What is a hair relaxer, exactly? We've got your questions answered.

By definition, a hair relaxer is a lotion or cream that makes the hair easier to straighten and manage. It reduces the curl by breaking down the hair strand and chemically altering the texture.  Most women who decide to get their hair relaxed have curls that are unmanageable and in need of taming. The results vary depending on your hair type, but usually a hair relaxer will leave your hair straight for about six to eight weeks. Unlike other permanent straightening methods, relaxing your hair will require touch-ups from time to time.  You can go to a professional stylist, or you can purchase a hair relaxing kit to be used at home.

hair relaxer

Relaxed hairstyles can be super-cute. Just be sure you have all the info before having a relaxer put in.

What are the benefits of going to a professional?

While getting your hair relaxed by a professional is expensive, it is really the healthiest option for your hair.   Putting any sort of chemicals in your hair can be damaging, and it requires careful attention that a professional can give. First off, a professional can perform a “strand test,” which will test the strength of your hair in order to further assess which type of relaxer is best for you. Apart from their years of experience, some professionals actually keep records of what treatments you have had or what procedures other clients had that will help them determine the best type of relaxer for you.

What are the different types of hair relaxers?

Hair relaxers, most commonly, are available in two types: Lye relaxers and No-Lye relaxers. Opinions on the two vary, but as with everything, it depends on your hair type and texture. Lye relaxers are known to work quickly on the hair, but as a result they might also rinse out of your hair easily. Their main ingredient is sodium hydroxide, and they are also known as “alkali” relaxers. No-lye, on the other hand, is mostly made of calcium hydroxide, which can dry out the hair. However, no-lye is better for people with sensitive scalps. When using no-lye, it is imperative that you use a “de-calcifying” shampoo to prevent calcium buildup.