Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Texlax Your Hair: Simple Texlaxing Techniques and Tips

Here is another article I found on Yahoo Voices.....for those who want more detail on how you would go about texlaxing your hair.  I used techniques #3, 4 & 5 during my first texlax.  However, I think I will use #1 & 2 the next time I relax.  I didn't realize that the sensitive scalp formulas were a little weaker or took longer to, if they don't have mild, I'll get the sensitive scalp version.  I felt that too much of my hair reverted with my last texlax, so I will get it processed a little more this time, by allowing them to do atleast a little smoothing.
How to Texlax Your Hair: Simple Texlaxing Techniques and Tips
  • Published: Mon January 4th, 2010
  • By: Audrey Davis-Sivasothy
  • Category: Beauty
Properly "texlaxing," or gently underprocessing, your hair is an art. But done correctly, texlaxing can be extremely beneficial to your hair. This article will describe techniques for "texlaxing" your hair to perfection every single time.

What is Texlaxing?

"Texlaxed" hair is a term that was coined in the Internet hair world to describe a hair texture that falls between texturized curls and chemically relaxed, straight hair. "Texlaxing" is the intentional underprocessing of hair with a relaxer chemical, and is typically done to create volume, body, and texture in relaxed hair.

Popular Texlaxing Methods

There are many methods for texlaxing the hair, and most center around reducing initial disulfide bond breakage in the hair fiber. Disulfide bonds are the bonds that cause our hair to have a naturally curly, or kinky texture. Breaking these bonds prepares them for straightening in the smoothing stage of the relaxer. An alternative texlaxing method involves simply skipping the official disulfide bond straightening process. Texlaxing methods can be used alone or in combination to achieve various degrees of textured, relaxed hair results.

1.) Downgrading your relaxer

Reducing disulfide bond breakage by downgrading the strength of your relaxer is the easiest method for texlaxing the hair. Reducing your relaxer strength from a super or regular formula to a mild or sensitive scalp formula (or even going from lye to no-lye) will increase the amount of time required for full processing. This will give you more time to quickly apply your relaxer, and then rinse before enough bond breakage has occurred to really straighten the hair.

2.) Diluting your relaxer

Similar to downgrading the actual relaxer formula strength, adding oils or conditioner to your relaxer formula also decreases the strength of the relaxer and increases the processing window. This texlaxing dilution method also works by reducing the viscosity (thickness) of the relaxer crème. The relaxer crème's thick, pasty consistency helps the hair remain fairly straight after the disulfide bonds have been broken during chemical application. Oils and conditioners reduce this straightening power by making the crème less thick so that the curls are not weighed down and flattened as easily by the relaxer. If you decide to add oil to your relaxer, add a little at a time and check the consistency of your formula. Do not make the formula too runny or soupy; some thickness is desired! I find that around 1/4 cup of oil works well with a small, single use relaxer tub. Also avoid using essential oils (like peppermint and rosemary) in the relaxer-- you don't want anything tingling or stimulating your scalp while the relaxer is there nearby.

Another variation of relaxer dilution can be done with no-lye relaxer formulas where a separate activator must be added to the relaxer crème. Adding only 3/4 or 1/2 of the activator to the formula automatically reduces the relaxer's strength. Remember, no-lye relaxers are inert (not active) and cannot work on the hair until they are mixed. Portions of the relaxer that are not mixed with activator will not process you.

3.) Putting up a Barrier

Applying a thick cream or oil barrier to the hair prior to relaxing will protect it from damage and slow down the action of the relaxer. By slowing the relaxer down with a heavy, protective base, you can still relax your hair for the normal suggested time period for your hair type without fully straightening the hair. Reducing relaxer contact with the hair reduces overall bond breakage and helps the hair maintain a little extra texture. Basing the scalp should be done anyway with a relaxer, but applying a little extra to the scalp AND new growth will give you extra protection and time to process.

4.) Decreasing Relaxer Contact

One of the easiest methods for texlaxing the hair is simply decreasing the relaxer's contact with your hair. Simple reduce your processing time! This method works when all other texlaxing methods fail. In fact, this method is perhaps the number one cause of unintentional texlaxing and underprocessing. It is how I stumbled upon the idea of leaving texture behind in my own hair! Processing the hair for a time less than the recommended time will always texlax your hair.

5.) Skipping Disulfide Bond Straightening

Contrary to popular belief, hair straightening does not begin and end with the application of the relaxer. The relaxer chemical simply breaks your hair's disulfide bonds; the smoothing step is where your hair and its bonds are straightened into their new, permanent position. So a texlaxing method that takes advantage of this concept would simply involve you applying the chemical relaxer, and allowing it to process without physically manipulating (smoothing) the hair into place. Skipping the smoothing step of the relaxer application prevents the disulfide bonds from fully straightening into a new, permanently straight bond orientation.

My Personal Texlaxing Method

My personal texlaxing method is a combination of methods 1, 2, and 3. I use a basic sensitive scalp relaxer (Mizani) that is diluted with 1/4 of a cup of oil (olive or almond oil). I also heavily base my scalp, as well as the entire length of my hair-- from root to tip. I process my relaxer for the normal amount of time for my hair type which is usually 10-12 minutes or so. Since I know I am working with a thick vaseline buffer and diluted relaxer, I do not fret if I accidentally go over my time. I also smooth my hair to what appears to be 100% straightness as a final step.

Final Notes:

An entire head of texlaxed hair takes years to grow in. You will notice the difference between your bone straight hair and texlaxed hair on wash day-- because your texlaxed hair will appear fuller against your thin, bone straight ends. Texlaxed texture is best seen on air-dried hair. If you ever grow tired of the texlaxed results, in mostcases* a corrective relaxer can set you straight. * I've heard of many cases where those who used no-lye relaxers had a harder time correcting the underprocessing than sisters who used lye relaxers. That is something to keep in mind.

Finally, remember-- texlaxed results may not be apparent immediately after your relaxer. Many times, several washings and conditionings are required to reveal your level of texture. An explanation of why this occurs can be found in this article: The Beginner's Guide to Texlaxing.

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