This is part two of the Japanese Hair Salon series. If you missed part one it’s here. In this post I’m going to talk about perms, treatments and extensions inside Hair Salons in Japan from Tokyo to Osaka to Nagoya. I’m going to go over basically what they mean and types so you can feel confident going into a hair salon in Japan. You can also click the hair category of Universal-Doll and find hair tutorials, haircare reviews, and other information.
Japanese Hair Salon 101 Series
Part one: Salon differences, charges and haircut & color terms
Part two: Perms, extensions and treatment types
Part three: Popular treatment types with reviews
Part four: Booking a salon on Hot Pepper step by step
Examples by Japanese hair salons labeled as gal style with perms on hotpepper.
Perms (パーマ) are wildly popular in Japan so of course they’re at all Japanese Hair Salons. It’s not just gyaru, but all types get perms. There are several types of perms and I’m going to break them down and tell you what you should expect from getting each type.
digital perm (デジタルパーマ sometimes shortened to デジパ) – Digital perms are very popular in Japan. Your hair is curled using rods that plug into a device and are heated. The chemicals thermally recondition the hair making it shinier and smoother. It’s supposed to mimic a curling iron type of wave. It’s not like a Western cold perm. Instead of water activating the curl, heat is supposed to. Blow-dry styling by twisting the hair is way to truly get the full results. The curl is said to last 3 months, but in my experience it more like 2. The wave is still apparent but you lose the true curl shape. I’ve gotten one done and will show pictures in the straight-curl section.
water perm (水パーマ) – Now in the Western haircare industry there’s talks of using curlers and steam and perming your hair for a few days and calling it a “water perm”, that is not what I’m talking about. Water perms use steam to breakdown the cuticle of your hair so the solution can permeate deeper into your head and the perm can last longer. Water perms are said to last longer than digital perms, but they are more damaging.
straight perm (縮毛矯正 | しゅくもうきょうせい or ストレートパーマ) – A perm solution is applied to your hair and then a hot iron is applied. Two setting agents are used to lock in the straightness. Strands are tugged on to check the straightness throughout. Not as flattening in my experience compared to Western straight perms in Asian salons. Thermally reconditions hair to make it shinier and smoother. Lasts for three months and then touch-ups are recommended to take care of growth.
straight curl (ストレートカール）- A new option in Japanese Hair salons. Combining the straight perm (ストレートパーマ) and the digital perm (デジタルパーマ) so there is no residual wave at the top of your hair. Lasts for three months and then touch-ups are recommended.
Before and after. Admittedly I got my hair dyed back to my original color before the right was taken.
The left is my hair without any styling or brushing just air dried. Wavy in some parts, straight in others. It’s an annoying mess. It was taken for another hair post, but it works here. My natural wave aka gaijin wave is not fun.
The right is my hair after a straight perm without the use of any heat or styling products. I woke up put on my make-up and took a selfie. I’m still in my pajamas in that pic actually. Derp not a side effect of haircare, just a way of life :wink:
So much change, I’m so happy I looked into and got a straight-curl.
CONS: Straight curl however you cannot have bleached your hair recently. Since they use a straight perm + digital it is damaging and Japan salons won’t allow it to work on bleached hair. They say it melts it. I did not think straight perms were that damaging. They cut my hair a little but more of a trim than anything shocking. Straightcurl is the best thing ever. A billion times recommended if you have hair like mine.
Extensions ( エクステ | Ekusute ) I have talked about this subject a lot. I’m going to just say the types and link back to my previous post. The three types of extensions you can get in Japan Hair Salons are Braiding (編み込み / あみこみ), Cold Fusion (超音波 / ちょうおんぱ) and Seal (シールエクステ). I discuss them all in my previous Extension post. There are however some terms used with extensions that I’ll define here and discuss some variations with extensions.
highlights / mesh (メッシュ) – Just like with regular hair extensionists can do highlights with any color you ask. Usually this is a free service to add another color, but it’s often only up to 10.
blonde charge – some salons charge extra for a full head of blonde extensions. In my experience this is more the case for Cold Fusion and Seal types.
extensions are measured two ways: grams and number (counter is hon本). So you may see: 100gまで付け放題￥14000. – UP to 100 grams of hair is 14000 yen. Or: 30本 - ￥9000 30 extensions 9000 yen.
