Hair Care, Hair Knowledge, Relaxed Hair

Relaxers Intro 101…

 

relaxer kits

So you are probably wondering, why is naturalhairchiquita blooging about “Relaxers” aka Creamy Crack???  Shouldn’t this Chiquita be about natual hair???

So why this blog??? Am sure many of you have noticed a significant amount of women are going from natural hair to relaxed hair. In fact there was an awesome article on it by Kanisha Parks, to which I posted a response to, which can be found here. Anyway, I saw some months back a youtube video by a Naija Chaiquita, Uwani Aliyu.

Who went from natural to relaxed hair after 6 years and I was very shocked. In fact, I was #shookethed at what was done to her hair. Not that she relaxed her hair but how it was relaxed. In my opinion, the stylist damaged her beautiful healthy hair.  I was like I need to post on this asap. Like I have seen other youtube relaxer videos such as this and the end result did not look like Uwani Aliyu’s hair. Even though I am a natural hair chiquita, I still saw so many red flags in Uwanj Aliyu’s video.

So I was going to post on what to do and not to do and then I said nahhh let me educate myself on relaxers and then share the knowledge. 

Disclaimmer – I am not here to say don’t relax your hair or bash people who have relaxed their hair. I am just going to give you the facts of what a relaxer does and it is up to you to do what you want.

So before I get into how one should go about relaxing their hair if they want to, let’s start with Relaxer Intro 101.

What is a relaxer??? It is a manmade chemical. A very strong chemical with a very high alkaline pH balance.

What does a relaxer do??? A relaxer is designed to straighten your hair. More specifically, a relaxer gives your hair the appearance of a straight look. #Facts did you know that a relaxer actually does not straighten your hair. Specifically, if you have tight kinky curly hair the “relaxer will break down, and distort the protein bonds of your hair. The integrity of your curl is now stretched and has fallen down hence given you the appearance of straighten hair” -GreenBeauty. Side note:-This is some serious whelp…so one goes through all this damaging products and your hair is not even straightened. Nahhh son this aint right.

curly cortex

image: GreenBeauty

How does this work??? The relaxer will lift your hair cuticles to reach and work on the cortex of your hair to get your hair to have that straight look. But the relaxer does not just lift your cuticles, you know how water (not hard water) is a safe way to lift your cuticles, yeah a relaxer does not do that. The relaxer eats/burns away (which is how it lifts your hair cuticle) your healthy cuticle layers to get to your hair cortex. It is the hair cortex that gives the appearance of straight hair. The relaxer raids the cuticle and the bonds within the hair strands as a result, the cuticles and bonds are seized, broken apart and physically rearranged.

image: GreenBeautydamaged-cortext.png

image: GreenBeauty

And after enough use and time the relaxer will eat away at your cortex (the cortex of the hair shaft is located between the hair cuticle and medulla and is the thickest hair layer. The cortex is what gives hair volume and also controls flexibility and elasticity). A typical relaxer sits on one’s hair for about 10 to 20 mins (depending on the instructions). So imagine you relax your hair often for a long period of time….yeap your hair cortex will get affected.

A relaxer usually comes with a relaxer kit, and this kit contains:-

A protective gel – Some relaxers kit provide this such as Dr. Miracle’s relaxer kit to protect the edges and scalp during the relaxing process.

A cream (this cream contains a lot of synthetic ingredients that is not good for your hair…e.g. parabens). This cream has a pH balance of about 5.

The liquid activator, which when mixed with the cream creates the relaxer, remember a relaxer has a high pH balance between 10 and 13 but there are some relaxers that have a pH balance of 14.

NSimage: GreenBeauty

A neutralizing shampoo (pH Balance of 5 to 6). This shampoo is acidic and is designed to close up the damaged cuticles and strip the hair of any remaining relaxer.  

RC

image: GreenBeauty

A reconstructive treatment or conditioner (pH balance of 5 to 6), this treatment contains harmful synthetic materials and the treatment is designed to further close your cuticles (or what is left of it).

LC

image: GreenBeauty

The leave-in conditioner and moisturizer which contains parabens and mineral oils.

