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Difference Between Japanese and Brazilian Hair Straightening

hair-styleJapanese vs Brazilian Hair Straightening

Over the years, hairstyles have become as fashionable as clothes. Whenever a new, outstanding hair treatment technology comes out, almost every woman gets an appointment with her stylist to try it out. Two hair treatment technologies which have become popular are Japanese and Brazilian hair straightening. What’s the difference between the two? That is exactly what we will try to discover here.

First, there’s Japanese hair straightening. Its other names are thermal reconditioning or Yuko, and the process was created by Japanese hair expert Yoko Yamashita. Japanese hair straightening was granted a patent in its home country in 1995, after which the method spread to other parts of the world.

With Japanese hair straightening, human hair is permanently straightened with chemicals. The hair is first separated into sections, then each section is ironed, rinsed and blow-dried. Depending on the hair length and thickness, Japanese hair straightening can last anywhere from one to eight hours. Once straightened, hair will not go back to its frizzy or curly form, although any new hair growth will maintain the natural texture of your hair.

But how does Japanese hair straightening differ from Brazilian hair straightening? Also known as Brazilian Keratin treatment or Keratin complex treatment, this is a straightening procedure with Keratin as a primary ingredient. Keratin is a tough protein which can be found in hair, nails and skin.

Unlike Japanese hair straightening which results to stick-straight locks, Brazilian hair straightening primarily prevents frizz while allowing the hair to wave, curl or become stick-straight. Also, unlike Japanese hair straightening which has permanent results, Brazilian hair straightening only lasts from eight weeks to about four months.

Another difference between the two is that with Brazilian hair straightening, the protein keratin formula is infused into freshly washed hair using heat. With Japanese hair straightening, the cuticle or the bond of hair is changed but not with Brazilian hair straightening. What happens instead is that the cuticle is smoothened out, hair damage is repaired and hair becomes stronger, more flexible and more manageable.

When deciding which among the two treatments you should undergo, it is always best to consult your stylist. The appropriate straightening treatment for you is one that will best suit the thickness, texture and natural condition of your hair.

Summary:

1.Japanese hair straightening is also known as thermal reconditioning or Yuko while Brazilian hair straightening is also known as Brazilian Keratin treatment or Keratin complex treatment.
2.Japanese hair straightening changes the internal bond of human hair while Brazilian hair straightening does not, it only smoothens out the cuticle and repairs hair damage.
3.Japanese hair straightening produces permanent results while Brazilian hair straightening lasts for two weeks to four months.


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12 Comments

  1. Good work… liked the article. . . looking for more posts .

  2. Thanks for the great article. I have been looking into getting my hair done and was unsure what the difference between all of the different treatments actually was. This article definitely cleared things up for me. I have long, curly hair. I think I may go with the Brazilian just because it sounds a lot more healthier for my hair.

  3. Good work… liked the article. . . looking for more posts .

  4. This is a great article. There is always confusion between Japanese Straightening and Brazilian Straightening Techniques. Thank you for the clarification.

  5. This is a great article. There is always confusion between Japanese Straightening and Brazilian Straightening Techniques. Thank you for the clarification. There are many people researching this topic. Keep up the good work!

  6. Great explanation! Im 43 and have dark long hair. I’ve had the Yuko system done for years now and my hair is the healthiest its ever been. My hair is so shiney that I get compliments on it all the time. Blow drying time is more than half the time then it use to be and my hair is more manageable than ever. Ive seen the brazilian done on my friends hair and it doesn’t compare. It washed out too fast and she had to wait four days to wash it as oppose to 2 days with yuko. Although when getting the yuko done, .. one must go to a reputable stylist. Because of yuko I’ll never have any fuss or muss with my hair. Through humidity and rain my hair never frizzes.. even my bangs go back to place if they get wet. Its worth the money for the permanent look as oppose to the short term look with the brazilian which doesnt compare anyway. I pay one good time for yuko while others pay over and over again throughout the year for the brazilian blowout. I dont have the time or the money for that. Good luck.

  7. NICE ARTICLE- I RECENTLY HAD MY HAIR STRAIGHTEN BY EXCLUSIVE LENGTHS SALON IN TEANECK NJ- THEY ALSO GAVE ME SOME EDUCATION AND WERE GREAT- I LOVE MY NEW STRAIGHT HAIR!! I WENT FOR THE JAPANESE STRAIGHTNING PROCESS, IT TOOK ABOUT 3 HOURS. MY HAIR IS VERY STRAIGHT- I DID NOT GO FOR THE OTHER PROCESS BECAUSE I NEEDED A MORE PERMANENT PROCESS.

