4 Game-Changing Japanese Hair Care Products
A Tokyo Stylist Takes Us Through The Greatest Recent Hair Care Innovations
Japan is a nation serious about hair, so it’s no surprise that beyond tech, food, and public transport, the country is also one of the global leaders in the hair industry. Here are four products you’ll find life impossible without after trying.
When it comes to new inventions, innovations, and techniques, the cliché of living in Japan being like living in the future rings true. A simple stroll down the streets of Tokyo will make you realize that the hair industry in Japan is a serious business (there are, after all, more hair salons than convenience stores here). But with the sheer abundance of salons, stores, and products, it can be difficult to decipher what exactly is worth your time, money and effort.
To get more insight into hair care here in Japan, we spoke to freelance stylist Yuri Nabata. With over a decade worth of experience under her belt, including a two-year stint in New York, the Tokyo-based hair stylist and educator is a go-to hub of information on all things innovative and futuristic in the Japanese hair world. So from restorative straighteners to vibrating dryers, here’s a guide to four of the most innovative Japanese hair care products recommended by Yuri and her fellow top Tokyo stylists.
Like with straightening, burning your hair by drying it is where a lot of people do the most damage. Relying on heat to dry hair gets rid of the moisture, but it also evaporates water that is bound to the hair, a lot of which is desperately needed in order to maintain hydration. Without this hydration, hair quickly becomes brittle and dry which leads to stripped cuticles and split ends.
Beauty company Louvredo have come out with the restorative Fukugen dryer (¥15,700), which employs a new ‘vibration method.’ It’s “pretty groundbreaking,” Yuri says, adding that this development “has really forced the competitor companies to become more innovative.”
Though it may not be the perfect analogy, it’s a similar method to when a dog shakes itself dry. “Think of it as shaking your hair dry, not frying.” Rather than relying on heat to dry, the vibration waves of the dryer tighten the hair cuticle and allow the hair to absorb the moisture it needs while ridding the excess surface water.
“I had one client who was losing quite a bit of hair naturally because it was breaking due to over straightening and drying. But after using the (Fukugen) dryer, her hair and scalp health has increased dramatically and she is no losing anywhere near as much hair as she had before.”
Given its use of vibration instead of heat also means that you can dry your hair in the same amount of time but at a much lower temperature. “I’ve had clients telling me that since using the dryer the improvements in hair texture and scalp health has exceeded anything they’ve ever experienced.”
Available for purchase at Otora Ebisu, Hair Arai Shinjuku, and other salons.
If you’re even a little serious about hair health, no doubt you have a bathroom shelf scattered with half used tubes of lotions and serums claiming to protect your hair and stimulate good health. But if it’s time to do a clean out and you’re after one lotion to rule them all, make it Pellofine lotion, also by Louvredo (¥4,800).
More of an all-in-one type of solution, Yuri recommends Pellofine’s lotion as it “protects your hair from damage caused by the sun, friction, heat (especially from hair dryers), and chemicals in dyes and perming solutions. It’s also ideal for promoting hair repair and hair growth thanks to its high collagen content.”
Who should you try it? Yuri says, “I would recommend this solution to people whose hair is getting stressed from everyday damage such as straightening and drying or anyone who is suffering from thinning hair and hair loss.” Available online through Rakuten.
For those without perfectly straight locks, hair straightening seems like a necessary evil. Especially as the summer months start rolling through Japan and humidity hits unprecedented limits, wild locks can be almost impossible to manage without wielding some steaming hot plates across you tired frazzled hair.
As most of us are aware though, when it comes to inflicting hair harm, straightening is probably up there as the worst crime of all. To tackle this, the team at Lumielina have developed a straightener that works both hot and cold.
“Hair contains keratin, a protein that’s bonded with hydrogen and natural oils,” Yuri explains. “When heated up, the hydrogen bonds in your hair are broken down and stripped of their protein and natural oils. That’s what makes hair easier to style.”
“The keratin protein is actually also found in egg shells. Using eggshells as an analogy, you can explain what a straightener does to hair. When you’ve boiled an egg, like heating up hair, the keratin proteins become hard. That’s why it’s sometimes difficult to cleanly remove the shell from a boiled egg. When you straighten your hair these proteins can become hard too and in the long term more difficult to style.”
The anti-heat damaging ceramics used in this straightener’s iron were developed by Lumielina exclusively and were produced to make your hair healthier after straightening. Available at Yodobashi Camera, Amazon, Isetan online store and Bic Camera. ¥35,000 (open price).
Those with more unruly hair will attest the miracles the perfect paddle brush can provide. Given its wide, flat surface, paddle brushes are perfect for creating smoother, sleeker hair.
“The wood used for this brush handle is sourced from Hida in the Gifu prefecture which means that not only is it crafted with traditionally tried and tested methods, but it also helps support the community of Hida to continue to preserve their traditional Japanese craft.”
Using typically meticulous Japanese methods in production, all 216 bristles were implanted by hand into the anti-cracking rubber, which ensures good brush health, no bristle damage and, of course, optimum hair health.
Rather than going through a number of brushes, if you want to invest in a single brush that provides an excellent scalp massage and is going to last you years, the Louvredo Paddle Brush is the one for you. Available for purchase at Otora Ebisu, Hair Arai Shinjuku, and other salons. ¥6,450.