Relaxer Update: Why I don't Relax 'Bone Straight'

Friday, October 04, 2019

Relaxer Update: Why I don't Relax 'Bone Straight' |

Happy Relaxer Day!

Don't you just love when this day rolls around? I love when relaxer day comes because #1, it resets my relaxer stretch and #2 it gives me a fresh start with no new growth to "baby" for several weeks. LOL. So, I ended my relaxer stretch at 12 weeks post and I got a trim! Can you believe its been 5 months since my hair cut? Time really does fly.

Today, I wanted to share with you 'Why I Don't Relax Bone Straight' and the benefits of not doing so.  I get comments/questions/messages from people who think I'm texlaxed because of the fullness of my hair - but I'm not. Again, just to clarify, I'm relaxed but not entirely bone-straight. Relaxed hair does N O T and should not be 100% bone-straight!

You see, I believe relaxed hair should be relaxed at 85-90% leaving some room for texture to remain in the strands. The whole point of relaxing is to relax the curl pattern so that it's straight but not to the point where the hair is stick thin, lifeless, limp and over-processed.

In fact, back when I first began my healthy hair journey, I noticed that many of the ladies who I admired had thick, long, healthy relaxed hair and they all had ONE of many things in common...they relaxed their hair leaving a tad bit of texture behind!!! To be clear, they were not texlaxed, but they had just enough wave/texture so that it wasn't super 100% straight. You get me? This was a HUGE game changer for me and the turning point in achieving healthier relaxed hair. Since that tip was shared with me, I never looked back!

OMGosh, flash back!

I remember, prior to my hair journey, when my hairdresser used to apply each and every one of my relaxers from root to tip and make me sit in the relaxer like a deep conditioner until my hair and ends were SUPER straight. I cringe just thinking about it - such a HOT MESS! Of course, my hair was thin, lifeless, constantly breaking and excessively dry!! I thought it was normal for relaxed hair to have those characteristics. I didn't know any better :(

Relaxer Update: Why I don't Relax 'Bone Straight' |
Freshly Relaxed - Air Dried Hair - September 2019

But as the saying goes "when you know better, you do better" - so let's fast forward.

Now that I self-relax (with the help of my sister) I control what relaxer strength I use, how long I leave my relaxer on for, how often I smooth/comb my new growth, my neutralizing process, how I protect my previously relaxed hair etc. which all play a key role in how straight my relaxed hair will become while preserving the texture and health in my hair.

Top 5 Contributors as to Why My Relaxed Hair Isn't Bone Straight:

1. Using a Lye relaxer - Lye relaxers provide a low degree of hair bond breakage that preserves the natural strength and elasticity in the hair. Lye relaxers tend to me more harsh on the scalp than on the hair. Less bond breakage = more structure, fullness and strength remaining in the strands.

2. Using a normal strength relaxer - Normal strength relaxers tend to process the hair slower but perfect enough to achieve my desired straightness. I don't recommend extra stretch relaxers as they are formulated to process the hair quickly increasing the chances of over-processing the hair.

3. Limited smoothing and combing of my new growth - I smooth twice in the front, smooth 3x's in the back & comb twice in the back to ensure my hair gets straight enough and not over-processed. This gives me approximately 85-90% straightness.

4. Not leaving the relaxer on for over 25 mins - I finish my relaxer process usually at the 22-23 minute mark. I don't like to leave my relaxer on longer than that out of fear of it being "too straight". This amount of processing time is perfect for me as I'm able to apply the relaxer all over, smooth, and comb with no fuss.

5. Neutralizing in 3 phases - Taking my time to neutralize my roots for a total of 20 mins ensures all of the relaxer is out of my hair and it's no longer processing my roots. During this process I also notice that the texture of my roots begin to re-appear.

Relaxer Update: Why I don't Relax 'Bone Straight' |
Freshly Relaxed - Day 3 of Flat Ironed Hair - September 2019

As you see in the picture above, there's a slight wave/texture remaining in my roots post relaxer day. To some, this may be horrific and an alarming state of panic because the "relaxer didn't take"; however, this makes me happy to know that there's texture remaining in my strands. Once you're over-processed, there's no turning back from that!

"Your hair is under-processed!", some may say. But I beg to differ, as I know for a fact I don't have inconsistent textures of various degrees all throughout my hair i.e. straight roots and ends with a puffy/under-processed texture in the middle (which requires a corrective relaxer to resolve).  The texture remaining in my hair is uniform and not overly excessive to the point where my hair is classified as under-processed or texlaxed.

Let's be real! Limp bone straight relaxed hair isn't cute! For me, not relaxing bone straight over the years has preserved the texture and elasticity in my hair making it more resilient to breakage. Too, I find that my hair styles look better because of the added fullness and body.   

Though my relaxed strands have texture, I can still achieve a straight style without the use of direct heat - if needed. My wet hair has slight waves but not enough to wear a wash n go or cause frizziness in humid climates like texlaxed hair. The way I look at it, if I want super bone straight hair, I'll flat iron it - simple! But it certainly won't be a result of my relaxer process.

So to my relaxed hair ladies, it's perfectly normal and highly encouraged to have a bit of texture in your tresses. Since I've been relaxing my hair like this (starting 2010), my relaxed strands are healthier, stronger, and thicker!

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