Did you notice the pH balance of the products in the relaxer kit??? Did you notice the pH swing??? The very high alkaline relaxer to the acidic shampoo and conditioner. In the application of a relaxer, your hair not only goes through a strong chemical treatment but your hair’s pH balance is going back and forth. Remember products that are too acidic or too alkaline can be extremely damaging to the hair cuticle. The human hair/scalp has natural pH Balance between 4.5 and 5.5.

There you have it… this is exactly how relaxers work… am shookethed.

I am going to be honest, there are some people with healthy beautiful relaxed hair and it is because of the way they treat and care for their hair before, during and after using a relaxer and another important fact is that they are fortunate enough to have really good hair structure,  using GreenBeauty’s Hair typing system , (curl pattern, texture, density, thickness and porosity). Their curl pattern is not too tight, their hair’s natural oil easily goes through their hair from roots to end, their texture is not too loose or tight, which allows for oils and moisture to penetrate the hair and stay there. They have thick hair and good density and their porosity is normal. All these combines to let their hair be strong and healthy and be able withstand manipulation and chemical treatments.  

GBTC

image: GreenBeauty

On all the lines, the further you land on the right the more fragile your hair is. This does not mean that if your hair falls on the left then your hair is strongest…NOPE, it does NOT.

Source: GreenBeauty, I recommend her youtube channel because she provides alot of useful, informative and educational facts about natural hair.

Now if after all of this, you still want to RELAX your hair then this is how you properly relax your hair 

Pre step: – Make sure your hair is washed, blow dried and detangled. This is the best way to prep the hair before relaxing because this step helps the scalps before application of the relaxer. 

Step 1 – gently detangle the hair. Don’t disturb the scalp

If your scalp is tender from detangling or irritated before applying the creamy crack then as you relax your hair, the relaxer will sting and burn. I remember those days when I used to get relaxed… it hurt so bad.

Divide the hair into sections

Step 2 –apply protective gel to the scalp and hair line. Some people use protective hair cream instead of gel. Everyone knows a relaxer is a very strong chemical, so whenever you relax your hair please don’t skip this step.

Step 3 – Application:-

Virgin application – First time getting a relaxer

Retouch application – Applying to the new growth

When applying relaxer first start in the cold zone which is the area between the root and the ends, the mid shaft of the hair. You don’t apply the creamy crack (sorry but this phase cracks me up) to the roots immediately because near the roots generate the most body heat which leads to quick processing time. So if you apply the relaxer first to the roots it will over process the hair and cause break off.  The ends of the hair are the oldest part of the hair and the most fragile and relaxer added there in the beginning of the application will cause breakage as well.

Step 4 – Then apply relaxer to the roots and ends, put the relaxer to the edges last because the edges a soft and fragile. Over processing your hair is never a good thing.

Step 5 – Smooth the relaxer… do not comb through. Use the back of the comb or the stick end of a rat tail comb when you smooth the relaxer through. A comb through a strong chemical on your hair can cause the hair to snap and break.

Step 6 – Let the relaxer process for the instructed time or less if needed. You don’t have to sit for 30 mins and above for the hair to relax. Relaxers work fast, but seriously, please just follow the instructions on your relaxer kit.

Step 7 – Wash off the relaxer with the appropriate shampoo, a neutralizing shampoo. You want to neutralize the hair from all that chemical using a neutralizing shampoo. Hence using a neutralizing shampoo lets you know when the relaxer is out of your hair. If the soap is still pink then the relaxer is still in it but if the soap turns white then you are good to go.

Step 8 – After applying that heavy chemical to your hair and washing your hair with a neutralizing shampoo it is time to add moisture to your hair….the reconstructive treatment/conditioner. Please use what the kit provides… don’t substitute. This will further close up your hair cuticles and try to restore your hair back to its normal pH balance.

Step 9 – Apply the kit’s leave in conditioner

Blow dry the hair, trim and style

Tip – lay your edges with moose, so u don’t have to add edge control (I don’t like gel). 

 

 

 

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