Are Relaxers Bad For Your Hair?
|healthy relaxed hair|
When I ask my natural clients what made them want to go natural they all tell me because they wanted healthy hair. So that leaves you to wonder, are relaxers bad for your hair? Take it from me, someone who has had a relaxer since I was five years old, relaxers are NOT bad for your hair. They can, however, be damaging and do extensive harm to your hair if they are used incorrectly.
A lot of women don't realize that relaxers contain very harsh chemicals, mainly sodium hydroxide, in them. This is why it says on just about every relaxer container "for professional use only". Us hairstylists have actually been trained on how to correctly apply them which is why I always tell women to never do their relaxers at home. Also, lots of women who tell me the relaxers damaged their hair also admit to me that they did their own relaxers. This is not a coincidence. When done correctly a relaxer should never burn unless you have a scalp condition and should not damage your hair.
Women who experience damage to their hair due to relaxers do so because of one or more of the following reasons:
- Doing it themselves- I know it is very tempting to do your own relaxer, especially when you really don't have the money to get it professionally done and you see that you can buy one in the store for $5. As tempting as it may seem, this is a big no no. You many not see the damage to your hair after the first or maybe even the second time you do it yourself, but believe me you are damaging your hair. You can't see what you are doing and 9 times out of 10 you are overlapping.
- Getting them too often- I've had some women tell me that they get their relaxers every FOUR weeks! And their hairstylist is actually doing it!! Hearing this makes me cringe. You should only be getting your relaxers done if you have at least two inches of new growth. Unless you are taking some kind of super-vitamin that you are hiding from the rest of the world, your hair is not growing out two inches in four weeks. Just because you see a little wave or ripple of new growth doesn't mean its time. I have actually had a client stop coming to me because I wouldn't give her a relaxer when she wanted one. But guess what? She will never be able to say I was the stylist that made her hair come out or wasn't taking care of it!
- Brush or scratch the scalp right before a relaxer- Never brush or scratch your scalp before you receive a relaxer, especially around your edges. It irritates your scalp and leads to scalp burn.
- Overlapping- Overlapping is relaxing hair that has already been relaxed. Overlapping always leads to damage and breakage over a period of time. If your relaxed hair used to be thick and you notice your hair is now very thin and somewhat brittle, overlapping is probably the reason why. It is highly unadvisable to relax hair that has been relaxed and you never relax hair down to the very ends.