Q: What's the difference between hair re-bonding and regular hair straightening? Can genetically curly hair be straightened
permanently with re-bonding?
A: The basic theories between traditional chemical straightening and “re-bonding” are the same: the hair is exposed to chemicals which
break the disulfide bonds of the hair allowing the curl to be drawn out of the hair. The hair is then neutralized to reform the
disulfide bonds in the new, straighter configuration. The differences lie in the specific chemicals used and the techniques involved.
With traditional services the process is basically one of using thio-based solutions to break the
disulfide bonds and a comb to smooth out the curls in the hair. Then a hydrogen peroxide based neutralizer is used to reform the
disulfide bonds leaving the hair in a straighter wave pattern.
Re-bonding, thermal reconditioning, Japanese straightening - or any of the other terms used to
describe these new techniques – use a combination of chemicals for straightening and conditioning agents, along with thermal irons to
ensure a totally straight result. The process is much more labor intensive, but when done properly results in the hair shaft being left
in a sleek and smooth state, with the cuticle layer “bonded” into a closed position.
Another big difference is the result. With traditional straightening, you can achieve a straight
result, but the level of “perfect straightness” depends largely on the starting wave of the hair. With the newer techniques, you can end
up with “stick straight” hair that hangs sleek and smooth.
Finally there is cost. With a traditional straightening technique, you can expect to pay a fee
comparable to most permanent wave services. The formulas used are similar and the techniques are no more time intensive than wrapping a
perm. However, due to the amount of time involved (several hours in most cases) “re-bonding” and such intensive services can run you
from $450 and up depending on things like where you live and the length of your hair. In some cases, with longer than shoulder length
hair, these new processes have been known to cost as much as $1200 in the larger cities. (Be aware that part of this is due to
cost-of-living differences and partially due to the experience level of the stylists performing the service.)