Relaxers have come a long way from the days of burnt scalps, over-processed hair, brittle breakage, clumping and tinged brown finishes. Nowadays, women demand better performance, particularly as afro hair is prone to dryness, sensitivity and easy breakage. Thankfully, the market has responded with a new range of relaxers that will give you more confidence when it comes to chemically straightening your hair.
Selecting the correct product and using it properly is vital to get the result of your dreams and ditching those nightmare problems. If you’re not sure what product to get or are a relaxer virgin, then a professional touch is strongly recommended. This way you can have your hair analysed to see if it will benefit or take to a relaxer and you can receive advice on how to care for your hair before and after.
For veteran relaxer sisters there are some great homecare kits available with professional results. BBH searched the marketplace to bring you the buzz on some of your favourite brands.
Mizani’s Butter Blend Rhelaxer System comprises of three parts: a pre application and post process using six luxury Mizani products and a conditioning treatment. One lucky BBH reader, Jennifer Robinson, visited the award winning Afrotherapy salon (formerly Harriet Kessie) to check out the ‘butter won’t melt’ theory on her tresses.
Stylist Joseph Cudjoe started with a consultation to assess her hair — it was dry, flaking and had split ends. For phase one, the Mizani Butter Base Protector with shea butter was used to sooth Jennifer’s hair and scalp, by reducing dryness and minimising irritation. Next the Mizani Honey Shield Protective Pre-Relaxer was applied. This treatment is formulated with patented ceramide to stop the hair from overprocessing (which is particularly important for pre-chemically treated hair), and moisturising honey blends with nourishing agents to help retain moisture. In phase two, the Mizani Butter Blend Rhelaxer made with cocoa butter, shea butter, honey and advanced conditioning agents was applied all over, section-by-section. Jennifer’s hair needed a sensitive low concentration, so the Fine/Colour Treated strength was applied — it also comes in Medium/Normal and Coarse/Resistant).
At this point, Jennifer was surprised that there was no burning sensation and loved the sweet smell of white chocolate coming from the relaxer. After twenty painless minutes and a cool rinse, she was ready for phase three. This involved Mizani PerpHecting Créme Normalizing Conditioner which balances pH levels and detangles hair (when wet) for minimum breakage. Next Mizani Balance Hair Bath Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo was used. It has a built-in pink colour indicator to highlight any relaxer residue and added protein ingredients to inject elasticity. The piece de resistance was the Mizani Microfusion Penetrating Conditioning Treatment with Jojoba and Avocado Oil that deeply infuses the hair cuticles to add softness and natural sheen.
After a quick colour rinse to hide ghastly greys and split ends were trimmed off, Jennifer was a very happy customer. The Mizani Butter Blend Rhelaxer System is available at Mizani appointed salons nationwide. To find your nearest one and for prices, call 0800 121 4676.
Fairly new to the UK market comes French brand PhytoRelaxers by PhytoSpecific. The range has been around for approximately 30 years and already has a mass American presence with a throng of fans after their odourless relaxers made from extracts of egg and soy. The PhtyoRelaxers kits (£32.50) contain no trace of lye or hydroxides and come in two different strengths: fine/delicate and coarse/resistant. One home kit contains: Pre-care Balm (10ml); Straightening Cream (225ml); Inductor (60ml); Neutralising and Cleansing Emulsion (125ml); Milky Restructurer (75ml); instructions, gloves and spatula. Depending on your hair type, the application process takes about 25 minutes. It is great for re-touches, however virgin hair may not get the full desired result. The PhytoSpecific aftercare range includes Vital Force Shampoo (£14/150ml), Vital Force Crème Bath and Moisturising Styling Balm (£20/200ml). For home treatments try the Intense Nutrition Shampoo (£14/150ml) and Intense Nutrition Mask (£15/150ml).
Motions new home kit Silkening Shine Relaxer System (£3.98) promises to deliver professional results whilst reducing breakage by up to 85 per cent (when compared to a traditional liquid activator relaxer). The kit includes Motions Pretreatment Conditioner formulated with meadowquat, silk extracts, shea butter and coconut oil to help protect hair fibres and stop over-processing on previously relaxed hair. Motions No Lye Relaxer comes with a conditioning gel activator and relaxer base (that needs to be mixed and applied evenly to hair), a Neutralizing Shampoo with built in indicator to detect left over residue; a Conditioning Silkening Masque with nourishing agents including silk extracts and silicones to leave hair lustrous; and lastly a Leave-In Conditioner with glycerin to lock in moisture and form an invisible barrier against heat styling.
Dark & Lovely
Soothe scalp irritations with the newly launched Scalp Comfort from Dark & Lovely (£3.90). Home kits contain a five step system including the Scalp Rescue Protective Gel to form a protective barrier between the scalp and the relaxing cream; Shea Butter Relaxer infused with essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, proteins and antiinflammatory agents; Replenish Cream with cottonseed oil, a natural soother for delicate scalps; Conditioning Shampoo and Restorative Balm with Moisture Seal Technology.
Affirm from the Avlon family has upgraded its range to Affirm Conditioning Relaxer System with Protecto, which is highly rated and used by a number of top salons such as Aveda and Toni&Guy. The range includes Affirm Original System, Affirm Dry and Itchy System and the Affirm FiberGuard Relaxer System, which is made specifically for coloured tresses. Please note that Affirm products are for professional use only and should be applied by a qualified stylist that works with chemical relaxers.