If you Google hair relaxers, there is a page written by the FDA about them. This is because they receive a lot of complaints about black hair relaxers. As many of us have learned, if they are not applied or cared for properly, they can cause scalp burns and/or irritations and hair loss.
When you apply a relaxer, you permanently change the chemical bonds in the hair. The actual smoothing and combing of the chemical in your hair helps in the straightening process. Once the hair is straightened, a neutralizer stops the relaxer from working and ph balances the hair. The PH of neutralizers is between 1-5. Hair has a natural PH of 4-6.
When it comes to relaxing your hair, (which refers to loosening and/or straightening wavy or curly hair), there are three different types.
Lye relaxers are the strongest and have been around the longest. They used to be horrible for your hair but now that they have conditioning lye relaxers that conditions as you relax. This is the best type for your hair. It contains sodium hydroxide and a high PH of 10-14. The high PH is why you tend to get faster results with a lye relaxer.
No-lye relaxers have calcium hydroxide. They tend to be milder on the scalp but they also cause calcium buildup. This calcium buildup prevents your hair from receiving needed moisture from shampoos and conditioners. This leads to a lot of dryness and breakage.
Texturizers work similarly to relaxers. They have just have less amounts of the strong ingredients. They have Ammonium bisulfite and ammonium thioglycolate. They do not straighten the hair and tend to have a low PH. They simply relax the curl patten and leave your hair in a more manageable state. Maybe I should say they make it easier to manage your hair.
There is also a lot of hype about natural relaxers. Be careful when purchasing these. Making one "homemade" with natural ingredients is one thing but from what I have read, a lot people are spending money on these "natural relaxers" that either dry their hair out or do not give any results.
Follow the tips and safety guidelines for black hair relaxers and seek out a professional if you can. In fact, make every effort to have a relaxer professionally installed and find the best relaxer for you.
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