How does a relaxer work?

Updated at: Feb 05, 2013
How does a relaxer work?

How does a Relaxer work? Hair relaxers are creams or lotions which are used in order to straighten curls.

Editorial Team
Hair CareWritten by: Editorial TeamPublished at: Oct 05, 2011

Hair relaxers are creams or lotions which are used in order to straighten curls. Hair relaxers have two very powerful chemicals—

  • sodium hydroxide
  • guanidine hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide has a very high pH factor between 10 and 14. Guanidine hydroxide has a lower pH factor, but it can be just as damaging to the hair as sodium hydroxide. Both chemicals work together and bring transformation in the structure of the hair shaft. The change happens when the chemicals penetrate deep into the hair shaft and loosen the natural curl pattern located inside the hair cortex. Once the curl is loosened or ‘relaxed’, the hair becomes straight.


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