Friday, August 21, 2009

Softeners, Silkeners & Texturizers...OH MY!

People who opt to wear their hair in their natural state may become surprised to find their hair to be thick, curly, dense and/or appear shorter due to shrinkage. Many salons will give them the option to ‘texturize’ in order to achieve more manageability and length. Salons such as Christo’s Fifth Avenue will have a ‘Bio softening’ and Curve Salon has a ‘Silkener’. For all intents and purposes, these are both fancy terms for a texturizer as they both utilize some chemical to alter the curl pattern. A texturizer is simply a milder form of a relaxer. It can either be cut with a conditioner to lessen the potency or kept on the hair for a much shorter period of time. It still uses some form of lye or caustic ingredient to break down the bonds.

According to, a hair texturizer changes the chemical makeup of the hair. A strand of hair contains several chemicals that give it a particular appearance. The disulfide bond, a bond between two sulfur atoms, is the one that allows a strand to hold its shape. When this bond is manipulated, the shape of a hair can be altered.

First, a reducing agent is placed on the hair to break the disulfide bonds. Next, the hair is manipulated into the desired shape. It can be straightened in the case of a relaxer, curled for a perm, or in this case be texturized into looser curls. Lastly, an oxidizing agent is introduced to reset the disulfide bonds into the newly formed shape.

There are several reasons why a person would undergo a texturizing treatment as opposed to relaxing.

To maintain the hair’s curl shape without going bone straight

To loosen the tightness of the curl

To gain more manageability

To have more versatility

The pros with getting a texturizer are that you could achieve all of the above.

The cons of having a texturizer are:

Using chemicals to alter the hair

Having to maintain the texturizer 3 to 4 times per year

Same as a relaxer, hair can become weaker and break

Hair can become over processed and lose the curl

Natural alternatives to a texturizer are available that promises to loosen the curls without chemicals and therefore leaving the hair healthier.

Click here to read what the FDA says about hair relaxers and then see the following links for more information regarding texturizers and relaxers:

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