Mostly with braiding type extensions salons offer a starting length. This length is the length of the hair itself but hair for braiding is folded in half so the length is not always the case. It’s best to ask with lengths how long can it go.
gradation extensions (グラデーションエクステ) – Some salons to deal with the gradation craze are now offering gradation extensions. These are usually braiding type only and they are pre-dyed gradation with top and bottom color set. So you either have to dye your hair to match or hope it matches.
Examples of mesh (highlights) and gradation extensions.
extension cut (エクステカット) – This is usually an extra charge not included in the price of extensions. Usually around 700 yen.
gold/platinum extensions – These are words salons use to fancy-up hair quality. It does not equal anything but the salons choice of words. Now a salon may have types silver-gold-platinum extension types and may believe silver the worst, platinum the best but it’s not a nationwide choice. Just fancy words.
remy hair (レミー) – Lately it seems a lot of salons are saying their hair is Remy. Which is considered the top grade in hair extensions and weaves overseas. Personally, I have serious doubts about Remy in Japan since the prices don’t match up.
hairset charge – After extensions are put in there is usually an extra charge if you would like your hair curled and styled.
removal charge – If you have current extensions and have not removed them salons usually charge to remove them. If you are going to the same salon you got your previous extensions done at removal is often free of charge.
If a salon doesn’t say type (braid, cold fusion or seal) it’s best to assume the price is for braiding.
Have you guys noticed gyaru hair has never looked healthier? Even with all the dying? A big part of that is treatments. There’s a much bigger emphasis on healthy shiny hair now in gyaru than ever.
Treatments (トリートメント) are a big boom in Japanese Hair Salons and definitely big in gyaru. BUT!!! Treatment is the biggest wiggle word on a Japanese Hair Salon menu. Treatment can be a billion things with a lot of fancy words in Japan haircare.
Treatments mostly boil down into two types: a salon-quality Deep Conditioner or a 6 step nano-care processes to make your hair healthy and shiny. The salon quality deep conditioner will make your hair feel really good for a wash or two. The multi-step types will reduce frizz and waves, increase shine and last for a month or two. The problem is they’re both called treatments and they’re really hard to decipher and get what you pay for on a menu. In the next post I’m going to break down the popular 6-step super treatment types with reviews. For now I’m going try to show how to tell whether you’re paying for a dollop of hair mask or the fancy stuff.
How to tell if you’re getting fancy treatment or just a really good deep conditioner:
The menu just says “treatment” and nothing descriptive: Chances are you’re just getting a deep conditioner.
It’s under 4,000 yen or not even a sole option. All fancy treatments are over 4,000 yen and some salons even specialize in the better ones. Many women go between haircuts just for a quality freshen-up treatment.
No steam is offered. Harder to check out, but fancier ones put you under a steam to open up the cuticle to deepen your treatment.
If it gives a name do a google webpage & image search on it. Does it have a lot of shampoo bottles? Chances are it’s a deep conditioning not a giant process.
Let’s check your treatment decoding skills! Real Japanese hair salon menu test!
Popular with gyaru Ankh Cross chain is offering 10,000 yen ($100 US) treatment, color and cut.
CHOOSE: Super fancy 6 step treatment or just a good deep conditioner?
Did you answer just a good deep conditioner? You’d be right. Reason 1) it just says “treatment” and Reason 2) color and cut are usually 10,000 yen so it wouldn’t cost enough to be a fancy one.
Fancy Shibuya salon “salon de MiLK -サロン ド ミルク-” offers a haircut and “Aujua” treatment for 5,250 yen ($55 US).
Popular model twins Ami and Aya get their hair done there and had the treatment.
CHOOSE: Super fancy 6 step treatment or just a good deep conditioner?
This is a harder one. But the answer is “just a good deep conditioner”. It has a fancy name, but the price is 5,250 for a cut AND treatment so… Reason 1) Haircuts usually cost 4,000 yen even with discounts so the treatment is definitely NOT 4,000 yen.
and Reason 2) the recommended google search leads to the Aujua webpage
and on that page you can see the only real step is just a fancy deep conditioner.
Dororthy in Shibuya offers the Inphenom Treatment. Good deep conditioner or the fancy one?
Did you choose fancy? You were right. Reason 1) 5 step – multi-step processes are key Reason 2) It says “nano steam” included
I’ll be reviewing this treatment as well as others in the next of the series! Hope you enjoyed part two!