Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Ogilvie Straightening & Japanese Straightening

Q: In August 2004, I had my hair straightened at my local salon. I am not sure what chemicals were used, but I do know that they first washed and conditioned my hair. Then they put on the straightening chemical and combed it through. After putting the chemical in, they made sure it was perfectly straight and put me under the dryer for a few minutes. Afterwards, they ran a flat iron through my hair and then treated it a 2nd time. In which they again flat-ironed my hair and completed the process. I do apologize if I had left out any particular steps.
The salon representative had advised me that my hair would remain straight for up to 6 to 9 months. Which it has been over a year now and my hair is wavy again with some strands (actually the bottom half) are still somewhat straight. Now for my question. I had purchased the OGILVIE straightening home kit and I came across that if you have had your hair previously straightened and the relaxers (or chemicals) used containing lye or hydroxides of lithium, potassium guandine, etc., that I am not to use the home treatment.
What I would like to know is can I use this straightening kit without damaging my hair to the put of making it fall out or should I just stick to a flat iron. I would love to go back to having straight hair and using the flat iron takes a long time with my long, thick hair and I would like to try this kit but I would like to have your advice before I attempt it. I do apologize for the lengthy email but I wanted to try to be specific. I hope this helps you in answering my question. Please help me! Thank you for your time.

A: First of all, thank you for being as informative as possible. Too often, people write in with questions and give only the sketchiest information, which usually requires a lot of assumptions when trying to advise them.
Particularly, in situations like this, when someone is asking about interactions between previous treatments and proposed treatments it's important to know exactly what process was used. To do this, I look for key words and phrases to help me identify the process. I am reasonably certain that the process you had done to initially straighten your hair was a thermal restructuring process, also referred to as Japanese Hair Straightening since the process was invented by a Japanese stylist. The process is multi-staged and takes a number of hours to complete. It is also fairly expensive.
However, since at no point did you use any terms that would verify the process for me, I cannot be 100% certain. I know from research that using the Ogilvie straightener on hair that has been treated with the Japanese Straightening process is safe, and that many women have been delighted with the results of the Ogilvie kit. If you know that the process you had done was indeed the Japanese Straightening, you can feel comfortable following up with the Ogilvie Straightener.
If you don't know whether or not it was the Japanese process (also known as thermal restructuring, thermal reconditioning, etc.) or if you know that this was not the process used, the do not use the Ogilvie product until you have spoken with the salon where you had the initial treatment done to verify the chemicals that were used. Once you know that your hair has not been treated with lye or hydroxides, you can feel safe using the Ogilvie product.
I'm sorry I cannot give you a simple "yes or no" answer, but I'm sure you will agree that it is always better to err on the side of caution, particularly given the severity of the possible damage to your hair.
Related posts:
Thermal Restructuring
Permanent hair straightening
Can I use Ogilvie's Hair Straightener Home Kit on hair relaxed with the Revlon Creme Relaxer?