  8. I have to agree with the two ladies above. Thermal reconditioning has gotten a bad rap since keratin treatments became all the rage, and maybe thermals have fallen out of a favor a bit. I’ve had even salon people from all kinds of salons tell me keratin is way better less damaging, it’s actually healthy for hair, that I’ll never go back to thermal once I do keratin, etc. Well, i totally disagree. I had thermal done for years and years (like 2006-2010) and I decided to stop and try to grow it out a bit only for a change and because I moved and couldn’t find a good thermal person in my new town. But I loved my thermals. My hair is very thin and fine, despite the curl (more like fluff), so it would get pin straight and extremely fine, but the look worked for me. Curls dont look good on me. My hair never seemed that damaged by it. I got regular trims. No more damaged than curls were.

    Well, I tried keratin treatment three times, at three different salons, really wanting to like it, because everyone raves about it and the shine and smoothness, and I thought gee, if I could keep some waves and still get shine and no frizz, that’d be cool. But ALL THREE TIMES my hair got WAY more damaged than it ever did with thermals. Different salons, different products, different stylists. Always the same. Lots of breakage–short broken pieces sticking up all over my head and around my hairlines, ranging from an inch to five inches (my hair length is down to my armpits). Definitely breakage, the broken little pieces falling all over my sink when I comb or brush or run my fingers through. Awful! And continuing to fall out heavily and break off. My hair HATES keratin. And I tried different ones too, supposedly formaldehyde frer the last 2 times.

    I think for me it is the HOT IRON that does it. The iron is much hotter for keratin than it is for thermals. My hair seems to handle thermal chemicals OK, but it CANNOT handle a 450-degree iron burning that stuff into my hair! That is why my hair breaks. Plus too much protein can make your hair break. My theory–and I am taking the time to say this because I NEVER read it anywhere and I think that women need to know this–is that keratin is good for thick, healthy hair. On those people it makes hair shiny and have body, and their hair can handle the heat. But if your hair is fine and/or dry (or worse, fine AND dry), FORGET IT! I REPEAT: Fine hair, dry hair, damaged hair CANNOT HANDLE KERATIN! The steaming iron will dry your hair off. Screw the “healing” keratin, the heat will kill you.

    Oh and PS, it DIDN’T straighten my hair! (All that damage and no results!) if you have stubborn vurls (like I do, despite the fine texture), IT WILL NOT STRAIGHTEN. You will have keratin coated CURLS with somewhat less frizz. If you want that, great. If you want STRAIGHT HAIR, go for the thermal. The thermal lasts forever and you only have to deal with new growth. The keratin WASHES OUT. And on me, it washes out FAST–by a month, nothing is left. (And I don’t even shampoo that much! But I work out a lot–the sweat my be the culprit.) And it’s NOT much cheaper than thermal.

    I plan to go back to thermals. It was a walk in the park re damage compared to keratin for me. Plus it actually worked.

    • You’re mistaken to say that keratin requires a 450F flat iron to apply–but you came by this info honestly because sadly, that’s the misinformation that has been prevalent in BKT training and literature.

      The truth is, keratin will work fine with any temp between 350 and 450. You’re correct that high flat iron temps can cause damage, and that’s why people with severe damage or fine hair or high-lift color should dial down.

      Also, it’s incorrect to say that keratin is best for healthy hair. It was originally created to restore hair that was badly damaged from relaxers, and it does a superb job of that. It’s just that as you say, certain types of hair cannot handle high temps and can be damaged if a bkt is done with excessive heat.

      See UNCURLY.com for more information on this topic. Uncurly is top professional quality keratin available on a DIY basis for those who want straighter, shinier, frizz-free hair lasting 3-5 months even in sweat or humidity, for $20-30 per treatment vs $200-500 in a salon.

  9. Brazilian hair straightening treatments (also called Brazilian Keratin Treatment, BKT, Brazilian Blowout, Escova Progressiva, Keratin Cure or Keratin Straightening) are a method of temporarily straightening hair by sealing a liquid keratin and a preservative solution into the hair with a hair iron in the United States. It has been banned in several countries including Canada and the European Union due to high concentrations of regulated chemicals in them.

