Effect of Hair Color and Japanese Hair Straightening

Caution about coloring chemically straightened/TRd hair.

Coloring chemically straightened hair is much trickier than most people think, including hair color technicians, this is because the ends are very porous and the root area is much healthier. Great care needs to be taken when coloring TRd hair. You don’t want to put permanent color on porous ends because it is too damaging. You are probably little confused, so are many professionals. You have to be very careful, consult with the person who will perform this process. Your hair might look healthy to them but your hair had been chemically straightened. It is imperative to inform the color technician that your hair has been chemically straightened before a color service. Always wait at least two weeks before coloring.

Also, if you want to continue straightening/TR your hair, consider no ammonia, gentle, low pH acid hair-color such as Redken’s Shades EQ demi-permanent hair color. This is a perfect alliance for chemically straightened/TRd hair.

Moreover, as you may know, I am not a hair colorist, my specialty and my passion is doing Japanese Hair Straightening/TR, Brazilian Keratin Treatment/BKT, (also known as Brazilian Blowout) and all methods of hair straightening; it is my livelihood. This is what I do, day in and day out.

To consistently receive fabulous TR results, you need to go to a hair colorist that understands the effects of peroxide, bleach, color and highlight on TRd hair. Or, if your hair colorist is not familiar with TR, you can ask your hair colorist to contact me prior to coloring and highlight services. The information revealed can affect the results. Good communication is key throughout TR and hair coloring. The objective; this way, I can do TR that is creative, trend-related and portrays the image of Excellence. Here’s what you need to know.

Hair Decolorizers

The term bleaching, decolorizing and lightening are interchangeable among salon professionals. However, all of these terms share one common word; Oxidation – a key process in hair decolorizing. Regardless of the terminology you select, decolorizing the hair is one of the most frequently performed salon services. Hairdressers select bleach, decolorizers when one of the following results are desired:

  • When clients with naturally dark hair desire tones too light to achieve with permanent haircolor alone (i.e. light bright reds, true light ash browns, and blondes)
  • Removing artificial haircolor, such as in a corrective color situation.
  • Lightening selected strands, prior to toning, as in a highlighting service.

The stage or degree of lightness achieved is relative to the actual depth (level) of the natural pigment present in the hair. Lightest brown hair goes through fewer stages to reach pale yellow than dark brown hair. In actual fact, darker brown hair may never reach pale yellow. Attempting to do so will severely damage the protein bonds within the hair, causing irreversible structural damage. The hair should not be lightened past the pale yellow stage because of the damage the process creates.

The effects of alkali and hydrogen peroxide on the hair structure as related to Japanese Hair Straightening/TR .

Hydrogen peroxide in combination with an alkali source will break some of the internal disulfide bonds found in the cortex of the hair. Disulfide bonds hold together certain protein chains within the hair fiber, and they are responsible for hair’s stability and strength. In a typical hair color process, approximately 10% of existing disulfide bonds are destroyed. In highlight color or decolorization process, 15 – 20% may be permanently broken. The destruction of disulfide bonds leads to the production of a new molecule called cysteic acid. Unlike disulfide bonds, cysteic acid is not a cross-linked bond between protein chains of the cortex, so it weakens the overall structure of the hair. Although this is an inevitable side effect, an appropriate protein/moisture balance can be achieved through the proper haircare treatment.

Effects of decolorizers on hair.

As previously mentioned, hydrogen peroxide in combination with an alkali source will break some of the internal disulfide bonds in the cortex of the hair. In a decolorization, as much as 15 – 20% are permanently broken. The longer a bleach mixture remains in contact with the hair, and the higher the pH, the higher the percentage of broken bonds.

The destruction of disulfide bonds leads to the production of a new molecule called cysteic acid (as previously mentioned). The result is hair that is weak, easily broken and “gummy” or stretchy when wet. This means, the client is definitely not a good candidate for TR.


Principle Based Japanese Hair Straightening/TR and Hair color is about understanding “the big why” in TR and hair coloring. Understand the “why” and we’ll understand the “how” in how to create beautiful TR.

It’s like going to school. Before we could go to school, we had to learn a basic language in order to communicate. The easier we can communicate, the easier it is to understand and be understood.

Armed with the language, we educate ourselves on certain subjects where we learn the fundamentals and disciplines related to hair. When we find a subject appealing, we want to learn more than just the basics, more than the fundamentals. We learn the disciplines – the proper mechanics. And we discipline ourselves to do it correctly. In essence, in order to master the subject, we do whatever it takes to own the information.

Once we own the information, we don’t even have to think about the fundamentals, the mechanics or the discipline. It’s not that we don’t utilize them; it’s that we don’t have to THINK about them. We use them instinctively. When you own he information, you automatically do it correctly. This is when we can truly be creative. Whether it’s Michael Jordan sinking a basket, Albert Einstein theorizing a new mathematical equation or Leonardo Da Vinci creating a new masterpiece, they don’t think about the text book way they learned to do their craft, they just do it.

Before we talk about how that applies to us as TR stylists and facilitators, let’s recap the essence of what we just said. Simply put, we learn language to be able to communicate. We go to school to learn about a subject. Once we understand the subject fully, we can be creative in the application of the subject.

How does “school” tie together with Principle Based Japanese Hair Straightening/TR? Think of the language, the fundamentals and the disciplines as Principle Based TR. The school is our stage, the classroom or salon environment, and the subject is Japanese Hair Straightening/TR.

As facilitator of Principle Based Japanese Hair Straightening/TR, when we go into a class (school) to teach a group that doesn’t understand the language, we teach them Principle based TR , BKT and haircolor (language, fundamentals and discipline) so they understand the “why”.

When you’ve booked back into the same salon repeatedly, you know you’ve done such a great job in choosing your TR stylist and hair colorist.

Being principle based in doing a TR, ultimately helps us to be creative, successful and to earn respect as true artisans and inspirational TR stylists and facilitators. And now you know how to create beautiful hair, based on hair that is in optimum condition…simple, isn’t?