Of all the styling options and techniques available to women of colour, chemical relaxing remains the ultimate style of choice among those with textured hair types. With an increasing number of new curl relaxer kits on the market, selecting the perfect relaxer for your hair can be tricky.
Types of Relaxers
Relaxers come in two varieties: lye and no-lye. Lye relaxers are professional relaxers that contain the active ingredient sodium hydroxide. No-lye relaxers are over-the-counter relaxer formulas that can be used at home. These relaxers typically use guanidine hydroxide and must be pre-mixed. No-lye formulas tend to be sensitive scalp formulas and are easiest on colour-treated hair.
Who will Apply the Relaxer?
The relaxer you select should be based on who will be applying the treatment. If you are going to apply the relaxer, choose a no-lye relaxer. If you prefer the ease of having a stylist apply the relaxer, choose a professional relaxer system.
Professional Relaxer Systems
Some of the most popular professional relaxer systems used in black salons today are: Affirm, Mizani, Design Essentials and Motions. Many salons carry at least one or two of these popular lye brands.
Consumer Friendly Formulas
Some of the best no-lye brands on the market are no-lye versions of the professional relaxer brands. Affirm, Mizani, Motions and Design Essentials all make no-lye versions of their lye formulas. Other great no-lye brands to choose from include: Organic Root Stimulator, Dark and Lovely, Optimum and Soft and Beautiful to name a few.
Always exercise caution when applying a chemical treatment to your own tresses. Both lye and no-lye relaxers can cause irreparable damage to the hair and scalp.
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