanese salon in NYC, loved it, and it was so cheap I couldn't resist ($240 -they use the Liscio system). So I gave in to temptation, and a few weeks later, am still loving the ease. Just wash and go.
The salon we used was Toshi & Hairmates, we both had Seiji (?sp) do our hair- his English is fair enough. (No affiliation to this salon, I live in CA now, but was there visiting friends.) Took about 3 hours, including a protein treatment to start ($20), with an assistant helping Seiji with the blow-drying and flat ironing- definitely cuts down on time.
Post-treatment, no hair washing for 48 hours, and no bending of your hair (ponytails, tucking behind ears) for a week. My hair is now shinier and smoother - i just shampoo and condition. I think if you've had coloring recently it definitely is more damaging, so I would recommend waiting until your natural hair grows in first. I gave away my Biosilk right after, and my Jojoba oil is just sitting in its bottle, contemplating shelflife.
UPDATE: Just got touched up, 9 months later. Had grown out about 5-6 inches, was getting fluffy again and had been blow-drying more often to get the flat effect. Loved it though, had so many compliments and even people who swore they would miss my waves changed their opinions afterwards. Went to a salon in Bay Area, (see Yelp for review "tonie's"), took forever but they were busy with other customers. About 5 hours with a helper. In the can't shampoo/tuck phase.
UPDATE # 2: I'm pretty much addicted. I tried to go without for a few months, "missing" the waves. Wow, so not missing it. I went back to Tonie's in SF (after trying out Hairmates- bad idea, on Geary in SF) after about 9 months growth. The ends were a little fried, so I asked her to avoid those few inches at the end. and I also asked her if she could not leave it in so long, since I just wanted it tamed, not stick straight. Love Tonie. She listened, and my hair is just as I want it. not stick straight, but a more natural, less bulky-jewfro look. It can hold a wave (and a pony-tail bump is evident after a day of being held up), but if I want to wash-n-go I can as well. Had to have some of the fried ends trimmed a few weeks later, but I attribute that to the last straightening where I got a bit singed overall.

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rated 5 of 5 on 10/16/2006 10:26:00 AM More reviews by tusabrat

Age: 36-43 Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

I have been having my hair straightened once per year for 5 years now, and I can't imagine my life without it. I have the kind of hair that is soft and wavy, with ends that kick out in all directions, so this process is perfect for me. Because my wave is mostly on the ends of my hair, I can get away with out 9 - 10 months of regrowth, by which time I usually reschedule another app. I keep my hair shoulder length, and my hair grows fairly fast, so the damage is minimal. I have the Yuko system, done in Green Park in London. My hair is very shiny afterwards, and stays that way. I do have split ends, but - remembering back to when I was younger, and only used a hair dryer - I think my hair splits around a certain length anyway. It's not very noticable though, because my hair is so shiny. LOSING HAIR: at first I thought that my hair was falling out, but after 4 years, my hair is the same thickness and I've realised it just simply that, because my hair is so straight and slippery, loose hairs slide out easily, so it can feel like your hair is falling out. I think on normal hair, loose hairs gets stuck within waves and curls, and only come out when you brush. So don't panic if this happens to you.

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rated 4 of 5 on 8/18/2006 10:59:00 PM More reviews by KMA1

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

I have had my hair TR'd with the CHI system twice, a year and a half apart. My hair is naturally very thick, coarse, wavy and color-treated.
It took the stylist 3.5 hours the first time, and 3 hours the 2nd time. Both times I was VERY happy with the results...I did a lot of research on what you are and are not supposed to do afterward before I had it done. I would not say that my hair was pin-straight but straight enough that it cut my styling time from 30 min. down to about 8 min.
The last time I had it done was 8 months ago. The stylist would like me to go back for touch-ups every 6 months, but honestly it's expensive and I am just now seeing the dreaded wave pattern starting to begin in the regrowth. So for now, I just straighten the heck out of it with my CHI iron. I know I will go back and have it done again, it's just a matter of time until I cannot stand that stupid wave pattern any more!
Bottom line, I would DEFINITELY recommend it to anyone who A) has unruly hair and hates it, B) has time to research and find a good and experienced technician and C) has the $$$ to do it because it is NOT cheap!

