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Relaxers Straighten Hair

Some African American women have kinky, coarse or tightly-wound hair that is somewhat unmanageable and hard to style. In order to tame unruly locks, relaxers are a permanent solution to straighten African-American hair. Relaxers are chemical products that alter the hair's structure which results in sleek and manageable hair.

Relaxers Damage Hair

Lye-based relaxers contain the sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide products are also found in drain cleaners. No-lye hair relaxer systems not as damaging as lye- based relaxer systems; however, no-lye relaxers are still damaging to the hair. The chemical sodium hydroxide opens the cuticle and chemically alters the hair shaft. According to, relaxers not only alter the hair structure, but leave the hair brittle, damaged and susceptible to breakage.

Bottom Line

Chemical relaxers are successful for straightening coarse, kinky and tightly-wound hair. However, chemical relaxers also cause breakage since lye and no-lye based relaxers chemically alter the hair shaft. Therefore, apply relaxers to new growth only and not to previously relaxed strands. According to, new growth should at least be one inch in length, and relaxers should be applied no more than every 8 to 10 weeks.