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Relaxers 101: Everything You Need to Know About Hair Relaxers

by Gloria Kelley

Relaxers 101: Everything You Need to Know About Hair Relaxers

Hair relaxers have been a staple in the beauty industry for decades, providing a way to achieve smooth, straight hair for those with curly or wavy textures. If you’re considering using a hair relaxer or just want to learn more about this chemical treatment, this guide will cover everything you need to know.

What Are Hair Relaxers?

Hair relaxers are chemical products designed to permanently straighten curly or wavy hair. They work by breaking down the protein bonds in the hair shaft, altering the hair’s natural structure. The result is straighter, smoother hair that remains straight until new growth appears.

Types of Hair Relaxers

There are two main types of hair relaxers: lye and no-lye relaxers. Each has its own benefits and considerations:

Lye Relaxers

  • Ingredient: Sodium hydroxide
  • Benefits: Faster processing time, produces a smoother finish
  • Considerations: Can be more irritating to the scalp

No-Lye Relaxers

  • Ingredients: Calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate
  • Benefits: Gentler on the scalp, less likely to cause irritation
  • Considerations: Can cause more dryness and require chelating shampoos to remove calcium buildup

Benefits of Hair Relaxers

    Relaxed hair is easier to comb, brush, and style. It reduces the time needed for daily hair care routines.
        Relaxed hair can be styled in various ways, from sleek ponytails to intricate updos. It also holds styles longer without reverting to its natural texture.

          Challenges of Hair Relaxers

          Maintaining relaxed hair can be challenging, with issues ranging from dryness, brittleness, and limpness to scalp irritation during relaxer application, difficulties in retaining length, and damage from chemical overlapping and stress on fragile strands. Let's explore these challenges, discuss effective solutions, and learn how to preserve the integrity of your relaxed hair for strength, health, and optimal length retention.

          Dryness and Brittleness
            Relaxers can strip the hair of natural oils, leading to dryness and increased susceptibility to breakage.
              Scalp Sensitivity
                The chemicals in relaxers can cause scalp irritation or burns if the scalp is inflamed prior to the service, or if if the relaxer is applied to a sensitive scalp without the  use of a base.

                    How to Overcome Relaxed Hair Challenges

                    Maintain Moisture
                      Use hydrating shampoos and conditioners. Deep condition weekly to replenish moisture.
                        Protein Treatments
                          Incorporate protein treatments into your routine once a month to strengthen the hair and prevent breakage.
                            Gentle Handling
                              Use wide-tooth combs or detangling brushes to minimize breakage. Avoid excessive heat styling and always use a heat protectant.
                                Scalp Care
                                  Keep your scalp clean and free from product build up, and avoid scratching or irritating the scalp before applying relaxers to prevent burns.
                                    Professional Application
                                      Have relaxers applied by a professional to ensure even application and minimize the risk of scalp burns and hair damage.
                                        Regular Trims
                                          Get regular trims every 8-12 weeks to remove split ends and prevent breakage.

                                            Tips for Healthy Relaxed Hair

                                            Proper Relaxer Touch-Ups
                                              Plan your relaxer touch-ups every 6-8 weeks, ensuring there is sufficient new growth. Proper application is crucial to avoid overlapping, so it’s advisable to consult a professional who can identify the line of demarcation where new growth begins. This step is essential for preventing over-processing and minimizing the risk of damage.
                                                Protective Styles
                                                  Use protective styles like buns, braids, and twists to minimize manipulation and protect your hair from damage.
                                                    Balanced Diet and Hydration
                                                      Maintain a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and drink plenty of water to support hair health from within.


                                                        Hair relaxers can provide sleek, manageable, and versatile hair, but they also require diligent care to maintain health and prevent damage. By understanding the benefits and challenges of hair relaxers and following proper care practices, you can enjoy the beauty of relaxed hair while keeping it strong and healthy. Whether you’re new to relaxing your hair or a seasoned pro, these tips will help you maintain the integrity and beauty of your relaxed hair.



                                                        @kelleytresses Healthy haircare. Natural hair goals✨ #relaxedhair #longhair #longnaturalhair #longhairjourney #waistlengthhair #naturalhairgoals #hairgoal #tiktokhair #miamihair #fortlauderdalehair #fortlauderdalehairstylist #southflorida #hairsalon ♬ original sound - Ms. Kelley

                                                        Gloria Kelley
                                                        Gloria Kelley


                                                        Gloria Kelley is a professional hairstylist who specializes in healthy-haircare, hair weaving, and wig-making.

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