Mischo Beauty School: Hair Relaxers 101

Let’s understand the difference between “lye” and “no-lye” hair relaxers. Relaxers break certain chemical bonds in the hair so that they can’t reform. This simply means that hair that was once curly, is now permanently straightened. Certain relaxers use “lye” to break these bonds. Lye is a very strong chemical base that can burn your skin and damage your hair if not used correctly. With "no lye" relaxers, another chemical is used in the place of lye and is considered a medium strength base. Research has shown that the use of "no lye" relaxers results in less scalp irritation, but the same safety rules apply. Both types of relaxers can burn the scalp if used incorrectly. It’s wrong to assume that compared to “lye” relaxers, "no lye" relaxers take the worry out of straightening your hair. Both types of relaxers contain caustic chemicals.

If you choose to apply your own relaxer, please ask for help. You aren’t able to see and reach the top and back of your hair and this could lead to an improper application of the relaxer. Also, making sure that the relaxer is thoroughly rinsed can be a challenge. Relaxers should be used based on manufacturer’s instructions, left on no longer than the prescribed time, carefully washed out with neutralizing shampoo, and followed up with regular conditioning. If you’re in doubt, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Love your hair.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions!



andrea said...

maybe one day i'll be all natural and i won't have to worry about this stuff... but in the meantime... thanks for the good tips :)

December 10, 2007 at 9:59 PM
Anonymous said...

I am concerned about using chemicals in my hair such as relaxers. I have been relaxing my hair on and off for 30 years. Can you recommend other products that are less damaging to your health? I do not wear my hair straight all year round so I only relax max twice a year. In the summer I wet and let it air dry into a wavy/curl. I am african american. I usually ask dominican hair salon stylist to use affirm relaxer. Any recommendations for what I can do especially in the winter months when I can not wear hair wet will be very appreciated. Thank you, Val.

January 1, 2009 at 8:56 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To Andrea: You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by. :)

January 8, 2009 at 1:27 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "Anonymous": Thanks so much for your question, Val. Have you tried Miss Jessie's products? I know quite a few people who have transitioned from relaxers back to their natural hair using those products. Here's a link to their website:


I hope this helps! :)

January 8, 2009 at 1:31 PM
Anonymous said...

I wanted to know if i used a relaxer in my hair would it be okay to use a semi-permanent color in my hair. The color is called crimson its a redish color, so would that be to harsh on my hair?

February 15, 2009 at 9:51 AM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "Anonymous": Semipermanent haircolor partially penetrates the hair shaft and slowly fades with shampooing. It doesn't lighten the hair and is usually used to enhance fading haircolor.

With that said it's a lot less harsh then using demi-permanent or permanent haircolor; and yes, you can use it with a relaxer.

But, because your hair will now have to withstand two chemical processes, you should consider using a mild relaxer. Also, be sure to incorporate deep conditioning treatments into your haircare regimen.

I hope this helps! :)

February 16, 2009 at 12:12 PM

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