  10. I believe each persons experience is different and it’s just a matter of preference . I used to get up in the morning looking at my frizzed out hair having to go to the salon to get it Washed, Dryed and Styled. I’ve heard of the Brazilian and the Japanese straightening methods and wanted to try it.
    Because the Brazilian was temporary, I figured I would try that first. I absolutely loved it. I was told it would only last a few weeks to two months and I would need a touch-up and I was okay with that because I for one like to go to the salon to get my hair done. After three months, i havent been to my stylist and my hair was still straight, no frizz. I wanted a hair cut and went back. Along with my haircut, I decided to do the Brazilian again thinking the Brazilian was going to wear off and I didn’t want to take any chances, because I loved my straight hair look. just the same, my hair looked awesome.
    I had to move to Northern Calif and it’s been 8 months since I had my Brazilian and my hair is still straight and no frizz. Case in point, the Brazilian lasts longer than 3 months for me

    My sister did the Japanese method 8 months ago and her hair is straight, no frizz but she’s unhappy and wants to do the Brazilian and is afraid fearing her hair might fall off cause of all the chemicals that was put in her hair. She was told to wait one year. My question would be,” How long after the Japanese method can you convert safely to the Brazilian method?

    Either way, whatever you decide, you’ll continue to go to the salon and get your hair done, it just depends on what you like and what you want to put in your hair and what your hair can tolerate. If your like me, I love my hair and will continue to do new styles and new looks.

    The only negative comment about my Brazilian was from my stylist in that I’m not coming to see her as much as I used too. Smile and Good luck with whatever you decide.

  11. Katherine~
    Your experience is something we hear a lot–that on many people, Brazilian Keratin DOES last longer than 3 months. The bottom line is that each head responds to it uniquely, AND that the effects are cumulative such that successive treatments generally last longer. The shortest-lived treatment will usually be the first.

    With regard to your question about how long to wait before converting from Japanese thermal reconditioning to Brazilian keratin, there is no need to wait at all. Brazilian keratin was actually pioneered to revive/restore hair that had been damaged by chemical relaxing. Because it does not break bonds, it will not damage the Japanese-straightened hair.

    For what it’s worth, Brazilian keratin itself will not and cannot damage or break your hair. Any damage done, which is rare, will come from two sources: 1) excessively high flat iron temperature and 2) the inclusion of chemical relaxers in something claiming to be a keratin treatment that really isn’t.

    While 450F has long been touted as the essential flat iron temperature for a keratin treatment, the truth is that anywhere between 350 and 450 will work. Higher temperatures make for faster work because fewer passes with the flat iron are needed to seal the keratin to the hair. But for extremely delicate/damaged hair, or hair with high lift color, lower temperatures may be needed; common sense will tell you as you work.

    As for the inclusion of bond-breaking chemical relaxers, this was what happened with Suave’s Keratin Infusion fiasco. They included a sodium hydroxide relaxer in their product, which, when used on the hair of someone who’d already had ammonium thioglycolate relaxer performed, would cause the hair to disintegrate and break off. It’s true that some salons will apply and instantly remove a sodium hydroxide relaxer on super resistant hair (such as certain types of AA or hispanic hair) prior to applying Brazilian keratin, but this is done only to open the cuticle and make it more available for keratin particles to deposit. And when it’s done, its often limited to cases where the client wants a super-straight look, as opposed to retaining some of the curl pattern. In general, most of us have enough natural roughness in the cuticle, or enough damage to it from relaxers or hair color, to make that step unnecessary.

    Finally, I want to say this: for many, Brazilian keratin is a true miracle: ease of straightening, versatility to wear it straight or curly, superb resistance to frizz from humidity/sweat, repair of damage, strengthening against breakage, soft/smooth hand feel, prolongation of hair color. Nothing else has worked for many of us. But many are kept from using it because of the extreme expense of a salon treatment ($200-500) and because there are no working DIY treatments.

    Uncurly.com was founded to make the absolute best salon-quality available and affordable to anyone who wants straighter, shinier, frizz-free hair lasting 3-5 for about $20-30 per treatment. The Uncurly motto is true: “If you can wash, dry, and iron, you’re overqualified.”

    Our website walks you through this easy process and discusses the advantages of doing your own keratin, answers FAQs, and makes us available to respond to individual questions. We look forward to hearing from you. UNCURLY.com

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