Big in Japan

Japanese hair innovations you need to know about

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Before (and after) Ghds and the Brazilian blow-dry there was Frizz Ease, a serum humidity shield that gave glossy hair to the masses thanks to John Frieda. The brand is part of Japan's Kao beauty powerhouse lending them cutting edge research resource for innovative launches like this. But while we all know and love Frizz Ease, entirely Japanese brands are constantly launching pioneering products.

Game-changing hair cleansers
The Eastern approach to haircare fuses early-adopter technology with ancient rituals. Iconic Japanese brand Shu Uemura Art of Hair centers on product layering, an Eastern concept we've adopted (to an extent) with our skincare too, and the luxury brand's key beauty principle has always been that 'oil removes oil' – way before most of us bought into that concept. The pioneering Cleansing Oil range was the first of its kind to take this approach to a shampoo and make one that removes impurities without weighing the hair down, suitable for every tress type.

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Inspired by generations of Japanese women washing their hair with 'rice water' (drained from cooking their staple grain), people now love 'hair water', a rinse that treats the scalp with rice protein and ingredients like castor oil for healthy growth. Another natural alternative to chemical-based shampoos is the Japanese seaweed cleanser and conditioner: Funori by Wawaza. Like the new co-wash products that have gripped the UK, this all-in-one wash makes hair smooth yet voluminous, treats split ends and supplies nutrients to the scalp.

The magic root concealer
Another innovation that's hit the UK is the newly launched Root Vanish by celebrity colourist Kazumi. The non-transferable colour cover-up was designed on one of her trips back to Japan after she couldn't find the right formula in the US.

"I found a unique gel formula that effectively covered greys without leaving any residue and without drying the hair and scalp. To this, I added the extracts and oils of 22 botanical ingredients known in Japan to hydrate and promote healthy hair such as Yuzu, Ginger Root, Persimmon Fruit, Japanese Black and Seaweed. The thick brush-tip applicator was inspired by the calligraphy brushes from Japan." It gives roots a dense, dimensional look – saving on the salon trips.
<blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div></div> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://instagram.com/p/4YbEgvOp9R/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">Working on my next project! This is where ROOT VANISH is made, it&#39;s in middle of beautiful rice fields, stay tuned! #rootvanish #naturalhaircare #naturalproduct #colorshampoo #kazumimorton #colorist #japaneseproduct #madeinjapan #japan #kyushu #graycover #白髪染め #無添加 #ヘアカラー #ヘアカラーシャンプー</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by Kazumi Morton (@kazumimorton) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2015-06-26T06:03:25+00:00">Jun 25, 2015 at 11:03pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote>
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Outside of the home, the salons are benefiting from Eastern innovation, too. Gary Evans, Art Team and Education Director at top trend-led salon Taylor Taylor London, told us the latest things that are currently in use and development.

The straight perm
The 'magic straight perm' is basically thermal reconditioning for unruly hair, eliminating the need to blow-dry. The new system uses high temperatures instead of harsh chemicals to permanently restructure the bonds of the hair leaving it perfectly smooth, straight and glossy and it's resistant to humidity, chlorine and rain. Unlike the Brazilian blow-dry, the magic straight perm only needs doing once a year, with just the roots topping up every 3 months or so.

The hot new scissors
The amazing heated scissors have evolved and now have a temperature control. Using heat the thermo-cut scissor system seals the hair during cutting to cure split ends and promote healthy hair growth. There is also now a thermo razor available for texturising and personalising hairstyles – short and long.

The hair robot
The Panasonic hair robot is a combination of 24 'fingers' and hundreds of sensors which analyse the client's scalp tissue softness and measure the scalp to decide how much pressure to use during a 3-minute wash, massage and condition. It even combs through the hair at the end of the service. Originally built for hospitals and care homes in Japan, the robot is now breaking into Tokyo's high-end salons and will hopefully head here soon.

Check it out in the video below, you can almost feel the future.
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From the editors of ELLE.com

Photo above from Getty Images

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