The Journey For Straight Hair: Milbon Liscio Japanese Hair Straightening Review

My hair grows painstakingly slow at a speed worthy of snails racing.

That being said, I've developed this extreme phobia where I hate going to salons just because if anything goes wrong, I'm stuck with it FOR ALL ETERNITY.

With the history of what I've put my hair through, I'm surprised I still have any left on my head. Bleaching, straight perms, hair extensions, constant dyeing, daily flat ironing, curling.. I've committed almost every major hair sin! Although dyeing my hair has become now somewhat of a routine, it has taken a HUGE toll on the health of my hair. That on top of the fact that I have Asian hair that refuses to be straight. That's right, Asian hair that isn't straight. So what do wavy haired girls dream of? Beautiful straight, glossy hair! All those with beautiful straight hair are probably shaking their heads at me thinking they'd die for voluminous, curly, wavy hair. But hey, you want what you can't have!

Based on my previous experiences in getting straight perms, I was accustomed to a chemical process that took approximately spending 6 hours in the salon with a good majority of that time under those hot heat lamps. Afterwards, although my hair would finally be straight... It would also take a LOT of noticeable damage. Therefore, a good portion of my hair would be frizzy, and I would go back to the sinful routine of daily flat ironing the ends of my hair.

A couple years ago, I had hair extensions put in (yet again for the 3rd consecutive year..) but the salon refused to do the straightening perm on my hair because it was already way too damaged. Imagine, straight virgin Asian hair attached to my wavy afro...Why, oh WHY???

So after a couple years of weekly deep conditioning masks, once a week flat ironing, and reduced dyeing.. I was in search of a place that would magically make my hair straight so that at first glance, maybe I could cheat people into thinking I had healthy hair too!

I finally came across Koreana Salon on Yelp and was sold the minute I saw the pictures of the results. The salon is run by a mother and daughter in a small space with maybe 3 seats. They only work on one client at a time, and you can tell immediately that they are masters at their trade. Their phone was ringing non-stop, but they didn't leave my side the whole time unless my hair was processing to pick up a call.

Oh and just my luck, the day I had my appointment for the Japanese straightening perm, my debit card number was stolen and used in 3 states in the same day. Wtf.

After evaluating the condition of my hair, Esther (the daughter) asked me if I had gotten a digital perm before (since my hair is naturally REALLY wavy) and was surprised it was my natural hair. She told me I would be able to get it done, but the ends of my hair were already damaged beyond repair. There was no guarantee that it could take the chemicals and I would either have to cut the ends off or she could preform the keratin treatment at the ends of my hair (which isn't permanent) and I could decide after seeing how my hair fared after the procedure. I was desperate enough in my journey for manageable straight hair so I decided to just go for it. After starting the procedure went somewhat like this:
  • Wash hair
  • Blow dry
  • Apply 1st chemical
  • Wash
  • Flat iron whole head
  • Apply 2nd chemical
  • Wash & deep condition
  • Blow dry 
  • Cut & style
Guess what? There is no heat lamp needed! I don't know how exactly the chemical works, but apparently this Japanese chemical "Milbon Liscio" (aka Thermal Reconditioning) straightens your hair and leaves it looking glossy, straight, and healthy! It changes the chemical bonds of your hair to be straight and the effects are permanent so you only need to get touch ups on new regrowth. It eliminates frizz and flyaways on healthy hair and makes your hair look glossy and silky smooth! There's many names for the this perm such as Japanese straightening perm, Yuko hair straightening, straight perm.. etc.

Unfortunately, if you have bleached your hair, it doesn't work well with the chemical. I wasn't sure which areas of my hair have been bleached before, but Esther left the products on my hair only as long as they needed to be and checked every couple minutes to see the rates they were processing at. What's even better is the whole procedure plus haircut only took about 3 hours!

In the end, very bottom tips of my hair were slightly frizzed up, but in surprisingly good condition. There was no need for the keratin treatment and I opted for a trim instead. The ends of my hair is quite dry because it's received the most abuse, but a lot more manageable than prior to the treatment.

After everything is done, you can't let your hair touch water or tie it up for 72 hours. I have to say, this wasn't as easy at it sounded when I first left the salon because the following days were major storm weather in my area. By the second day I was dying to wash my hair, but waited patiently till my 3 days were up. Can you curl your hair after Japanese straightening perm with a curling iron? Yes! You can curl your hair after waiting a recommended 7-10 days and after you wash your hair, it will dry straight again.

Now onto some pictures.. I apologize in advance for the crappy iPhone quality as I didn't want to be obnoxious and bring out the big camera. I was also quite self-conscious of my natural curly mess of a hair so bear with me.

