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Texturizers are nothing new to women with afro-textured hair and in fact have been around longer than the natural hair movement. In the 1990’s, most women of color were relaxed and if you wanted something outside of straight or full-fledge natural you opted for a texturizer, and it was often used for short hair. Also, it wasn’t like an actual product but rather the same relaxer being applied to your hair with only a fraction of the time to process.  

A texturizer will loosen your curl pattern without the intensity of a relaxer, but this will not convert your Type 4 hair into a Type 3. Everyone one’s hair processes differently. Yussy in Curly Q&A wants to know more about texturizers to reduce the maintenance of her Type 4a hair.


I will like to know the side effects of texturizing a 4a type hair. I have a 4a type hair which is hard for me to maintain, I am thinking of texturizing it.  Please what are the side effects of texturizing natural hair?


First, let’s discuss what a texturizer is. A texturizer/texlax is a processing cream designed to help loosen tightly coiled hair. Often compared to a relaxer, which is also a processing cream, but the difference is the texturizer is left on the hair for a much shorter time than a relaxer. Both products contain sodium hydroxide (lye”> or calcium hydroxide (no-lye”> and neither is great for your strands. Those powerful chemicals can cause breakage, scalp damage, or hair loss, but in all fairness you do not need chemicals to cause those types of damages.

All curls, coils, and waves require work with cleansing, conditioning, sealing, and protecting. Maintenance for a texturizer includes touch-ups, conditioning, and protein treatments. Here’s what you can expect when you decide to texturize your hair:

Weaker strands

Hair is more fragile when chemicals are applied and the harsh chemicals used in texturizers and relaxers are some of the hardest chemicals to apply to your hair. This is how chemist JC from The Natural Haven explains relaxers:

“Relaxers involve swelling of the cortex which happens when the relaxer separates the bonds within the proteins of the fibrils…The cortex of the hair is significantly weakened due to expansion and bond breaking. The strength of relaxed hair is around 30-50% less than untreated hair…The cuticle is damaged by lifting (which can also break/chip or tear the cuticle”>. This has two effects. First and increase in porosity – meaning the hair can take up more water and hence expand even more (Cosmetic and Toileteries Magazine, Vol. 117, No. 11, 2002″>. Second the oil layers of the cuticle are disrupted. This is thought to contribute to the weakness of the hair cuticle in relaxed hair.(Int. J of Cosmetic Science, pg 1-12, 2002″>.”

Varying degrees of results with touch-ups

There is no magic brand that will give you uniform loosened curls and you can end up with strands from fairly or extremely loose. There is no clear method that will yield the type of curl you prefer. Some users have ended up with completely straightened and/or frizzy hair with no curls in site. The bottom line is you cannot gain curls from a box or a cream for that matter. The object of a texturizer is to loosen the pre-determined curl, coil, or wave pattern you already have and that does not create curls.

Going to a professional is a highly recommended

There are plenty of self-kits for texturizers but as the results are varying you may have a better chance for achieving what you want with a professional. Now, they cannot guarantee exactly what you want either, but a professional hairstylist skilled with texturizers will be your best bet for less damaging effects and a uniform application of the product to your strands. They also can work quickly, as the product is best not done with self-application.

The bottom line

It is a chemical process and like all chemical processes some degree of damage will occur. You are also never guaranteed on what type of loosened curl you will get and that goes double for touch-ups. At least with a relaxer you are getting bone straight hair, but when just trying to loosen a pattern, you are at the mercy of the product during that particular application.

There are plenty of women who have tried them, used them regularly and quite happy, but on the flip side to that there are plenty of women who wish they never came near one.  Adding a texturizer will not automatically give you easier hair to manage but rather a loosened curl, coil, or wave pattern that require more care because it is chemically processed. Make sure you are ready for the varying results and necessary upkeep.  With those points in mind you can decide if a texturizer is for you.

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