If you knew me before September 2010, you probably saw me with both curly and straight hair. In the USA, I had looked into getting my curls relaxed, but it was too expensive and wouldn’t exactly give me the results I wanted. What did I want? I wanted straight hair. Like straight straight. Like the kind I can let air-dry and it will be perfect.
Why, you might ask? I’ve had many people tell me that they love(d) my curly hair, that they wish they had the option to change their hair, etc. Curly hair is great… if it looks good. Not if your curly hair looks like you stuck your finger in an electrical socket. It was taking me longer to tame my curls than it would to just blow-dry and straighten it.
Shortly after being in Korea, I heard about “Magic Straight.” For over 1/2 the price of American hair “relaxing” services, I could get permanently straight hair that wouldn’t wash out. I would just need touch-ups as it grew out.
Magic Straight is a chemical process introduced in Japan. They literally strip your hair of its DNA of sorts (“curly” DNA), and then reapply a new DNA (“straight” DNA). It’s similar to getting a perm… but instead of putting your hair in rollers, they painstakingly straighten your hair, half-inch by half-inch. Then another chemical is added to secure the new DNA. (Read about the process HERE).
It does damage your hair quite a bit… so it’s good that you only need to do it 2 or 3 times per year. And the subsequent visits are MUCH cheaper, running only about 50-90,000 (depending on hair length, thickness, etc). I’ve even heard of them as cheap as 30,000!
With my long, thick, and curly hair, it took about 4 hours. Pretty sure my hair was washed 6 different times. I also got a deep conditioning, haircut, and blowdry/style. Everything altogether cost 250,000w ($218 USD).
My hair has never been so straight or silky smooth. I can let my hair air-dry, or blow-dry it if I’m in a hurry. I don’t even have to think about my hair anymore. It is perfectly straight (not ridiculously straight, but natural-looking straight). It has saved me hours and hours of time and have kept my hair much healthier by not needing to blow-dry and straighten my hair all the time.
For your first time, I would recommend going to one of the upscale salons that are used to dealing with foreigner hair. It is very different from Korean hair.
I would recommend getting it done with Ji-Won at Serrano Hair Story in downtown Daegu. It should be expensive your first time, especially if your hair is fairly curly.
(See GRRRLTraveler HERE for her story and directions to Serrano Hair Story. )
For my subsequent touch-ups, I literally just go around the corner from my apartment to a friendly neighborhood salon. They don’t speak any English (seriously… like hardly any English at all!), but with my Korean powers combined with body language and photos, I have no problems getting my Magic Straight or haircuts.
Do you have really thick/coarse/African-American hair? Magic Straight can work for you, too! I would definitely recommend finding a salon that is experienced with foreigners, and it will probably cost you a bit more. My friend Anika is a shining example of Magic Straight gone good for African-Americans.
It was honestly one of the best vanity decisions I have ever made for myself… besides LASIK surgery, but that’s another blog.