The Yuko bumph:

Yuko Hair Straightening System smoothes curly, dry, unruly hair permanently with a revolutionary straightening system that uses heat to restructure the hair's proteinForgive me for who I am when I wake upbond. The result? Smooth, Sleek, Shiny, Straight, regenerated hair! The protein-based professional Yuko System uses a specially-designed, patented heat iron set at over three hundred degrees to "seal in moisture once the cystine bond in the hair is cut off, allowing hair to be molded into any shape," explains Yuko business director Yukari Miyazaki. "Heat consolidates the straightening process- REPAIRING and REGENERATING hair. The shine and softness are evident. Salon professionals and the customer both love the system's results." Phi-Ten USA-owned Yuko System was born in Japan, as was Ms.Yuko, who created the system in 1996 with the intent "to create a non-coating, straightening system that uses the heat oxidation process to SEAL IN and REBUILD hair from the inside out." This new, science-based straightening system depends upon the one of a kind Phi-Ten IRON, which reaches 356° to achieve desired results. One of the YUKO steps includes using sharkForgive me for who I am when I wake upoil on hair, and also using steam instead of direct heat, in order to condition hair. Both an unconventional idea and a breakthrough in the art of hair straightening. / end bumph

Who cannot have this treatment?

Yuko uses strong chemicals to break down the protein bonds in the hair, so those with bleached hair or very damaged hair are strongly advised not to use the process.
It is said to be safe for anyone over the age of 12 years old to get their hair straightened in this way. I have also seen it written that those as young as 5 can have Yuko, but I suppose it's up to the parent.

How long does Yuko take?

The first chemicals to be put in (that smell desperately of egg/sulphur and so are probably the added proteins) are left under clingfilm for 30 minutes.
Hair is then rinsed and more, less nauseating, chemicals are put in the hair for a further ten minutes, and more clingfilm.
The actual straightening itself, which leaves your hair freakishly flat, depends on the length of your hair. My hair is shoulder length, was very wavy, and took about two hours with two people straightening. It is this time spent straightening every single section of hair that creates the cost.

So how much does it cost?

Miko's Day SPA Salon (mikosdayspa.com) quotes $350+. At Harrods, which is the only place i know of in London to offer this process (feel free to tell me otherwise) charged £350 for my thick, shoulder-length hair.

How often does it need retouching?

It is recommended to return for a touch-up every 6 months, but it does depend a lot on the rate at which your hair grows. Apparently, after a month or so, you have to start blow-drying straight the sections underneath the most visible hair as they will be curlier at the top, but a good pair of straightening irons help.

Why don't I just use straightening irons then?

They are indeed a lot cheaper, but my personal pet hate is frizzy hair, and even the most diligently iron-straightened hair will begin to fluff up in British drizzle, and if it starts raining, well .. And during the summer it somewhat ruins the atmosphere when you have to run straight from the beach/swimming pool to your room to tame your curls. Admittedly, however, it is an expensive and time-consuming process, a luxury rather than a necessity for those blessed with The Hair.

Tell me about aftercare.

The hair cannot get wet for at least two days after you've had Yuko. Two is a minimum, three is better. This is not particularly nice if, like me, you have a tendency to run your hands through your hair and/or live in a rather wet climate. Constant fiddling can leave your hair pretty greasy after just a day, and no leaving the house in case it rains. But to be honest with your hair looking that icky, you won't want to go out anyway. No fear, however, because when you finally wash it and don't need to go near the straightening irons, the pleasure is inexpressible!

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