Risks of Hair Relaxers: Details about Relaxers and Other Chemically Straightened Hair
Some people decide to go natural after they see the chemical damage from their relaxers or other chemical treatments. However, there are also some people who are trying to go natural but it seems like it’s too hard, expensive or time consuming.
Look, I understand. I can relate to how frustrating it can be to see a hairstyle that you worked hard on not turn out how you wanted. I also understand that it seems like there are all these rules that you have to follow in order to have healthy hair when you’re used to being able to do whatever you felt like doing. Because of this, some are considering going back to chemicals. I’m not here to tell you what to do with your own hair, but I will tell you a little bit of what to expect if you decide to go this route.
If you decide that you want to go back to chemically straightened hair, then know that you do have options. Gone are the days where you had to stick with Just For Me or Dark and Lovely. Now you have texturizers, relaxers, and rebonding. All of these straighten hair in different ways or to different extents.
I started with this one because it’s the most popular. Relaxers cause straight hair by breaking down the disulfide bonds that form the curl pattern. Common types include Lye or No Lye, and Hydroxide. Some subtypes are base and no base.
Base just means that it comes with the protective cream built in while no base doesn’t have that cream. Either way, it’s best to add further protection in order to keep yourself from burning too much.
Also, no matter what type of relaxer you get, you should always have it done by a professional. NEVER DO IT AT HOME BY YOURSELF IF YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR HAIR!!!!!!!! Go bald because you want to, not because you played yourself.
The most common reported effects of relaxers are various forms of hair damage. It’s easy for hair to fall out, get frizzy, or even get dandruff. A study performed in 2013 in India showed that around 95% of the women who participated reported some sort of adverse effect on their hair.
They’ve also been linked to tumors and traction alopecia when combined with high-tension hairstyles. In my personal experience, getting relaxers took the thickness out of my hair. I’m not saying that any of this will happen to you, I’m just trying to make you aware of some things that other people have reported and that might happen.
Texturizers are basically the same thing as relaxers since they contain the same ingredients, they’re just not left on the hair as long. While the latter is designed to make your hair as straight as possible, texturizers are designed to just loosen your curl pattern.
It works best on short hair because it’s easier to make sure that the whole head has the same curl pattern. With longer hair, touch ups may cause some strands to become straight while others have the desired curl. Some people use it when they’re considering transitioning to natural, and they want to try curly hair but don’t want to be completely natural yet. Other people use it in order to get “manageable” curly hair.
People consider texturizers as “less harsh” and some companies even market them as natural. That is NOT true! They might have a few natural ingredients, but ultimately they are chemicals.
If you decide to use one, whether it is “natural” or not, then you need to realize that you are still deciding to have chemically treated hair and you are not going natural. I’m NOT saying that anything is essentially wrong with this, but I am saying that you shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that you can get a texturizer and still be natural. No you can’t, stop trying to cheat.
One thing I have to mention is this trend of people relaxing or texturizing their edges and still saying that they’re natural. If you’re thinking about doing that then I have a question for you…. What did I just say? You can’t be natural with chemically treated hair. Once again, I’m not here to demonize you, I just want you to be honest with others and honest with yourself.
If you decided to go natural, what makes your edges so special (or horrible) that they made you decide to get them treated? If you really want to slick them down and you haven’t found anything that works, go on YouTube and find out what people with your hair type are using.
There are tons of edge controls that work for thick and coiled hair, if you don’t want to keep buying and trying edge controls, then let YouTube do the work for you. Also, what’s wrong with not laying your edges? It’s perfectly ok to just set them with a scarf or let them be.
This is a third option to get straight hair if you decide not to go with any of the other two options. Rebonding is a practice that started in Japan and is popular throughout Asia. It uses different chemicals than relaxers or texturizers but achieves the same straightening results.
You apply the cream then let it set similar to a perm, then you wash and flat iron your hair. After it’s flat ironed, you use a neutralizing agent in order to maintain the structure if the hair before rinsing and flat ironing again. The bonds are permanently set and it looks like you have naturally straight hair.
Rebonded hair looks really beautiful, but as is the case with everything, it has drawbacks that you need to be aware of. The first thing that I saw was the price. Everything I read said that the treatments can cost anywhere between $350-$1000!
I almost ended the post right here ‘cause the price damn near knocked me out. Now that I revived, lets continue. The price is so high because the treatment can take a few hours. However, it can last for a long time if maintained properly.
That being said, it takes a lot to maintain. If you think natural hair is bad, rebounded hair is on a whole other level! There are a lot of things that you can’t do for the first month after you receive the treatment. It’s a lot, so I’m just going to leave a link to an article if you would like to know more about it.
I read mixed reviews about the damage it can cause to kinky-coily hair. Some people said it’s really damaging while others said that it’s essentially less damaging to relaxers.
I read posts saying that some women experienced a lot of hair loss while others said that their hair has never been better. I always suggest that people do their own research, and in this case I truly want to emphasize you doing research if this is something that you’re considering.
I seriously want to re-iterate that even though I strongly encourage people to go natural and embrace what they have, I don’t demonize anyone who wants to chemically change their hair pattern. I had relaxers before and I also used to flat ironed hair, so I’m nobody to criticize. My goal in writing this post was to make you aware of some of the pros and cons of various chemical straighteners.
I just want you to be careful and ALWAYS CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL before doing any of these treatments. Please don’t try to do any of these by yourself, find somebody who knows what they’re doing. Do your research when trying to find a qualified stylist and only take suggestions when you actually like the person’s hair. I’m just saying, don’t take suggestions from just anybody because if their hair is trash, yours will be too.
Comment below if you had any of these treatments and the effect it had on your hair’s health. Let’s share information and help each other out.
If you found this article helpful, pin the image below to any natural hair or hair care board on Pinterest by clicking the red “Pinterest save” button that shows when you click or tap on the image. Spread the word and help people understand what they’re getting into by chemically straightening their hair.
Thumbnail photo from Cflgroup Media