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rated 5 of 5 on 5/11/2006 3:50:00 AM More reviews by leflyingolive

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure Hair: Black, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

Greatest thing I ever did to my hair. It looks great in whatever weather its in (iused to be coarse and wavy) and is extremely straight. Tip: go to an asian salon: I have shoulder length hair and only paid $140 (inc tip) for the straightening.

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rated 5 of 5 on 3/12/2006 3:36:00 PM More reviews by azadehm1

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

Hah, I was wondering if this was going to be on here. So for the past three years I have been doing the matrix opti smooth.I've been doing the smoothing system (not the thermal straightening). There was no way that I was spending 500(my quote at the salon) for this so I have been doing this at home. I buy the kits off ebay like 40-45.00. It's been great so far, I mean I have tried salon straightening before and this product doesn't damage your hair as much.
My hair is super curly (and super dry)and increadibly thick and long. The smoothing system really helps to straighten the curls on my head area and give a more of a curly wave effect. Normally after the process it takes about a week until I can see how curly it's going to be. Although this line is great as with all chemical straightening it makes my hair super fragel, dry and easily breakable.
I should mention that I do this with my mother who is a retired hairdress but anyone could do this with a friend or two(recommended!). Make sure to get the CD and to watch everything twice before you start. DO NOT go over the recommended time. A year ago we got delayed and I just fried my hair with only an extra five minutes.
Now for the thermal straightening...I do this for my sister alone, who has medium thickness, but much less curly hair than me. It takes like 5 hours to do but it turns out great. I don't recommend thermal straightening on really curly hair because it will never get all that straight, no matter what they promise.
Overall, this has been a life saver, I can wear a pony tail without a frizz mess on my head. Feel free to ask me suggestions...I feel like I've been doing this forever.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 12/3/2005 4:10:00 AM More reviews by theminx

Age: 30-35 Skin: Normal, Dark, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Black

Here in Singapore, this process is commonly called Rebonding. It was massively popular when it first appeared about 5 years ago, but it's now getting some backlash from the local beauty magazines because half the women in Singapore ended up with identical hairstyles! For me, this is the best beauty investment I've ever made. I've done this twice a year for 3 years now, just got the latest done yesterday.

Some advice if you plan to do this:

1) Research like crazy. Ask friends who have done it succesfully, and go to the same salon AND stylist. The stylist's skill is important, not just the brand of product they use.

2) If your hair is coloured / highlighted, the process will alter the colour of your hair (most likely, it go a shade lighter). You will also find that colour will not take as well to your hair after the process. Do not bleach hair after the process - it will fry it beyond belief.

3) Not all hair takes well to rebonding. It may not end up as straight as you expect. A good hair stylist will be able to advise you.

4) If your hair is very very curly even at the roots, you may have a problem with regowth. You'll end up at a stage where the regrowth is curly but too short to re-do the process. Ditto for short hair that does not have weight to 'pull down' the the regrowth. You'll end up with bouncy hair at the top of your head.

5) I've tried expensive salon shampoos for this type of processed hair, but they were useless (I would recommend Clairol Herbal Essences Replenishing shampoo & conditioner instead).

I think this is the best beauty invention of the century! All the plus points mentioned by reviewers below apply to me, so I won't repeat. One downside is that after doing this 6-7 times now over 3 years, my hair is much thinner that before. Keep promising that I will stop this madness, but I'm addicted :)

continued >>

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rated 5 of 5 on 10/27/2005 9:49:00 AM More reviews by DenizUK

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Other, Other Eyes: Black

My natural hair texture is fine/medium thickness managable wavy hair. I opted for the Thermal reconditioning treatment to allow me to save time when drying my hair, as I washed my hair daily due to te dreaded greasies!

It has been one week since I have had the treatment and so far I am very pleased with it. My hair is very shiney and smooth. I am able to let my hair air dry and it looks straight - not poker straight like with the flat irons -but more of a blown out straight.

Even with the increased softness and shine, I have noticed that my hair is weaker and more prone to breaking if treated roughly. I therefore try to keep my hair as healthy and protected as posible, using a deep conditioner each time I wash and Redken Deep Fuel once per week. I have also been told by the TR stylist that the use of flat irons (especially GHD which is actually hotter than the TR Irons!) should be kept to an absolute minimum.

