Hair Relaxer

What is a hair relaxer? What does it do? Is it like a straightener? Does it work as a conditioner? Too many questions, right? Well then stop wondering and read the article to know all about it.
My friend Debbie has the curliest hair in the world. They are stubborn, but gorgeous. Considering the fact that I have plain and simple straight hair, I have always envied her for them. But she always says one thing to me "the grass is always greener on the other side". I recently discovered that just like me, she faces major problems with her hair as well. Her curls are too stubborn for her to manage and comb through. They get frizzy and absolutely unmanageable in humid weather and if she misses applying the relaxer even once, she is the victim of the most torturous bad hair days. Since I am completely naive about hair relaxers, I started my research, as always. Here I am with the results.

What is a Hair Relaxer

A relaxer is a sort of cream, lotion or serum. It has to be externally applied on the hair. It helps in relaxing the curls and making the hair less curly. This helps at making it more capable to straighten the hair. These creams or serums are mostly alkaline based. It is a chemical change that occurs because of the alkaline, that relaxes the stubborn curls. There are some relaxers that use a chemical formulation around ammonium thioglycolate. Considering the fact that hair relaxers are mostly (always) chemical-based, their usage should be pondered over, rather than rushed into.

Hair Relaxers for ...

.. White People
Due to the basic DNA makeup, white people tend to have hair that are a tad more delicate than brown or black people. As such, they require to use milder relaxers. More so, weather conditions in places that are predominantly occupied by white people, is far more conducive to allow the hair to stay the way they are. Hence it would be a far smarter choices for an individual to consult with a dermatologist, or a hair specialist and confirm the use of these relaxers. While, it is absolutely fine to use a hair relaxer, one needs to consider conducive chemical make up and other factors. The same rule would apply to Asians, Latino or African-American people. I know I may have bordered on sounding racist, but, it was important to clarify that due to the cultural and basic DNA make up difference, the required precautions need to be taken.

.. Curly Hair
While it was a laugh riot on my table the first time someone asked me if hair relaxers can be used for curly hair as well, I later found out that it is a doubt in several minds. Well, they can be used by anybody who has rough and coarse hair. So, while it is mostly used by people who have curly hair, several people with slightly wavy or painfully straight hair also resort to using it. It is important to identify the nature of your curls to know what kind and degree of a relaxer to resort to. Hence, it is mostly suggested and optimal to take the hair relaxer treatment at a salon. This way, the expert can judge your hair and use the appropriate solution. More so, considering that most relaxers are alkaline-based, it is best to neutralize it by washing the hair with an acidic shampoo. Again, this is something that the salon will take care of as a part of the treatment.

Using Hair Relaxers During Pregnancy

Several chemical treatments are often asked to be avoided during pregnancy. The same rule would apply for relaxers to a certain extent. It is often suggested to completely avoid it during the first trimester, which is said to be the most delicate part of the pregnancy. While going through the hair relaxing treatment may not be harmful, because the chemical is scarcely absorbed in the skin. Nonetheless, it is said the inhaling the fumes in the process of the treatment may be harmful for the baby. As such, for a safe pregnancy, with no tension, it would be best to delay their use during the pregnancy.

Well, that has been quite an informative journey about hair relaxers. So, in conclusion, it is simple, you can go through the treatment, as long as you do it with expert supervision, and when you are not pregnant. Else, you can live with the head of hair you are blessed with. This is where I sign off!! All the best!
By Rashida Khilawala
Last Updated: 9/26/2011
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