Sandra Yu, technical director of Rusk Inc., took some time out to talk about Rusk Radical Anticurl. Anticurl is based on thioglycolic acid, which tends to be milder than other relaxers. It has a lower pH than the sodium hydroxide relaxers and is more gentle to the hair and scalp. Unlike sodium hydroxide relaxers, Anticurl is reversible.
It is a texturizer, 'not a relaxer or a straightener,' Yu says. 'It's more like a Valium for the hair. It takes the edge off.'
Yu: It works on all types of hair. It comes in three formulations - 1 is for normal hair, 2 is for more porous, chemically treated hair, and 3 is for more resistant hair. For Type 4 hair, it loosens up the curl and reduces frizz. For looser curls, it softens up the hair, taking it down a couple of perm rod sizes.
Naturallycurly.com: Who shouldn't use Anticurl?
Yu: People who have relaxed their hair with a sodium hydroxide relaxer. They don't mix. It's like giving a chemical haircut.
Naturallycurly.com: Does it completely straighten the hair?
Yu: You'll still have bend in the hair. People with curly hair think they want straight hair, but they don't. With straight, flat hair, they wouldn't know what to do with it. It will be straight enough, but will still have body. If they want more curl out of their hair, they can do another application in four weeks if the hair is in good condition.
Naturallycurly.com: How does it work?
Yu: It's a two-step process performed by a professional stylist. The first step softens the bonds of the hair. The second puts them back together.
Naturallycurly.com: How is it applied?
Yu: The thick cream is combed through 3/4-inch sections, starting about an inch away from the roots. It doesn't have to be combed consistently like a regular straightener. Once the application is complete, the hair is combed back. Then you start timing. The stylist will comb the hair from one side to the other, from left to right and then from right to left, keeping it as flat as possible. For normal hair, the process takes about 20 to 25 minutes. For more porous, color-treated hair, it takes around 15 minutes.Once that process is complete, it is rinsed out of the hair for 4 to 5 minutes, until the water runs clear. The hair is towel dried and combed smooth again. Then Phase II is applied to 3/4-inch sections, combing the hair nice and flat, from the back to the top of the head. After the second phase is applied, the stylist combs the hair from side to side for five minutes. After that, the process is complete. The hair is rinsed well.
Naturallycurly.com: How much does the process cost?
Yu: It varies. Some stylists charge around $50. Others can charge as much as $200. It depends upon the salon.
Naturallycurly.com: How often can you do it?
Yu: You can do it every eight to 12 weeks. Some people like to do it more during the summertime because of the humidity. It gives some relaxation of the curls, but eventually the curls come back. But it will never be as curly as it used to be and the frizz won't come back.
Naturallycurly.com: What products do you recommend to maintain hair after Anticurl?
Yu: I like Rusk Smoother Shampoo, Calm Conditioner, Brilliance Leave-In Conditioner and Rusk Masque with balm mint and babassu. Curly hair loves moisture. To style, I use Str8.
Naturallycurly.com: How can you find a stylist in your area that does Anticurl?
Yu: You can call 1-800-Use-Rusk.