For those of us with curly hair, finding the right products or the right hairdresser in Japan can be difficult, especially considering the majority of hair products are (understandably) aimed at those with straight hair.
Nevertheless, as the number of foreigners and children of mixed descent living in Japan increases, so does the demand for curly hair products and services!
Below are a few suggestions to help make managing your curls in Japan just that little bit easier.
Curly Hair Products
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One of the most vital parts of curly hair maintenance is the products. Although it is possible to buy great hair products in Japan, finding ones that suit your specific needs may be difficult.
And whilst you can also have familiar products such as Shea Moisture and DevaCurl imported to Japan via websites like Amazon.jp and iHerb.com, it is often cheaper and better for both the environment and the local economy to buy them in Japan if you can.
N Brand (¥¥¥)
N Brand is a brand created by Nepenji hair salon specifically for those with curly hair. Instead of shampoo, N Brand offers a silicone, synthetic and ethanol-free cleanser, which will help rid your hair of dirt and product build-up without stripping your curls of their natural oils.
What’s more, N Brand uses a series of essential oils, which makes it a great product to combat Japan’s bitter winters—a time when your hair is in need of a little extra moisture to combat the harsh cold!
However, it is a little pricey when it comes to the curly hair product market, with a 250g bottle of conditioner coming to ¥3,300 (including tax). The absence of silicone and synthetics, however, means that it is a great weapon in the fight against damage!
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Recently, Lush has come out with a range of products aimed specifically at curly hair. Luckily for us, this hasn’t been limited to stores outside Japan, which means that those of us with curly hair will be able to buy curly hair products in most Lush stores across Japan and definitely online.
Moreover, Lush’s products are vegan and have been created with the environment in mind. This means that while you care for your hair, you can care for the planet too!
Thankfully, Lush’s curly hair product includes a (relatively) wide range of products aimed at curly hair, which means that you are more likely to find what you need for your hair type more easily.
The Afro Haircare range is mid-range, with products priced between ¥1,350 for the hot oil treatment to ¥2,610 for a 100 ml bottle of conditioning spray. However, the accessibility of Lush’s Afro Haircare range ranks them high in our books!
Why not try DIY? If you don’t feel like splashing the cash on expensive products, several at-home treatments can be done cheaply using products that are easily found in a Japanese supermarket.
One of my favourite DIY recipes involves using banana and avocado, both of which help to strengthen and replenish hair. After mixing the avocado and banana together, add in a little of your favourite oil to give your curls a little extra moisture before putting it on your hair. Put a shower cap on your head and wait for 20 minutes before rinsing out.
This is just one example of many DIY hair masks that you can try out at home!
Say yes to helping your hair whilst also helping your wallet!
Curly Hair Salons
Even more difficult than finding the right hair products in Japan is finding the right hairdresser for your curls.
Hairdressers who are qualified to cut and style curly hair in Japan are few and far between, so finding one can be a mammoth task. However, the immense skill of those who are qualified makes the trouble worth it. Below are some hairstylists in Japan who have mastered the art of curly hair maintenance!
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Famed for her care and precision, Nepenji’s head stylist Kiyoko Matsuzawa is one of Japan’s best when it comes to caring for curly hair. Kiyoko was trained for a short time by Lorraine Massey, creator of the Curly Girl Method, in New York before returning to Japan to create her own studio specialising in curly hair care. (Guidable’s editor, Alex, has been going to Nepenji for over ten years and highly recommends Kiyoko’s curly method!)
Location: 2-5-2 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyo, Japan
Afrocurlys is a salon created and owned by Ghanaian hairstylist Mina who has been in Japan for over twenty years. Recently, she has started gaining more attention after styling people such as Raimu Kaminashi, the first runner-up of Miss Universe Japan 2020. Whilst her speciality is braiding hair, Mina has also created a line of products focusing on bringing life and health to her client’s curls.
Location: 1-14-18 Naka Magome, Ōta-Ku, Tōkyo, Japan
Emiko “Emmy” Najima is a Japanese hairstylist who has 20 years of experience working with curly hair. She originally trained as a cosmetologist, but her interest in Black culture drew her toward styling curly hair. Emmy runs a Beauty Academy that teaches parents of children with curly hair and adults with curly hair how to care for their curls.
Location: 5-14-7-3F Chuō-chō, Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan
Caring for Your Curly Hair
Although managing your curly hair can be difficult in Japan, it is not impossible. With more and more people looking for ways to care for their curls in Japan, the number of products and services available to people will (hopefully) continue to grow!
The next time you’re in need of some products, why not give one of these a go?
- 10 Best Japanese Hair Products for Foreign Hair
- Japanese Hair Salons and Services: What You Need to Know
Featured Image Photo Credit: canva.com