straight hair perm

On Our Radars: The Straight Perm

Are you ready to commit to a different everyday styling routine?

The straight perm, a.k.a. Japanese hair straightening, thermal reconditioning, or “rebonding,” is a technique that’s been around for years. It gained ground in the U.S. during the late 1990s to early Noughts, when the minimalist/long, poker-straight look became all the rage. It was touted as the go-to treatment if you had wavy, curly, or frizzy/all-around unmanageable hair and wanted a bone-straight look. Keep reading to learn how a straight perm works:

The Straight Perm: How it Works

straight perm asian relaxed
Thermal reconditioning can be administered on many hair types, including Asian and natural hair. Photo credit:

As the name suggests, the technique involves permanently straightening your existing strands via a cocktail of chemicals applied onto the hair, and then following up with heat, typically using a flat iron. This process allows hair to rebond from its previous bond structure (visualize a spiral staircase) into a straighter structure. That said, the straight perm is, in essence, damaging to the hair strand. Clients are advised not to color their hair or do any other chemical processing while their hair is thermally rebonded. They also need to be diligent with conditioning afterward.

The results

Thermally reconditioned or “straight permed” hair has a stick-straight, yet natural-looking finish. So if you’re ready to commit to a straight-hair look 24/7 for the next three months or so (or less, if your regrowth is completely curly), then this can absolutely be a good option. Otherwise, it’s best to stick to less-permanent straightening treatments, like a Brazilian blowout. It’s more for smoothening and frizz-proofing the hair. The results will last less than 12 weeks depending on your texture and lifestyle.

straight perm black hair
Straight-permed hair holds its shape regardless of how you style it, and withstands weather changes. Photo credit:

Reputable salons may also advise you to not wash, tuck or tie hair for up to 72 hours after the procedure to avoid any bends forming while the chemicals are settling into the strand. After this initial no-wash, no-touch window has passed, you can look forward to relentlessly smooth, straight hair regardless of however you style it—your hair retains the shape it was chemically rebonded into until new growth comes in.

Cost per wear

The average U.S. cost for a straight perm service is typically upwards of $150, which isn’t chump change. However, those considering a straight perm will find that they’re getting a lot of bang for their buck, as straight hairstyles are one of the classic, seasonless looks that are pretty much in fashion year after year. They’re also easier to manage than more textured looks particularly in this rebonded state, where oils and sebum can easily coat the hair strand root to tip. It also makes everyday styling easier and more convenient, and definitely less time-consuming.

An everyday alternative

Those who crave similar results but are gun-shy of the damage can opt for a less intense solution. Shampoo and conditioner duos that maintain straight styles are a good alternative. Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Argan Oil &. Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner calm your frizz and will extend the life of the straight style you create after washing.

If you’ve already washed your hair and want to go the distance with your straight style, use a leave-in conditioner. Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Argan Oil & Lavender Leave-In Smoothie Cream will continue to maintain frizz and give your hair a shine boost between washes.

Consider this as an everyday alternative if you aren’t ready to take the leap into a permanent straightening option.

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