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Straight Talk: Hair Straightening -- What are my options?

Thermal Reconditioning

If you're ready to get really extreme and lose those curls for good, it could be time to pony up for Japanese thermal reconditioning. Developed in the mid-'90s, it's become the go-to option for those who covet stick-straight hair -- and who have a few hundred bucks (and a few hours) to spare. Exact methods vary, but it's a long process involving relaxing chemicals (usually a glycolic acid derivative), "neutralization" treatments, deep conditioning, and the repeated, high-temperature ironing of small -- 1/8- to 3/8-inch -- sections of hair. The good news is that you should have to go through the whole thing only once, and then pop in for regrowth touchups every few months.