Yuko: Japanese Permanent Hair Straightening and Where (not) to Get It Done in London

Yuko

Yuko: worth every penny!

Moga Hair Studio: avoid, avoid, avoid!

This weekend I’m going to Hyper Japan festival in London. To celebrate the occasion I’ve decided to write a Japan-themed post.

Yuko

What is Yuko?

So I finally got Yuko back in June. Yuko is one of few truly permanent hair straightening systems based on a bespoke thermal reconditioning technology. Yuko is similar to Loreal X tenso but stronger. It doesn’t wash off, like the Brazilian blowout, it just grows out. All you need to do is to re-do your roots every 6-8 months. It doesn’t’ contain harmful chemicals and there are no harmful gases being released when you blow dry your hair after the treatment (as in the case of Brazilian Blowout). Obviously, it’s not a natural treatment so it does contain chemicals but as far as permanent straightening is concerned it gives the best results and is the least damaging for your hair.

Why did I decide to do it?

In the past, I needed to schedule at least 1h for washing and styling my hair, otherwise it would look horrible (I have very thick wavy hair). On top of that almost every morning I needed to straighten my hair/fringe with a straightening iron- and it still didn’t look good. After about 5 years of iron straightening my hair was very dry and damaged. I’ve been thinking about getting a permanent straightening for a while and spent a lot of time researching various straightening systems. I had two standard thermal reconditioning perms in the past. They helped to make my hair less frizzy for a while but didn’t straighten them and damaged my hair even more. If you had perms before and were put off by them, or if you watch Scrubs and think perms are for trailer trash, trust me : Yuko is completely different.

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My hair before Yuko

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My hair after Yuko

How does it work?

Yuko is simply amazing. It’s brilliant. Worth every penny. It sounds a bit superficial to say that it changed my life, but it kind of did. I think most of us want to have a hairstyle that requires no styling and looks perfect every day. This is what Yuko does. I am now able to wash my hair, blow dry it or leave to dry naturally and it looks as if I just had them professionally styled. It saves me so much time and money. I stopped buying styling products and all I use now is a fast drying heat protecting spray (KMS Free Shape). My hair never looked that good, perfectly straight and shinny. It also feels healthier than it did in a long time: I stopped using the straightening iron, styling products and conditioners with silicones and only use natural hair care products. I had Yuko for a month now and it’s only getting better. I will continue having it done every 6 months and can’t imagine going back to my natural hair.

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One month after Yuko

Are there any drawbacks?

It takes a while to get it done – I was in the salon for 5h! And it it’s a bit pricey (£250-£350). However, if you’re like me and are sick of spending hours trying to style your hair and failing, seriously – it’s worth every penny. Also, just think of all the time and money you’ll save.

Before I had it done, I was warned that it can make the hair really flat – which is fine for me cause I have a LOT of hair. The first couple of days however, it was really flat. I was a bit worried but after a couple of washes it started to look more natural. If you’ve got really fine hair, or just not a lot of it, perhaps something less strong, such as X tenso might be better for you. On the other hand, I have a friend with an afro and she says Yuko is the only treatment that tames her curls. Just make sure you know what you’re after before you get Yuko.  

The only other drawback is that I find it really difficult now to comb through my hair when they’re wet. This never happened before but apparently it’s normal with Yuko.

Moga Hair Salon: Avoid!

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Moga salon and Mia

There is a number of places in London that do Yuko. For example, Toni and Guy. However, Yuko (the company) strongly recommends that you should only have it done by a specially trained hair stylists: someone who attended Yuko training. So I decided to go to a Japanese salon – Moga. It was also significantly cheaper- about £100 cheaper than in other London salons. While I’m loving Yuko, Moga is not a good salon. I also went back to Moga two weeks ago for a haircut. I thought that since now my hair is straight I don’t need to spend a fortune on a haircut to make it look good. I was wrong.

Moga is a name of a famous hair salon chain in Japan. The one in London probably just uses the name and is not related to the Japanese chain. It’s quite well known amongst Japanese people living in London. Some of my non-Japanese (gaijin) friends have heard of it as well.  

So after two visits what can I say about Moga? Poor customer service.

Even though they have Western models on their website they are NOT gaijin-friendly. I know the manager speaks good English but I was stuck with a girl called Mia both times. And she doesn’t speak English. At all. And I mean at all. How do you become a hairdresser in London without knowing the English word for ‘layer’?! To be honest I don’t think she knows what a layer is in any language cause when she cut my hair her technique was like I imagine a 5 year old would approach cutting hair. I was really tempted to ask to see her qualifications.

I heard other hairdressers chatting with their clients, so I know that other people at Moga speak the language and make an attempt to connect with their customers. The salon manager seemed really lovely and friendly. However, for some reason the receptionist insisted on booking my appointment with Mia.

