Imagine never having to blow dry or flat iron your hair again EVER. This is my reality thanks to Japanese hair straightening. I’ve been liberated from styling products and devices by doing it twice a year for 8+ years. It’s a technique I discovered while living in Hong Kong, because believe it or not, quite a few Asian women chemically straighten their hair.
Finding Japanese hair straightening in San Diego is a challenge and, to be honest, I haven’t been able to find someone to get it as pin straight as my Hong Kong salon (Private i, located in the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong), however, given the alternative of dealing with thick, unruly hair, I’m pretty happy with local results.
Salons In San Diego That Offer Japanese Hair Straightening
After two very expensive, but just OK, attempts at my prior local salon (with gratuity, it was around $600-650), I turned to the internet for help. Let me just clarify that I am not price sensitive for a job well done. I felt the quote I received from Diesel Salon in La Jolla was too steep given that I wasn’t sure they’d do a good job. I can’t explain it, but I just didn’t hang up with a good feeling, though I know plenty of people that go there.
Moda Salon, near Mitsuwa Marketplace, told me to come in for a hair consultation with no appointment necessary. I decided to stop in, but they were closed. It turns out they are closed on certain Mondays and failed to mention that, nor is there any mention of this online. That made me mad enough to strike them off the list because my time is valuable.
So, finally, I turned to another salon called Hair Delight in Clairemont. The fact that they could fit me in quickly combined with a promotional price of $350 sold me. A stylist with rave reviews on Yelp named Lana used to do Japanese hair straightening there, but I am not sure where she went.
About Hair Delight Salon
Hair Delight Salon isn’t fancy, but the only thing I care about is straight hair. I am not sure if it is family-run but it sort of feels that way based on the seemingly tight-knit relationships I observed between hair stylists and their clients.
Don was the poor soul tasked with taming my unruly mane. 100% of hair stylists underestimate the time it takes to cut, blow dry or straighten my hair. It doesn’t look like it, but I have a lot of hair.
The Hair Straightening Technique And Process
Don used the Yuko system. To be honest, in my discovery process I found it extremely difficult to get any stylist to explain the pros and cons of iStraight versus Yuko system or other systems. I threw in the towel there, too.
Don’s process was basically the same as all others. A chemical layer is painstakingly applied to each hair and allowed to sit. This takes the majority of the treatment. Hair is washed, blow dried and straightened by flat iron. Next a neutralizer is applied and washed off. Hair is blow dried again and any unruly hairs straightened again.
It took him 6 hours. I think now that he understands my hair, it won’t take as long next time. I normally average about 4-4.5 hours in the chair. However, I paid much less than normal so there’s a trade-off. And, he’s really nice. I worked on my iPad the entire time.
Caring For Japanese Hair Straightening
In Hong Kong, no one gave me care instructions. I even used Finesse shampoo and conditioner which probably is chock-full of chemicals and managed to maintain perfect hair. I am not sure if it’s the Yuko system or not, but Don suggests using paraben-free shampoo and conditioner for chemically treated or colored hair, which makes perfect sense.
I have tried a few versions of organic, fair trade shampoos and conditioners from Whole Foods and they don’t carry enough moisture. You’ll wreck your expensive hair by using products like this even if they are paraben-free or meant for dry or chemically treated hair. If you have a product you like, please share it in the comments.
The Bottom Line
Yes, I would go back to Hair Delight. No, my hair is not pin straight but I’ve given up on that. My hair is easier to manage, I use less shampoo and conditioner, and still don’t blow dry or style it at all.
Where do you go in San Diego for Japanese hair straightening? What products do you use to maintain it? I’d love to know.