Social Encore: Straightening it out

Sep. 19, 2013 | 1 Comment

The author getting her hair worked on by stylists Jason Victorino and his assistant, Sheldon Yamauchi. (Courtesy Jermel Quillopo)

The author getting her hair worked on by stylists Jason Victorino and his assistant, Sheldon Yamauchi. (Courtesy Jermel Quillopo)

BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

We can all feel the fall weather slowly creeping in. With the humidity and the heat working together, I swear my hair is feeling the torture. When I was younger, I had silky hair but I guess once I hit puberty, my hair changed. My mom thinks that I got my hair problems from my dad’s side of the family but whatever the case; there is always a beauty remedy that can help. To tame my mane, I Japanese straighten my hair each year.

I have been seeing my hair stylist for over eight years and there is no one else that I see when it comes my bizarre hair affair. Salon808 stylist Jason Victorino gave me the lowdown on what can help you straighten out your mane:

Flat Iron: Flat irons are styling tools that you can find pretty much everywhere. It all depends on the type of hair that you have and how fast you’d like to spend on your hair. There are flat irons that have narrow heating plates and there are some with thick heating plates. There are also flat irons that can heat up to 450 °F. The one thing that you must keep in mind when choosing a flat iron is that it should be ceramic. Ceramic flat irons help minimize damage to your hair and it helps repair damage hair follicles.

Japanese Straight Perming (aka Rebonding): Uses the same Thiol compounds, as regular permanents, to break the hair bonds. Except it requires several other steps. Including thermal ironing before using Protein bonds to neutralize.

PROS: The Protein acts as a sort of food for your hair to strengthen while it neutralizes. Results can lasts about 4 to 6 months depending on the upkeep.

CONS:This service is a lengthy process. Sometimes taking upwards of 4 hours to achieve desired results. It requires the use of Sulfate Free hair care products to ensure the life of your perm. Upon retouch of your perm, it is important not to overlap the previously permed hair as breakage will occur.

Applying the straightening solution. (Courtesy Jermel Quillopo)

Applying the straightening solution. (Courtesy Jermel Quillopo)

Straight Perms: it is similar to perming your hair curly except without the use of perm rods and requires gently combing the hair smooth while processing. Using Thiol compounds to temporarily break the bonds of the hair and reforming them using a neutralizer.

PROS: Lasts for 6 to 8 weeks

CONS: Requires the use of chemically safe hair care products to maintain the longevity of the permanent.

Anti Frizz aka Smoothing Treatments (aka Brazilian blow outs): These are very safe, a demi permanent process. Using a natural Keratin base formula to gently coat the hair shaft smoothing the hair and in turn reducing frizz. Brazilian Blowouts mostly help to minimize hair frizz. It creates hair to appear to be straight. This treatment results are only temporary.

PROS- Results can lasts anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks then the hair will return to its natural texture. This service is safe for use on chemically treated hair sealing shut the cuticles of the hair shaft leaving it feeling repaired and conditioned.

CONS: Requires only the use of Sulfate Free hair care products.

Relaxers: Relaxers and perms may seem like the same thing because the process is similar but the main differences are the chemicals that are used. Unlike perms, relaxers have a thicker solution and with a higher pH level. The higher the pH level, the higher the damage that it can cause your hair and usually that also means a shorter time frame for your stylist to work your hair, causing them to work quickly. Having a relaxer with a higher pH level also means a greater chance of having the chemicals damage your scalp.

After the long process of the Yuko Japanese straight perm. (Courtesy Jermel Quillopo)

After the long process of the Yuko Japanese straight perm. (Courtesy Jermel Quillopo)

PROS: The curls become much more submissive allowing for easy styling and conditioning.

CONS: If not done professionally, improper use of this product may cause breakage and severe scalp irritations within a few minuets of application. Due to the Hydroxide base, drying of the hair is eminent and therefore doesn’t make it compatible with any other form of straighteners.

When thinking of doing a Japanese Straightening treatment, here are the things that I think you should consider:

- Most treatments are over $300
- At minimum, treatments are 4 hours (all depends on the thickness of your hair) so dress comfortably, bring a book or something to keep you occupied and some snacks.
- This treatment is a chemical treatment, so it may damage your hair
- If you recently colored your hair but want a Japanese straightening treatment, the straightening chemicals may lighten your color
- Like any perm, you will have to touch your roots up. Ranges from 3 months to a year.

The reason that I have been doing Japanese straight perming year after year by Victorino is because I live a busy lifestyle. Constantly on the move, I don’t have the luxury of having a lot of time to get ready. With Japanese straightening, it cuts down the hassle of flat ironing my hair. Back in the day, it use to take me an hour and a half to do my hair but that was when flat irons were slowly making its way into the hair styling scene and that was without any Japanese straight perm help. I still have to style my hair with a flat iron after it dries. For some girls with Japanese straightening, all they would have to do is blow dry their hair and it is straight, it just all depends.

If you are thinking of getting your straight permed, here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a stylist:

- Shop around and don’t just settle for your regular stylist. Someone that specializes in perming will insure favorable results.
- Make sure you ask your stylist lots of questions.
- Know the history of your hair, ex: what you’ve done chemically to it (even if it has been years ago)
- Make sure your stylist has extensive knowledge on the perms he/she may offer.
- Be sure to purchase any after care products that your stylist may prescribe as this will secure the life of your perm and more importantly the integrity of your hair.

“It’s important to know that all straight perms require retouches from time to time but the life of your perm may vary due to how active the person is. Proper hair care products prescribed by your stylist will ensure the longevity of your straight perm,” said Victorino.

If you are wondering why the process of Japanese straight perming takes so long, here is a video of me having it done:

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Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.

  • Ron the gong player

    Thanks for the straight skinny on this. As a long haired dude I learned a lot.