And this brings me to the main reason why I would not recommend Moga to anyone: when I asked the receptionist why she didn’t get someone who speaks English to cut my hair she said that it’s a Japanese salon for Japanese people. Message received – non-Japanese not welcome!

And then there was the way she cut my hair… it took me 2 years to grow out the last bad haircut. I have a note from a good hairdresser I used to know and  I always bring with me – it has clear instructions on how to cut my hair. I’ve show it to many hairdressers in the past and they all got it instantly. No surprise, Mia didn’t. This is probably the worst haircut I ever had.  Any other hair salon I would go back and complain. But with Moga there is not point cause they won’t understand me anyway.

One of the most amazing things about Japan is their customer service. They are the best in the world when it comes to making customers feel special, taken care of and appreciated. Japanese people are also famous for their punctuality. Moga doesn’t do Japanese- style customer service. It’s just a horrible and frustrating experience: customer service is poor and they don’t understand what you’re saying. And they even make you wait.  It’s pretty clear they are not looking to expand their customer base to gaijins.

 

So the bottom line is: while I’m pretty sure I will continue to have Yuko done every 6 months, and while this is a completely brilliant treatment, I will definitely not go back to Moga. And I don’t recommend it.

New Lush Favourites and London Beauty Bloggers Meetup

Last week I went to the third London Beauty Bloggers Meetup organised by lovely Rebbeca from http://www.biteablebeauty.com/. It’s a community of London-based beauty bloggers. It was the third meetup and the second one I attended.

This time we went to a Lush Face Mask Party where we made our own Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask. Unfortunately, it’s probably my least favourite Lush product ever. It makes me skin feel so rough. But I am a huge Lushie. I love everything about Lush: the idea behind the brand, the people who work there, their shops and their seasonal products. So I’ve decided to share with you some of my latest Lush favourites and new discoveries as well as some pics from the meetup.

Brazened Honey

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I thought I tried all Lush fresh face masks before but I must have missed this one. It’s a detox mask with a range of brightening and exfoliating ingredients:

fresh organic lime juice, sage, rosemary, eggs, honey, ground almond shells and almond oil, fresh ginger root and oil, fresh parsley and coriander, ground turmeric, ground cardamom, and clove bud oil

Ginger is probably my favourite ingredient/ spice of all time. I add it to almost everything: I drink ginger infusions, I add it as a powder to most sauces and dishes. I even drink ginger smoothies. It’s a brilliant ingredient because of its purifying, detoxifying and refreshing properties. Turmeric and parsley are two of the most powerful natural anti-cancer ingredients. The medicine that’s currently used to fight cancer is based on the active substances found in  turmeric. Parsley, although quite unassuming, is packed with good ingredients and is one of the healthiest things you can eat. Combining all these ingredients in a face masks is a brilliant idea and the results are simply superb. The best thing about this mask is that it is multifunctional. You can use it as a face mask but because it contains ground almond shells, when you wash it off it doubles as a lovely face scrub. I am obsessed with this face mask at the moment and use it every day. I genuinely feel that my face looks brighter.

All Lush facemasks are natural and have no preservatives in them. As a result you can only use them for 3 weeks and need to keep them in the fridge. If you haven’t tried them yet I strongly recommend you do.

Cynthia Sylvia Stout

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A couple of weeks ago I went to Lush looking for a natural shampoo for my damaged hair. I have tried Lush shampoos before, mostly solid ones, but wasn’t all that impressed. The Lush girl recommended this one because of its strong moisturising properties and the soft, glossy finish it gives. It’s a beer, or actually Stout-based shampoo. How cool is that! It doesn’t smell like beer: it has an amazing fruity, woody, spicy scent. In addition, it has:

Fresh organic lemon juice that helps to really clean your hair,

Cognac oil which gives this shampoo a lovely cognac and fruity scent,

Yeasts which helps to moisturise and nourish hair and have antioxidant properties, and

Balsamic vinegar that makes hair shiny and soft.

I really love the scent of this shampoo. I feel like it improved the condition of my hair and made it much stronger and shinier. With every wash my damaged ends feel less dry and my hair feels healthier. It doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients and silicones. It does however contain some parabens. I wish Lush would stop using parabens. There are so many products I love from Lush but can’t use because of this. I really don’t know what they are so determined to keep using them when so many other companies switch to safer preservatives. Because it’s a shampoo and most of it goes down the drain anyway, I will continue using it for now. I think parabens are a bit less of a problem in a product that doesn’t sink into the skin like for example a body lotion.

It doesn’t lather particularly well and I did go through the small bottle quite quickly but on the other hand it’s not very expensive either.

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And here are some pics from our lovely meetup. Rebecca is a great organiser: she’s so good at finding sponsors, coming up with great activities and finding lovely restaurants/cafes for our meetups. If you’d like to find out more about our meetups and London beauty bloggers visit our website and make sure you check out bloggers profiles.

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