Once I was free to go back to getting relaxers, I decided, instead, to texlax my hair. I considered this my happy medium. I am posting a beginners guide to texlaxing that I found online at Yahoo Voices.
Before reading the below article, I think it makes sense to give you an update on my hair, which will explain why I am looking for further explanations on texlaxing in the first place.
So, I went to the salon in early April with loads of product on my hair. I found an old hair protectant gel under my sink in the bathroom that came with a relaxer kit I brought a long time ago. It was supposed to protect previously relaxed hair from being re-processed, while you were relaxing your ends. After basing my scalp with hair grease, I applied this protectant on my previously relaxed hair and my 5-6 months of new growth. When I went to the salon, I asked for a mild relaxer. Since they didn't have this available (I was getting a Mizani relaxer), I explained to the hairdresser that I did not want bone straight hair and would like her to put the relaxer in and wash it out shortly after.
The results, as far as I was concerned, were perfect. My hair had a slight wave when the relaxer was washed out, but it easily straightened with the roller set and root blow out that I got. We went to Jamaica the following week and I noticed that when my hair got wet for the first time (at Dunns River Falls), it curled up and stuck up all over my head. I thought it was a very pretty curl pattern (which excited me), but didn't want to look like a scarecrow, so I slicked it down with some more water and put placed a headband on top. When we returned from Jamaica and I washed my hair for the first time, my roots were even more curly and the middle of the back of my hair was basically reverted to it's natural state. :-/ On top of that, I would have short strands of hair all over the bathroom floor whenever I combed my hair.....even when I used my fingers or a shower/wide-toothed comb. I mention short strands because I want to make a distinction between natural hair shedding and breakage. My hair is not extremely long, but close to armpit length. There is a big difference, in length, of the hairs that would be on the floor if my hair was shedding vs. if it was breaking. One week I did a protein deep conditioning treatment to strengthen my hair and the next week I did a deep moisturizing conditioning treatment to combat any breakage from dryness. Still my hair continues to break.
Anyway, one of my BFFs transitioned to natural hair many years ago and she suggested that since I was not willing to do the Big Chop (where I cut off all my relaxed ends and start fresh) that maybe I should start wearing my hair straight until I get this breakage under control. She suggested that the difference in textures is likely causing my hair to break. While I think she's right and I'm probably going to have to get my hair done for a little while (or get braids or a weave), I also decided to do some research on Texlaxing and try to learn more about the process and what happens when you transition into texlaxed hair.
- The Beginner's Guide to Texlaxing
- Published: Tue November 24th, 2009
- By: Audrey Davis-Sivasothy
- Category: Beauty
Do you want more body, texture, and volume with your relaxed hair look? Are you tired of dry, flat, lifeless relaxed hair that continues to break? Consider "texlaxing" your hair!
What is Texlaxing?
"Texlaxing" is a term that was coined on internet hair care forums to describe a relaxer service that is intentionally allowed to underprocess in order to create volume and texture in the hair strands. The word "texlax" is a cross between two very real chemical services: texturizing and chemically relaxing. Texlaxing simply represents a point of middle ground between the two chemical services.
What's the Difference: Texturizing, Relaxing, Texlaxing?
Texturizer: A texturizer is a chemical process that is formulated to loosen the natural curls and kinks of textured hair types. Texturizers are typically done by individuals who wish to wear their hair curly a majority of the time, but prefer a looser, defined curly look.
Relaxer: A relaxer completely straightens the kinks and curls in textured hair. It's typically worn by those who wish to wear straighter hair styles on a regular basis.
Texlaxed Hair: Texlaxed hair straddles the fence between the two services and offers the best of both worlds. It is, essentially, an underprocessed relaxer. Depending on the degree of relaxer underprocessing one chooses, texlaxed hair can allow much of the original texture and curl to remain in the hair while still allowing it to straighten easily to near stick straightness. Though this textured looking result is achieved with a straightening relaxer, the underprocessed hair often looks similar to texturized hair-- hence the term "texlaxed."
It is often very difficult to differentiate between texlaxed and relaxed hair if the hair is heat styled, and depending on the level of underprocessing--texlaxed hair and texturized hair when airdried. Texlaxed hair shows its texture best when the hair is airdried and unmanipulated after a wash.
Why Should you Texlax Your Hair?
Texlaxing Improves Thickness and Elasticity:
Texlaxing your hair can be extremely beneficial. For one, by allowing a bit of natural texture to remain in the hair, texlaxing is able to drastically improve the thickness of the hair. No more limp, lifeless bone-straight hair. Texlaxing also helps the hair retain its elasticity so that it can resist breakage. Overall, and barring any additional strain or processing, texlaxed hair is a healthier head of hair!
Texlaxing Reduces Bond Breakage:
Texlaxing reduces the number of broken protein and disulfide bonds in the hair. These intact disulfide and protein linkages are directly responsible for the hair's natural strength because less bond breakage means stronger hair.
Texlaxed Hair Tolerates Color Better:
Texlaxed hair is also better conditioned to tolerate hair color than fully relaxed hair. Permanent hair coloring and relaxing can greatly damage the cuticle and inner layers of the hair, but since texlaxed hair is "partially or slightly" relaxed hair, there is less overall assault on the hair fiber. Simply put, hair fairs better when it is colored as texlaxed hair versus fully relaxed hair.
Texlaxing is a Safety Net:
Texlaxing the hair provides a buffer against overprocessing a relaxer. Even if you slip up and allow your relaxer to process a bit longer than it should, you've got extra, intact hair bonds on your side!
After relaxing your hair, your texlaxed hair results may not be apparent at first. Some hair properties, like texture, take a few washes to bring out because of the various levels of deep bond breakage that take place during a relaxer. Texlaxed hair may appear almost bone straight and even limp and flat immediately after a relaxer, but replacing your lost/broken hydrogen bonds through washing and deep conditioning will return some of the original thickness and texture.
I hear it (and have said it myself!) so many times, "My hair is better 2-3 days after the relaxer... after I wash it." (This hair phenomenon of delayed texture appearance is exactly where the saying "washing out a relaxer" comes from! Hair appears straight, but after a few washes the hair appears to revert or thicken.) Remember-- You cannot wash out a relaxer-any disulfide bonds broken by your relaxer are broken forever. But hydrogen bonds in the hair, however, can be reformed. These are the bonds we rely on for our "sets" and are affected by wetting and drying the hair. Texlaxing the hair disturbs fewer hair bonds all around.
Texlaxing is not for everyone. Before texlaxing your hair, decide on the level of texture you wish to maintain. Allowing too much texture to remain when you are used to dealing with much straighter hair can cause manageability problems which can lead to breakage. On the other hand, fully processing the relaxer defeats the purpose of texlaxing. A happy medium should be sought.
Some individuals also experience uneven textures, dryness, and shedding when they texlax their hair. Each person is different, and will have a different experience with this procedure. For a vast majority however, including myself, texlaxing is one of the best things they've ever done for their hair.
* In my experience, the two best relaxers to use for texlaxing are Mizani and ORS. Details on the two types of relaxers I have used can be found in the links below.