The salon is NALU Hair Salon in Omotesando and yes, they have employees who speak English!
I did Japanese permanent hair straightening, aka thermal reconditioning, in mid-September. How it works is:
Your hair shaft has two types of bonds that contribute to its shape. Hydrogen bonds, and disulphide bonds. Hydrogen bonds change your hair shape temporarily and can be affected by moisture and heat, hence frizzy hair on humid days and curling or straightening with flat irons. Disulphide bonds are very strong and maintain a permanent shape, unless you break them apart with chemicals.
Japanese permanent hair straightening uses a chemical to break apart those bonds. The stylist then straightens the hair with an iron, setting the shape you what your hair to maintain, and then reseals the bonds with another chemical, permanently locking your hair into that new shape.
This salon in particular also adds a treatment to the hair before resealing it to keep it as moisturized, soft, and silky as possible.
You’re not supposed to do it if your hair has been dyed a lot since it can damage the hair, so not everyone is able to get this type of straight perm. Before this I had only ever done one salon treatment, never colored my hair, and very rarely even straightened or blow dried it. But my frizz was crazy! I’ve had exactly zero issues with frizz in the two months since getting the straight perm.
You can also choose levels of how straight you want your hair to be. Since I have bangs I wanted those to look more natural rather than be perfectly straight, so they didn’t apply the full strength treatment there.
I am still able to do some temporary hair curling (via those hydrogen bonds), although it really doesn’t stay for any significant length of time at all. If I let me hair dry in a braid it will still come out a bit wavy, but not as wavy as before, and it doesn’t last as long. And since I do tuck my hair behind my ears almost all the time, the little wispy hair there now retains that behind-the-ear curl shape.
If you’re curious about the chemistry behind how this works, here are some links explaining it more in depth!
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