Frequently Asked Questions About Hair Relaxers

Chemical hair relaxers are treatments that people can get to straighten their curly hair. These are most common among people with natural curly hair that has very tight coils. Since there are many different types of hair relaxers, it can be helpful to learn about how safe they are and what you can do to ensure you get the treatment you want. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about hair relaxers, including how they work and how long they can last.

How do hair relaxers work?

Chemical hair relaxers work by using chemical reactions to straighten natural hair. This occurs when the chemicals in the relaxer solutions break down the bonds in curly hair and later re-form new patterns while the hair is held in a straight position. Once the relaxing treatment is complete, you can style your hair in a wide array of straight hairstyles as well as looser curls that you can achieve with heat tools or curlers.

There are a variety of different types of relaxers that have different strengths, such as sodium hydroxide relaxers and guanidine carbonate relaxers. Each of these uses unique blends of chemicals to facilitate the straightening of hair, but it can be best to research which type of relaxer you may want to use before opting for the treatment. For example, if you have a sensitive scalp, you might decide on a no-lye relaxer that’s more gentle but still achieves the result of straight hair.

How long do hair relaxers last?

The exact length of time that a hair relaxer treatment lasts can vary, depending on the type of solution you choose and the natural texture of your hair. However, it’s typically customary for a hair relaxer to last between six and 12 weeks. This is the same for both uncolored and colored hair, though hair that has dye in it may require more time between touch-ups and coloring to allow it time for recovery. Colored hair may also fade after a relaxer is applied.

Another factor that can impact how long a hair relaxer treatment lasts includes whether you did the treatment yourself at home. This is because the products available for at-home hair relaxer treatments are typically not as strong as those you’ll find in a salon. So, if you want to get a treatment that lasts for as long as possible, you may want to get it done professionally.

Are hair relaxers safe?

While hair relaxer treatments can be completed safely, there can still be risks to your health. One of the biggest risks associated with chemical hair relaxers is the potential to develop uterine cancer. Experts note that it can be twice as likely for women who use chemical relaxers more frequently than four times per year to develop uterine cancer. This is due to the presence of chemicals like phthalates that increase the chances of developing cancer.

To ensure you remain safe when getting a relaxing treatment, pay close attention to the chemicals that are in the solution you decide to use. It can also be best to refrain from using a chemical relaxer at a young age, as this prolongs your exposure to the harmful chemicals by adding years to your use. If you’re applying a chemical relaxer yourself, make sure to wear gloves and follow the directions on the package with extreme detail. For example, most relaxing treatments offer warnings to not use them while you have open wounds on your head.

Are their hair relaxers that don’t have phthalates?

While there are hair relaxers that don’t include lye, there are currently not phthalate-free hair relaxers. This is because the reaction needed to straighten naturally curly or coily hair permanently requires intense non-natural chemicals. Although there aren’t options for completely chemical-free hair relaxers, there are many products that can soften curls without harsh substances. For example, you might use a deep conditioning treatment or leave-in conditioner to soften your curl pattern. If you still want to opt for a chemical relaxer, try to find a non-lye option that’s more gentle on your skin.

Hair relaxers can be a great treatment for a sleek style, but it’s important to remain safe while using them. These answers to frequently asked questions about hair relaxers can help you prepare for your appointment and for your aftercare. Remember to consider your texture and the types of chemicals you want to use when getting a chemical relaxer treatment, and you’ll be able to stay safe and beautiful.

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