The Chemical Is Applied
The stylist will use their hands or some other appropriate
straightening tools to distribute the chemical solution
onto completely dry hair (if the Thio Relaxer is
applied the hair may be wet).
If the hair has any moisture or perspiration, it
must be dried first before applying the relaxing
solution (if not the Thio Relaxer). Then the solution
will be carefully combed through the hair and the
hair will be pulled straight.
The relaxing solution is harsh and will be only
left on for a few minutes (average time is 5-8 minutes
but will vary depending on a variety of factors).
Karen M. Shelton
The Hair Boutique
The longer the relaxing solution is left on, the longer the effects
will last and the straighter the hair will be. However, the longer
the solution is left on, the more risk there is of damage to the
Avoid combing through your hair while it is being straightened.
The straightening process affects the hair's natural elasticity.
When it is combed out, it may stretch out to over twice its normal
length and it is very fragile and easy to break.
After the relaxer is completely shampooed and rinsed out with
warm water (it can not be hot or cold and must be warm) a neutralizer
solution is added to halt the relaxing process and restore the
pH balance to the hair. The neutralizer is also known as a stabilizer
or fixative. The neutralizer for a thio type of relaxer will actually
re-form the cysteine cross-bonds in their new position and rehardens
From the time that the relaxing chemicals is removed and the hair
is shampooed and than stabilized, the hair is extremely fragile
and should be handled carefully.
Sometimes the chemicals will leave a reddish cast on the hair.
When this happens the stylist can apply a special color rinse
to remove the red cast. Sometimes this cast is not evident until
the hair has been dried. The color rinse may be applied to dry
hair as well.
Conditioned, Dried & Set
It is advisable to use a good conditioner to restore some of the
natural oils that have been removed by the chemicals. The conditioner
is applied after the neutralizer is rinsed out and after the hair
is first towel dried. After the conditioner is applied, the hair
can be set in rollers and gently dried or styled and air dried.
Post Relaxing Treatment
Once hair has been relaxed it will require special ongoing treatment
to protect the hair and maintain the effects of the straightening.
If the newly relaxed hair is not treated with special care it
can become brittle and stiff and "see through". Relaxed hair is
more porous and tends to hold on to dulling residue. Therefore
it is very important to rinse out shampoo and other hair products
Relaxed hair will also break more easily. Use a good detangling/
leave in conditioning product like Phytologie #7 and a wide pick
with smooth teeth to detangle wet hair. Work from the bottom of
your hair up towards the roots.
Regular deep conditioning is a must on hair that is chemically
relaxed. Plan on doing a deep conditioning treatment once or twice
a week and more if your hair needs it. You can use a high quality
deep conditioning treatment like Edwin Paul Deep Conditioner,
Phytologie's Phytocitrus Mask, Aveda's Curessence or Deep Penetrating
Hair Revitalizer, Aveda's Beautifying Oil or whip up a special
hot oil treatment.
Newly relaxed hair tends to become a lot drier. Use a moisturizing
shampoo designed for chemically treated hair like Phytologie's
Phytocidre Shampoo for chemically processed hair, Edwin Paul's
Luxury Shampoo or ARTec's Smoothing shampoo. If you prefer an
all natural chemical free shampoo designed to help chemically
treated hair check out Paul Pender's Walnut Oil Shampoo and Burt's
Bees Avocado Butter Treatment.
Use a good rinse out or leave-in conditioner as well. Chemically
treated hair requires more careful and delicate treatment. If
your hair does not respond well to the extra deep conditioning
treatments you may want to do some moisture reconstructing treatments
by using products like Edwin Paul's Moisture Reconstructor.
The only sure way to restore the appearance of chemically processed
hair is through the application of good conditioning products.
Chemical processing can erode the hair and damage the cuticle.
Conditioners will smooth the damaged outer surface of the hair
by coating the hair and by putting back oils and proteins that
chemical processing strips off.
When possible, limit the use of hot blow dryers and hot styling
tools. If you must use a blow dryer, use on the coolest heat and
apply a good protective leave in conditioner first.
Hot Oil Treatment
Heat enough olive oil to saturate your hair in a saucepan or in
the microwave. Make sure it is just warm to the touch and not
too hot. Dab the warm olive oil on the roots of your hair with
a cotton ball. Wrap the hair in a plastic shower cap, cover with
a hot towel and wait for at least 30 minutes. Shampoo and rinse.
For extra conditioning, towel dry the hair and then apply a good
leave in conditioner.
When possible, leave the olive oil on the hair for longer periods
of time. Overnight is a great option (although somewhat messy).
Hair Straightening Faqs Part 3.,
Hair Straightening Faqs Part 1.,
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Thermal Reconditioning Articles By Karen M. Shelton
Gives The Inside Scoop
Founder's - Words Of Hair Care Wisdom
M. Shelton is the founder of HairBoutique.com
which has been featured in numerous magazines including
101 Celebrity Hairstyles, Today's Dallas Woman
Magazine, WE-Women's Enterprise, The National Enquirer,
American Salon Magazine and Self magazine,
as well as international publications.
Karen M. Shelton was featured in DFW Tech Biz
as winner of the Emerging CEO - Tech Titan award.
In 2001 Ms. Shelton joined 101 Celebrity Styles
& Short Cuts magazine as consumer hair editor.