So, I've read about a new straightening system to rival the Japanese Straighteners (or TR): Brazilian Straightening. I have a feeling this may be the faster, less expensive straightening service some salons are offering as Japanese Straightening, since both require the use of a flat iron, but Brazilian Straightening is a much faster process at about half the price of Japanese Straightening. It also produces similar (some say better) results. Brazilian Straightening, however, is not permanent. It lasts 2 to 3 months and runs in the $250 - $450 range depending on the salon.
A word about Brazilian Straightening: there is some controversy with regard to the health effects as the Brazilian Straightening uses a chemical mix-up of Keratin (conditioning protein) and Formaldehyde (classified as “a probable carcinogen” by the EPA). Some manufacturers can be trusted to use only the acceptable ratio of formaldehyde in their systems (2 parts per million during a 15-minute episode in an airborne environment) while others are not ("some companies are purported to be pushing Brazilian brews with formaldehyde content at the 30-percent mark" according to an article by A.K. Sterling). It is important for stylists to be aware of these companies and research their products, especially considering a company can state their product is "within FDA guidelines" when the FDA does not regulate cosmetics.
Personally, I will be doing more research on this straightening system. It is a much faster process than regular Thermal Reconditioning, it produces results much like TR but not as permanent (hair reverts back to curly after about 3 months) and it claims to be completely non-damaging because it does not break down the hairs natural bonds. According to Mark Garrison, of New York City’s Mark Garrison Salon, thick, coarse, fuzzy hair was instantly transformed into glossy, smooth hair. Frizz disappeared, and his staff’s blow-dry time was cut in half. He says " it gives this crazy shine to the hair, leaving a very reflective surface.” and the product can be used on color treated hair.
Formaldehyde is nothing new to the salon industry and with proper product research by your stylist on the suppliers of this new treatment clients should now have a quicker and less expensive (though less permanent) alternative to the Japanese Thermal Reconditioning service.
Looks like I have some homework to do!