Before: My natural curly frizzed up wavy hair
Hair slicked back in Milbon Liscio! Gangster, not?
Left: Milbon Liscio on the head, Right: Halfway through hot ironing
The final result...? I think the pictures kind of speak for themselves. 
Tadah!
Excuse my awesome UNIQLO x Disney cape blanket thing as.. ahem, I was not camera ready, aka lack of undergarments.

Right after the procedure!
1 week after with curled ends. Sick of my face yet? Moohaha
I'm extremely happy with the results and no longer have to deal with tangled, poofy, damaged looking hair. After over a month since the whole procedure, my hair is still extremely straight and shiny! Instead of falling pin straight, it looks naturally straight after each wash. My time spent getting ready is now cut in half. Yes, cheat success.

I highly recommend getting Japanese hair straightening if your hair is unmanageable and curly and are looking for a way to avoid flat ironing everyday. I'm now in love with my hair again for the first time in many, many years!

66 comments:

  1. I'm sorry about your debit card being stolen! D: but wow, the results do speak for themselves! I'm impressed XD I feel your pain about having damaged hair, as I've straightened my hair and bleached it so many times. My hair's so dry now that I think I need to get a keratin treatment soon, but I'm so tempted to curl it! >_< Nonetheless, I think straight hair suits you a lot! :)


    http://theloveegoist.com

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  2. I did a straightening perm once and it left my hair so badly damaged and unnaturally straight.



    your hair looks amazing and I can't believe it only took 3 hours oh my goodness! I wonder if they offer this service anywhere in my town..

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  3. woahh the result looks really amazing...

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  4. wahhh it looks so nice!! i did a straight perm once and i don't know, i missed having texture in my hair. LOL. i'm thinking about putting extensions though!!! did you like them?

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  5. Straight hair really suits you! :) I feel your pain about having damaged hair though, been through the same things and bleaching, I think, does the worst damage x__x Either way, good thing that the treatment/procedure worked on you! XD


    http://theloveegoist.com

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  6. Your straight hair looks super pretty although I don't find your frizzy hair ugly. Just curl the ends and it won't look dead anymore! (At least thats what I do with my hair which looks pretty much the same as urs)

    Mooij

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  8. That's crazy. I feel like I just learned all about your hair history that I totally never knew!


    I seriously never thought you'd have naturally wavy hair. My younger sister has the same problem and also flat irons every. single. day. Maybe I'll recommend this to her because it definitely sounds worth it if wavy hair bothers you. I'm glad it all worked out in the end though. Your hair looks incredible!

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  9. Elaine~ I'm glad you enjoy the straightening perm!! I've been doing it for like 3 years! It's quite awesome and convenient. I'm planning to do mine again soon...just need to find time off my busy life schedule. >< I'm surprise yours only took 3 hours...mine usually take at least 4- 4.5 hours!!

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  10. You have gorgeous hair Elaine! I wish I could grow my hair to be that long.

    http://nhyc.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. Oh my gosh... This is magical. ;u;
    I have to try it sometime. *A* I suppose I'll start saving up now? @~@
    Your straight hair is so beautiful (but your frizzy hair isn't ugly~)!

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  12. Haha, it's ok! I feel like it happens to everyone.. Must be those gas stations :(



    I would have tried the keratin treatment, but I heard it's not permanent and my hair is so unruly... There was a girl getting a digital perm next to me, but I think my hair would just fall off, LOL!

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  13. Yeah! I did it once when I was younger and my hair that grew out had a fold in it .___. wtf.


    I searched around at Korean and Japanese salons! I was scared there might be a language barrier, but I lucked out because she spoke perfect English!

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  14. Thank you :D I think it's a worthy investment bwahhaa!

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  15. Hahaha, I think it's easier to style starting with straight hair because you can't do anything with crazy hair! I got extensions the braid in way, half head. It was kind of itchy and weird to sleep on at first... but the volume.. DAMN. Plus I had virgin hair dyed to match mine and it was so much healthier than my own hair.. ;___;

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  16. Hahaha, that's on a good day! Usually I sleep with it damp and it just turns into a tangled mess. For the sake of the photo I tried to blow dry it as neatly as I could. I was losing a lot of hair because it was getting so knotted up!

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  17. LOL secrets revealed. I usually keep my hair tied up or in a bun when I'm not doing anything special because it's crazyyyyyy. Flat ironing is so bad.. I'm pretty sure that's where most of the damage came from! I was once told at work that I needed to tidy up for an event and they pointed at my au natural hair I was sporting that day.. ;__;

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  18. Yes! I was actually pretty hesitant because it was so expensive and I was scared it would make me bald. Or that maybe it wouldn't even work and I'd just have crazy hair and have an empty wallet. It's so funny because I know so many people that get digital perms and think I'm crazy for doing the opposite!

