Is bio ionic hair straightener better?

Marie’s bemused by Bio Ionic: I’m considering getting my hair permanently straightened using the Bio Ionic thermal straightening process. I did a bit of research but the information seems a bit too sciencey and kind of what you’d expect from infomercials. The website talks about “negative ionic, infrared and electromagnetic wave charges simultaneously” and shattering “water molecule clusters into micro-fine particles.” My alarm bells are ringing but I know The Beauty Brains will be able to confirm or deny!

This doesn’t come cheap either – I’m looking at $300 to $600 for something that may or may not leave my hair straight. Is this really the “biggest evolutionary leap in hairdressing ever” or the biggest load of bull?

The Right Brain’s recommendation:

The answer lies somewhere in between but probably closer to “bull.”

What is Bio Ionic?

Bio Ionic Inc., was founded by professional stylist Fernando Romero. According to his website, Fernando traveled to Japan where he discovered natural ion therapy. Today Bio Ionic has an entire line of products using this “powerful healing energy.”

What does Bio Ionic supposedly do?

The main claim of the line revolves around these natural ions that are “powerful enough to break water molecule clusters into micro-fine particles and penetrate the hair shaft. That means moisture balance is restored and the hair cuticle is sealed.” It’s a great sounding story, but it doesn’t really mean all that much in terms of real science. Water will penetrate into a hair shaft just fine without being converted into pseudo-scientific micro-fine particles, thank you very much. Of course, that doesn’t stop Bio Ionic from using this natural ion complex in their shampoos, conditioner, and styling products as well as their line of styling tools (blow dryers, flat irons, etc.).

Perhaps the most interesting product in their line is their so called Ion-Retexturizing System which is a “permanent straightening process designed for people with curly, frizzy or unruly hair who want to wear their hair permanently straight.”

Does Bio Ionic really work?

Their website contains a FAQ section that reveals Ion-retexturizing formula is based on Thioglycolate at pH 9.5 with a Neutralizer at pH 3.0. This chemistry will be very familiar to anyone who has had their hair permed. Thioglycolate is used to chemically break down the disulfide bonds in hair and the low pH neutralizer reforms the bonds to lock the hair into a new shape. This is old school technology used in a perms to to take straight hair and change its shape to curly. But there’s no reason that you can’t use the same chemistry to take curly hair and make it straight. So the answer is yes, Bio Ionic will straighten your hair.

But unlike a regular perm, Bio Ionics uses heat to boost the straightening power of the treatment. So, the answer is YES, this product will do what it says. It will permanently straighten your hair. But it has nothing to do with micro-fine natural ions.

Why is Bio Ionic so expensive?

You’re paying for the time and expertise of the stylist doing the procedure. Despite Bio Ionic’s claims to the contrary, if you’re not careful you can seriously damage your hair. (They are correct though, it is less damaging than other chemical straighteners like relaxers.)

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Bio Ionic’s Ion-Retexturizing System uses a combination of permanent wave chemistry and heat to effectively straighten your hair. But there is no special science or technology in their natural ion therapy that makes this product work.

What’s YOUR favorite hair straightening product? Do you use styling tools like Farouk’s Straightening Iron, chemical processes like Motions Relaxer, or styling products like Philip B Drop Dead Straightening Baum? Leave a comment and share your straight dope with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.