Six Differences between Keratin Treatment and Japanese Hair Straightening

Last Updated on September 15, 2021 by Gaga

Hair straightening gives your hair a sleek, attractive look that’s always in style by reducing volume and taming coarse and hard-to-manage strands.

Styling unruly hair takes forever if you use a hair straightener and can be a daily hassle each morning. And, despite all the efforts, your style can be easily ruined by humid weather.

That is why more women are opting for chemical straightening techniques that make their hair straight and smooth for longer and dramatically cut down styling time.

unruly hair

Chemical treatments provide either permanent or semi-permanent effects. Two of the most popular chemical treatments include keratin straightening treatment and Japanese hair straightening, also known as thermal reconditioning.

However, there are significant differences between the two treatments. Let’s take a closer look at these differences.

easy to style straight hair

1. How Long Will the Treatment Last?

Japanese hair straightening makes your hair permanently pin-straight, while Brazilian keratin treatment provides temporary straightening effects.

Japanese straightening breaks your hair’s bonds and reshapes them making the strands perfectly straight until your hair grows. The new growth may have a different texture from the rest of your hair, and it can take six months or even longer between the treatments.

During the next treatment, your hairdresser will apply the treatment to the newly grown hair to eliminate the line of demarcation and get your strands evenly along the entire length.

On the other hand, keratin treatments do not change the internal structure of your hair. This treatment coats the porous surface of the hair fibers with keratin – the protein your hair is made of. This outer protein layer washes away over time, and the effects of the treatment gradually fade within about three months. Your stylist can reapply the treatment to the entire length of the hair.

2. What Results Can You Expect After the Treatment?

Thermal Reconditioning Produces Straighter Locks than Keratin Straightening

rebonded hair

After the thermal reconditioning service, there is no way to get your natural waves or curls back. Your newly grown natural hair and the hair that’s been straightened won’t match in texture. While treated hair doesn’t require much styling, these grown roots may require some attention over time to make the contrast less obvious.

With keratin treatments, any frizz will be tamed, making the hair smooth and shiny. You may need little styling with a hot brush to get a silkier finish. Since the effects fade gradually, there is no noticeable contrast between the treated and newly grown hair.

keratin straightened hair

The results of keratin treatments can vary depending on the straightening product, while Japanese straightening produces more straight effects and less variable results.

3. What Hair Types Will Benefit from the Treatment?

Keratin Treatments Suits more Hair Types and Conditions than Thermal Reconditioning 

To be suitable for Japanese straightening, your hair should be in good condition. Weak and brittle hair is also not a good fit. So, Hair that’s recently undergone another chemical treatment may not be able to withstand strong chemicals and high heat without serious damage. Bleached, relaxed, or permanently waved hair is not suitable for Japanese straightening.

When it comes to hair texture, Japanese straightening best suits wavy and moderately curly hair. People with tightly curly hair are not good candidates because the demarcation line between the straightened hair and the newly grown roots can be a problem.

Unlike thermal bonding, a keratin treatment can be applied to chemically treated hair. Keratin treatment can even temporarily fix damaged hair and make it look healthier. This treatment will most suit women who have problems with frizz or excessive hair volume, so it’s worth considering if you live in a high-humidity area. Finally, a keratin treatment is a good choice for very curly hair as it can loosen the curls and make them frizz-free and shiny. 

Both types of treatments are not recommended for individuals with thinning hair that lacks volume. In any case, you should consult a professional who will determine the condition of your hair and suggest the best treatment option.

4. The Differences Between the Two Processes of Hair Straightening

Japanese Hair Straightening is More Labor and Time-Intensive than Brazilian Keratin Treatments

Depending on the density and length of your hair, Japanese hair straightening can take up to 5 hours, sometimes even longer. Your stylist will apply a special solution to break bonds that give shape to the hair. When the solution is washed out, the hair is blow-dried and straightened with a hot flat iron to create a pin-straight look.

Your stylist then will apply a neutralizer to balance the pH of your hair and lock in the newly achieved straight look. After rinsing the neutralizer, the hair is conditioned, rinsed, and blow-dried again.

Depending on the hair type and the straightening product, keratin treatments take between 90 minutes and 3 hours. Your stylist will apply the Keratin treatment formula to clarified and sectioned hair and leave it to sit for about 30 minutes.

The hair is then blow-dried and straightened with a brush until it’s completely dry. In the next stage, your stylist will use a titanium flat iron set at high temperature to seal the treatment into hair. Your stylist then will wash your hair and blow-dry it.

5. Which Treatment is More Likely to Cause Damage?

Japanese Hair Straightening is More Invasive than Keratin Straightening

Thermal reconditioning can seriously damage your hair if not done professionally. Because this method involves breaking hair bonds, weak hair is especially at risk of.

As keratin treatments do not change the internal structure of the hair, there is less risk of damage. However, keratin treatments have a bad reputation due to formaldehyde in straightening products that can irritate your eyes, skin, nose, and throat when combined with heat. To avoid these unpleasant side effects, choose a salon that uses formaldehyde-free keratin straightening products.

6. Post-Care Instructions

Japanese Straightening Requires Greater Precautions than Keratin Treatments

When you leave the salon with thermally reconditioned hair, the neutralizer will keep working for a while. It is essential to avoid getting your hair wet at least three days after the treatment.

After the waiting period, you can wash your hair using a shampoo designed for chemically treated hair. You’re also advised to wear your hair down for at least seven days.

After Japanese hair straightening, you can only wear your hair straight as it won’t hold curls or waves.

Traditional keratin treatments also involve a 72-hour waiting period to set properly. During that time, you should protect the hair from water and leave it down. However, if your hair accidentally gets wet, you should blow-dry and flatiron the affected strands.

Nowadays, many keratin straightening products don’t require a three-day waiting time and you can wash the hair soon after the treatment using only sulfate-free and salt-free shampoos and conditioners. Depending on the keratin straightening product and your original texture, you can wear straight hairstyles or waves and loose curls.


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