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  19. Thank you! I wish I had more hair though! I feel like with the rate of how many hairs fall out everyday I'll be bald soon ;;;

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  20. I had to think about it for a while too because of the cost factor, but I'm so relieved it was worth it! I don't have to worry about my hair anymore and I save so much time.. Time is money too!

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  21. wow the results look so good! im jealous! how long does the straightening perm last for?
    great photos btw :D

    xo; L&M
    www.twoplicates.blogspot.com

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  22. I have straight hair and would love curls, lol. OMG, your hair looks great afterwards - the salon did such a good job!

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  23. Your hair looks beautiful!

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  24. I'm definitely looking into Japanese hair straightening, your hair transformation is amazing! <3
    I absolutely love your new hair. =) My mane was extremely long once upon a time, but my hair dresser chopped it all off last month because it was "too dead". =(

    Looking forward to your future posts, hehe!



    XOXO
    Cherry Jade

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  25. Sorry to hear about your debit card being stolen, that always sucks.

    But the bright side is your hair looks great! I'm glad to hear that it went according to plan :)

    http://sushiibear.blogspot.com

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  26. Your hair actually still looked nice before the straightening, but you can definitely see more health and shine now. So pretty!

    I tried magic straight a loong time ago and it didn't turn out so well... I shed like mad woman! I'm glad you went to a good salon.

    <3 http://www.msjess.com

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  27. It's permanent, thank god! You only have to get it redone on your new growth or roots, but I think I probably won't need to until it's grown a couple inches!

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  28. I would too, but I don't think my hair could handle a digital perm.. Huge sigh of relief nothing bad happened! *~*

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  29. That's why I hate going to salons! No matter how much I stress "ONE INCH" they seem to always go scissor happy and cut off a good 5 inches of "dead hair". I know it's dead, but I'll only kill my new ends with my flat iron! LOL

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  30. Yeah, I feel like it happens to everyone at some point! Just really bad timing since it was literally one day before the holidays ;__;

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  31. I think before on a good day it still looks really messy! People would refer to my hair as a mop of dead grass.. So it was time for a change!


    Actually I shed like crazy everyday.. I wonder if I'm balding!

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  32. Love your blog :)

    I used to get straight perm too!! It looks great on you!

    Stylejourneys

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  33. Oh sweetie your hair looks really beautiful.

    xoxo

    http://www.sakuranko.com/

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  34. Wow, your hair is really super straight after doing the treatment!! So jelly of your hair! <3

    Celyx Lim
    http://celyx.blogspot.com

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  35. your hair turned out so perfectly straight. i used to do magic perm (the korean version i think?) back in high school but it was almost to straight. i think your hair looks great but i think your natural wave was honestly so perfect and pretty too and i would love to have my hair like that naturally. also about your card i am so sorry that someone stole it!!! and used it! what jerks D;

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  36. So pretty! Your hair looks so soft :DDD

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  37. Amazing results! Your hair looks great!


    Brandy
    willbakeforshoes.com

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  38. Thank you! Funny how I permed it straight only to curl it when I go out. LOL

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  39. Thank you! Your hair is super gorgeous though *~* Jelly jelly

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  40. Hi,
    Your hair looks amazing! Wondering if you still have to blow dry your hair after the treatment or is it wash and wear?

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  41. I did that kind too before! But when my new hair grew out there was a bent... wtf LOL!


    It looked too damaged before, I think I was so scarred because at my previous job my work told me to "tidy up my hair" and I was like.. Uh this i show it naturally is though ;___;!!!

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  43. omg i love your hair! i have the same exact problem...like my hair looks similar to yours but just a bit worse because my bangs get curly/wavy too =__= and it just frizzs up if i dont blowdry it plus i had a bad haircut before..so pple with frizzy hair like us cant have short layers i guess my hairstylist wasnt aware of that so my hair is really poofy too >.< ive been straightening my hair every single day for the past few years >.< well i did have straightening perms here and there when i go back to taiwan but last year..they didnt do a good job ..like it did tone down a bit but it still got frizzy and some roots are still wavy...plus i paid like around 5000 NT =__= (i thought it would be cheaper but uhh i was wrong) so i might as well get it done in US cuz its like prob around the same price too but i had a fear of getting my hair fried like perm gone wrong >.< so i was looking on yelp and i came across your review on yelp and now i really want to try it out! ^__^ koreana salon seems pretty trustworthy and good according to all the reviews on straight and digital perms~jw how much was it? (my hairstyle and length is similar to yours but just a bit shorter) and also how long did it last for?

