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La Jolla Mom - Japanese Hair Straightening: What It Is & Where To Go In San Diego

Japanese Hair Straightening: What It Is And Where To Find It In San Diego

Japanese Hair Straightening in San Diego

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 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

I’m going to try Moda Salon. The second time I had my hair straightened at Hair Delight proved to be a waste of money. It fell completely out after a month and now my hair is dry.

Where do you go in San Diego for Japanese hair straightening? What products do you use to maintain it? I’d love to know.

  • Dulce Estrella - January 15, 2015

    I'm looking for a place that does Japanese straightening in San Diego. I did it for 3 years in Japan and loved it. All you have to use is sulfate free shampoos and conditioners. I did Brazilian before moving to Japan and there's no way I would ever do Brazilian. Brazilian burned my hair and it was gummy, very expensive and had to use super expensive products Moraccon shampoo, conditioner and oil. Any advice where to go here? They should take more than 3 hrs. Either.

    • La Jolla Mom - January 16, 2015

      I’m about to try Moda in Clairemont. I’ve been putting it off forever and am long overdue. Will definitely update when it’s done in a few weeks!

  • Sparty - November 10, 2014

    I am also a veteran of Asian straightening (Korea, 10+ years ago) and have been unable to replicate the results upon moving to San Diego 3 years ago. Have you tried LA Koreatown salons?

  • Kelly Doyle - July 14, 2014

    Posting to include my email.

  • Tana - October 9, 2013

    If i’m not too worried about the “straightening effect” would you say the Brazilian one is much more “healthier” alternative compared to YUKO that uses more chemicals so it’s more damaging?

    Thank you

  • Mia - September 24, 2013

    Hi Katie, I love your blog! I really appreciate your reviews. You have great taste and standards, so I know when I read a review from La Jolla Mom, it’s something I definitely want to check out. I’m super picky about my hair as well and have only had the hair straightening treatments in Asia (they were great!) My hair is frizzy and wavy and I really don’t want it to get burned (which has happened) but I want it to last for longer than a month at the same time (doesn’t quite happen with the Keratin treatments, in my humble opinion). Just curious, how is your hair now? Did the treatment last? Have you gone back to Hair Delight? I would like to check out Hair Delight but was a little alarmed by all the negative yelp reviews. Based off of the picture though, your hair turned out great! Thanks in advance for your feedback. :-)

    • La Jolla Mom - September 25, 2013

      Hi Mia! My hair is hitting the point where it needs another straightening. It never got fully pin straight but I have a theory that it could be because we have a salt-based waters softener. I’m wondering if that’s why it’s still a little bit wavy after I get Japanese Hair Straightening. I will go back to Hair Delight because, in my case, the results are no different than the salon I paid almost 2x. Hair Delight did take much longer though, so there’s a trade-off. I’m optimistic though that it will take less time next time, now that they know how thick my hair is (I’ll go back in the next few weeks, hopefully and post an update). I, too, was nervous about the Yelp reviews.

      • Mia - November 13, 2013

        Thanks for the update, Katie! I am a huge fan and love reading your blog. I can’t wait to hear about your hair update. Have you gone back yet to get your hair straightened at Hair Delight? I still haven’t gone yet but with travel and holidays, I’m thinking it’s a good idea. (I hate traveling with a hair dryer/flat iron and spending hours on my hair.) I’m a little worried about the whole 2-3 days without washing it though (after it’s initially treated). Did you notice if your hair smelled burnt or like chemicals? Thanks again! And please do keep us posted more on your beauty regiments/products/things you try! :-)

  • Mai Bateson - June 29, 2013

    Great find :) Thanks for sharing! I am an Asian girl that is so obsess in having my hair super straight (mine is a bit wavy). I’m currently here in the Philippines and it’s super cheap here. My worry is when I get to US (Beaumont, CA) and live with my hubby, I don’t know where to go in case it goes to being wavy again and this is a good start! Thanks for sharing.

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I'm Katie Dillon, a freelance luxury travel writer who lives in seaside La Jolla, CA. This is where I document my recent trips around the world, the latest San Diego happenings and other fun lifestyle topics. Thanks for stopping by!

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