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Great Hair 2012: Where to Straighten Your Hair in Washington
Comments () | Published August 22, 2012

Everything Old Is New

Even as new temporary treatments hit the market, many women rely on the permanent gold standard: Japanese hair-straightening.

“My clients still choose this method because it doesn’t wash out over a few months and you don’t have to do anything at home to have straight hair,” says Akiko Yoshihara of Georgetown’s Ozuki Salon, which specializes in Japanese hair treatments.

Also called thermal reconditioning, this straightening option was introduced in the US in 1998 and relies on Cosmetic Ingredient Review-approved ammonium thioglycolate.

Hair is saturated with a solution containing a chemical that breaks the bonds giving each strand its shape; after that, it’s rinsed, blow-dried, and painstakingly flatironed. Once a neutralizer is applied, the hair is permanently straightened, like a perm in reverse.

“People often think that Japanese straightening can only make hair stick-straight, but an experienced stylist can control the level of straightening and leave in some texture and volume,” says Yoshihara.

The process can take more than four hours, depending on the thickness, texture, and length of hair, and can cost $250 or more.

Once the treatment is over, hair is the very definition of wash-and-wear—smooth, straight, and frizz-free even after air-drying. Many people can go a full year without a touchup, but those with kinkier hair should schedule appointments every six to eight months to treat hair that’s grown out.

Keep in mind that the only way to return hair to its natural curl is by waiting for it to grow out completely. Because it contains chemicals that can damage hair, it’s not a good choice for those with very blond, bleached hair or with highlights that cover more than half of the hair.

“You’re weakening the hair bond with a chemical, so it is damaging, especially for someone whose hair is already dry and damaged,” says Yoshihara. “But using a flatiron every day is a lot worse for your hair than getting one of these treatments.”

Where to Straighten Your Hair

These salons are recommended for each type of hair straightening.

Nano Keratin

Manuel Salon. Favored by the embassy set, Venezuelan export Manuel Solorzano has been taming high-maintenance hair for more than 25 years. He is complimented as much for his cut and color abilities as for his straightening. Treatment starts at $400. 3256 Jones Ct., NW; 202-965-0484.

Studio 355 Hair & Day Spa. Frizz-fighter Paul Lochard has been in the business a long time: He started his career in Washington cutting with Nancy Reagan’s mane man, Robin Weir. Treatment starts at $350. 11755 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda; 301-230-2929.

Yuko Anti-Frizz

Christie Adam Salon & Spa. Nora Battey and Mirian Sell preserve curls and waves but virtually wipe out flyaways, so locks require considerably fewer products and less maintenance. Treatment starts at $350. 1025-F Seneca Rd., Great Falls; 703-430-4800.

Roche Salon. Roche was an early adopter of Yuko Anti-Frizz, and it also maintains a loyal clientele for Yuko permanent straightening (similar to Japanese straightening). Expert stylist Ruth Harper offers both. Treatment starts at $300. 3000 K St., NW, 202-775-0775; 1624 I St., NW, 202-887-8150.

Salon Rafik. After 30 years of styling, owner Rafik Gregorian performs most of the Yuko Anti-Frizz treatments himself after a consultation to review your texture, styling habits, and goals. Starts at $200. 3307 M St., NW; 202-965-4000.

Japanese Straightening

Inari Salon & Spa. The resident smoothing stylist, Dana Hirankit, carefully evaluates each strand and discusses all the pros and cons of treatment before you commit to this or any of her other straightening alternatives. Starts at $550. 1425 K St., NW; 202-898-6350.

Japanese Hair Straightening Salon. Straightening expert Jian Huang has amassed a following of formerly curly-haired converts thanks to his customized approach, follow-up (he’s been known to check in with clients a week after treatment to make sure they’re happy with their results), and bargain rates (shoulder-length hair runs $250). 9547 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax; 703-939-2830.

Ozuki Salon. As the area’s only salon specializing in Japanese-style cuts and treatments, Ozuki is a home away from home for many Asian transplants—as well as those who just want sleek, smooth locks. Treatment starts at $500. 1025 Thomas Jefferson St., NW; 202-342-7591.

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  • stacey

    I have been a client of Samantha’s for about 10 years. Her new salon is warm, cozy, relaxing AND has
    free WIFI. Her clientele is diverse
    which always leads to interesting discussions and at times, fabulous business
    and personal advice. Sam has made me a
    blond, brunette and a few shades in-between…never disappointing. She provides great cuts and is never overly
    “scissor happy.” I have had blowouts and
    wet sets depending on the look I was trying to achieve and she is the ONLY
    PERSON I would ever allow to give me a Brazilian Keratin treatment…and it
    turned out great! I have never met a stylist who is a perfectionist
    like her. For many years I had trouble
    finding someone who understood my texture of hair so when I meet her I finally
    just exhaled in happiness. In my opinion
    Sam functions and excels from 2 premises….her client’s happiness and more
    importantly, her clients having healthy hair. I recommend her without
    hesitation.

  • There's been lots of misinformation about the Brazilian Keratin Treatments, especially on 'natural' and chemically relaxed hair. While it will loosens the curl pattern and removes frizz from humidity or work-outs, it will not completely straighten the hair. Also, on chemically relaxed hair, the keratin treatment needs at least a two-week window before doing this procedure. One important caveat, is ensuring clients use SULPHATE-FREE shampoos and conditioners with Brazilian Keratin treatments. Regular shampoos will remove the keratin treatments from the hair - an expensive mistake to make!

  • That was the old Brazilian keratin formula. The new one takes way less time. has no formaldehyde and can be washed the same day.

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