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  44. Oh my bangs totally get wavy too! But I feel as if I should have left my bangs natural, because it's a bit easier to style that way.. I think there are other places that do "magic straight" for around that price range in the US, but for Milbon Liscio, it's a bit pricier. It depends on how long and how much hair you have so I think it varies a bit, but I think it starts at around $250 for short/medium hair. (Without tip) I think if your hair is really hard to manage, it is definitely worth it though, because even now it's still pretty much straight and I haven't used a straightening iron since! I do feel that it is different from the previous straightening perms I've had with the texture of my hair because it does look more on the natural side instead of pin-straight hair. The only thing I would warn you about is that the salon is quite small, and quite busy because they only have 2 people there. But they are very thorough in their work and it's one of the first time I've been this happy with a hair experience! Esther will sit you down for a consultation before she even does it and she is very straight-forward and honest! And it's permanent besides your roots of your new hair that grows out, but once treated the parts that were permed are now chemically straight! Sorry for the long response, I hope I answered all your questions!

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  45. thank you so much for your thorough response! :) i will definitely give this a try ^__^

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  46. I had the same product used in my hair and it was way worth the money, but it's been about 3 months now, is it safe to go into the pool with this product treatment??

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  47. Hi..I am wondering how much did you spend on this???

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  48. Your safest bet would be to contact the salon you got it done at and ask, although I was told by my salon to play it safe for about 2 weeks before going in the pool.

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  49. It varies according to your hair length and salon, but the salon I got it at starts at around $250 for medium length hair.

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  50. Thank you for your comment Danielle, sorry I didn't have time to get to it sooner! I totally know what you mean with the frizzy hair situation! You're very fortunate to have virgin hair, the chemical works better with hair that has never been bleached before.

    To answer your questions above:

    1) It will straighten your bangs, but from my own preferences, I was not used to having straight bangs. I usually have side swept bangs that are kind of curled at the end due to my natural curl, so getting the bangs processed too made them straight. It will look natural and of course you can style them, but it was a bit of a surprise when I saw myself with straight bangs!

    2) Yes, you can still curl your hair after, although it is recommended that you wait after 2 weeks to do so. You may want to mention this to your salon because mine mentioned that they used a weaker form of the chemical specifically because I told them I like to curl my hair sometimes.

    3) Unfortunately I'm not too familiar with the east coast salons, but you can use their website and see if you can find a salon that offers their products and services. I would read up on some reviews on yelp too! (Just because I'm extra paranoid about my hair)
    http://www.milbon-usa.com/salon/



    Good luck!

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  51. Okay thank you SO much! You've been such a great help(:

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  52. Hi! I was just wondering if there are any special products you need to use after the Japanese Straightening to take care of it? And if so, do you know what they are, if the salon / person Japanese Straightening my hair will give them to me? Are they expensive / approximately how much do they cost? If you know ^^
    Thank you so much, reading this entry and your comment responses has helped me a TON ^^

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  53. Hi JiJi! Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience. The salon I went to recommended I use hair oil for the tips of my hair because they were dry due to the continuous dyeing throughout the years. Also, she recommended that I get a deep conditioner and leave it in my hair for 5 minutes while I shower. However, this could be due to the fact that my hair is very dry and damaged as I have been dyeing it for years. There isn't a specific brand that she recommended, but from my personal experience, Moroccan oils work very well and are very popular on the market. Personally, I use an oil by Ma Cherie, a subsidiary of Shiseido. For deep conditioners, I usually use a hair mask by Essential that I have reviewed here: http://www.dear-elaine.com/2010/11/kao-essential-hair-mask-review.html

    Some of these items may not be easily available outside of Asia, but there are always products that you can find locally that will do the job! Hope that answers your questions!

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  54. nice hair styles and info.... hair transplant cost

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  55. I have curly hair and I am contemplating getting the straight perm. I have only done highlights on my hair and straightening maybe once every two weeks. Will the perm affect and damage my curls when I do decide to grow them back out?

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  56. I have curly hair and I am contemplating getting the straight perm. Will the treatment damage/affect my curls when I do decide to grow my hair back out?

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  57. If you didn't use bleach I would say it probably wouldn't hold as much damage. However, the procedure is permanent so if you decided to grow back your natural hair, the only part that would be curly is your new growth, not the hair that has been treated. If you had specific questions about your hair type, I would go and get a consult from a salon that provides these services! Good luck ♡

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  58. I'm looking forward to getting my hair straightened with the Japanese Hair Straightening System next week. I can't wait. Thanks for your helpful article.

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  59. Hey
    I WANA Straight my hair what type cream and camical use plz help

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