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From: Michelle (
Subject: Trying to decide about TR
Date: October 11, 2006 at 5:01 am PST

My 13-year-old daughter and I have very coarse, wiry, kinky/curly hair. (I am half-Lebanese.) For both of us, our hair took on this consistency at about the age of 13. I have been relaxing my hair with hydroxide (no-lye) relaxers since about the age of 14. This has enabled me to style my hair straight using a blow dryer with brush attachment and a hot iron (the process takes about 35-40 minutes each morning). I can get my hair silky smooth with this styling method, but it reverts quickly with the slightest bit of humidity. Unfortunately, my hair turned gray very early (another family genetic trait), so I have been using permanent color on my hair since my late 20s. (I am 41 now.) The color is done by a professional in a salon (using a Matrix product). But I have trouble finding salons that offer relaxing services, so I have been doing it at home for most of my life. (My husband applies it for me.) With the double processing (color plus relaxer), my hair has begun to break in places in recent years, so I have been looking into other methods of straightening and heard about TR. Having "wash and wear" hair and hair that doesn't revert in humidity would really change my life, starting with reducing the 45 minutes I spend on my hair every morning.

I have done a phone consultation with a couple of stylists in nearby towns (Raleigh and Cary, NC) about switching to TR. I've been told I need to completely grow out the hydroxide relaxers and am currently three months into this process. It's going to be a challenge to manage my hair during this time, and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to stand it for the length of time it'll take to completely grow out the previously relaxed hair. But I'm willing to try.

My questions are:
1) Does anyone have suggestions on how to make the transition from hydroxide relaxers to TR? I am currently using Matrix products on my hair (Hydrating shampoo, Conditioning balm, once a week Cera Repair treatment, Sleek Look styling creme, also Frizz Ease hair serum and a polishing milk after my hair is dry). Wearing my hair in its "natural" state is not an option. I have tried it many, many times in the past, and it's just too horrible to describe in words. I've visited salons and had stylists work with it, but the result is never attractive. Even if I am able to get it to look moderately "ok," it degrades to a big fuzzy mess very quickly.
2) Is there a particular type of hair color that should be used on my hair that works best with TR? All of my hair is gray now, and some of it is resistant to color.
3) I am hoping to start my daughter off with the TR process right from the beginning, and we are saving up our money to have that done. But it may be some time before we have the $500 we need to get it done at the salon I've chosen (which seems to have the most experience with the process in our area). However, my daughter is struggling with her hair at the moment, and I wondered if we could have it relaxed with a less expensive process that would be compatible with TR while we are saving up for it. Our current stylist uses ISO Maintamer, and I have read on this message board that it is compatible with TR. Is that true? If my daughter had her hair relaxed with ISO Maintamer, could she then get TR over it? I also talked with a salon that does TR and an alternative relaxer they offer is Chi. Is that compatible with TR?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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