I feel for the people who have been left with damaged hair due to this process, as I have had my hair damaged to the extent that I couldnt wear it down for 8 months by incompetant colourists. TR is avery complecated process, so finding the most experienced knowledgeable technician is an absolute necessity in this case. I went to Christian B Toth from Go-straight in London, who was featured on Extreme Makeovers TV and were one of the first people to offer this service in the UK, so I was very confident in him.

Good luck to all who plan on getting this done, it is a godsend for many if it is done by the correct person.

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rated 1 of 5 on 8/12/2005 11:39:00 PM More reviews by Sharyg1

Age: 30-35 Skin: Sensitive, Tan, Warm Hair: Brown, Curly, Fine Eyes: Brown

I had TR done on my hair and it was a horrible experience. At the beggining I couln't be happier with the results. My hair was super straight once I blowed dried it. It would not stay straight if left it to air dry. I could get it just as straight before the process, by blow drying it. However after the TR it would remain totally straight in the highest humidity. I went to the caribean and had totally straight hair the whole time. The only thing I didn't like is that your hair won't shine much after the treatment. I later on found out this is actually normal after the procedure. But other than that I couln't be happier. That was until my hair started to break off and fall out. This started happening within the first two months. I purchased all the products I was told to purchase and used them religiously. Still, every time I combed my hair my bathroom floor looked like a rug. This wasn't a few strands of hair. It was so much that I wouln't comb my hair in front of anybody; it was just too embarrasing. I made sure to clean up the floor before leaving the bathroom and wraped the fallen hairs in toilet tissue before discarding them. The treatment is extremly expensive and if you have type 3b hair like mine you would need to do your roots every 4 months. About a year after I had it done, there was a special on TV about it. It turns out I wasn't alone. 100's of women went through the same nightmare.

However, to be fair, I didn't do much research before getting the treatment done. I wen't to a good salon but don't think they had enough experience with the treatment; eventhought they had many pictures of clients who had it done. According to the research I've done afterwards, if the process is done correctly this should not happen to your hair. So if you are going to do it, do your homework and get the best of the best to work on your hair. Good luck with that. There is only a handfull of stylists in the US that actually do the process correctly. They have done training in Japan where the treatment originates from. You can go to and get a ton of helpfull information. If that site would've been around back then, this would have never happened to me.
For those of you thinking about doing it yourselves DON'T. There is alot more to it than you think. The whole chemistry of it is really complicated, and you may not see it at first, but eventually you will have permanent hair reduction. The treatment is never suposed to touch your scalp because it can cause permanent folicle damage. Causing the folicle to stop growing hair permanently. You can not use a small toothed come, and the come has to be a special one with no ridges between the teeth. Those sharp ridges distroy the scales that cover your hair, causing unrepairable damage. The training that the stylists receive from the companies selling the product in the US is Incorrect. For the stylist to perform the service correctly he needs to be an expert in chemicall straighting. He needs to understand the composition and chemistry of the hair, and have extensive education and experience with chemicals. And needs to have the right tools. Do not get it done at a salon where they tell you that two different stylists will be working on your hair. You will end up with different texture on both sides. Different hair requires different timing, different temperature, even different tension when flat ironing. If the flat iron is not used with the proper speep and tension, it will result in hair breakage. That is just a few of the things that can go wrong. And that is being done by a stylist. Imagine doing it yourself. If you really want all the details, go to The site is hosted by the number one TR stylist in North America.
It took over 2 years for my hair to recover. I had a bald spot in front of my head for a long time. I now have at least a third less hair than I used to. Thank God I had alot of hair to begin with. However I can no longer say I have thick hair. It does not look extremly thin, but when I touch the top of my head the density doesn't come close to what it used to be.
This was so not worth it. I regret it and would never do it again, even if it was with best expert. I have now learn how to make my hair perfectly straight even in high humidity. I looks shinier healthier and I have the option of wearing it curly if I want to. All you need is high quality products, and a high quality flat iron.
Remeber, your hair is your most important accesory. Don't take any chances with it.

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