Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Mid-Relaxer Conditioning Protein Step

As I'm getting closer to my relax day, I've been on a mission to make sure that this experience will not set me back to APL. As i was doing my research to see how i can relax my hair and have healthy results, i came across this article that broke down the Mid-Relaxer Protein Step. I told you guys about this process a couple of weeks back. Here's the full break down on how it's done.

Several relaxer formulations come with a mid-relaxer protein conditioning step that involves the application of a mild protein treatment between the relaxer rinsing and neutralizing stages of the chemical relaxer process. This five minute step is done essentially to restore protein stores lost or compromised during the relaxer application. The great thing about this mid-relaxer protein conditioning step is that it can be safely performed with any chemical relaxer brand that you like and with any mild protein conditioner that you like! The steps are simple. Thoroughly rinse the relaxer creme from your hair with warm water after processing. Apply your mild protein conditioning treatment to your hair for three to five minutes. Rinse thoroughly and proceed with the rest of your neutralizing procedure. Some people like to start washing out their relaxer 3-5 minutes earlier than normal to accommodate this step. This is optional. You can still safely fully process your hair with the relaxer for the normal, recommended time and incorporate this beneficial step.

The Benefits
The main benefit of this mid-relaxer protein procedure is the maximum penetration of the protein molecules deep into the hair shaft that it permits. As you have read, relaxers disturb and destroy the protein bonding structure of our hair. This is the same structure that is responsible for our hair’s strength and elasticity. The point after the relaxer is rinsed, and right before the neutralizing phase is the most critical point in the relaxing process for the hair shaft. It is here that the hair cuticle is most open and receptive to treatments. Yet another benefit of this mid-relaxer protein conditioning step is the increased body, strength, and volume it gives the hair following a chemical relaxer. The hair does not exhibit that limp, thin lifeless look that it typically has after a fresh relaxer. This mid protein step actually increases the body and thickness of the hair shaft! Why this works Because of the relaxer’s high pH, the cuticle layer is the most open it will ever be. Introducing the protein at this phase allows for maximum protein penetration and replacement due to the extreme lifting of the cuticle layer following the relaxing process.

But Will the relaxer still continue to process my hair?
The relaxing process is a chemical reaction that is not compatible at low pHs. Relaxers work in the 10-14 pH range. It is the low pH of the neutralizer that stops the neutralizing process, nothing special. Any and all of the products you apply following the rinsing of the relaxer help to gradually bring the pH of your hair back down to its normal pH of about 4.5 to 5.5.You should insist on using a neutralizing shampoo with a color indicator for all of your relaxer applications. This color alarm acts as a “litmus test ” that reads the pH of a particular chemical and produces a tell-tell color to inform you of any chemical change. Relaxers raise the pH of the hair in order to lift and open the hair cuticle for the straightening process. Neutralizing shampoo enters the raised cuticle to lower the pH of the hair and halt the relaxing process. This litmus test is the only way that you can be 100% sure that the hair’s pH has been restored to normal levels and that the chemical action of the relaxer has truly stopped within the strand.

Relaxers are not surface-acting chemicals that can easily be rinsed away. These chemicals penetrate the hair shaft very deeply, so one or two quick rinses with a neutralizing shampoo is not enough to halt the relaxer action. With a typical neutralizing shampoo it can take anywhere from 15-45 minutes and several vigorous rinses before the color alarm indicates that you have removed all traces of the relaxer from deep within the hair strand. But what happens to most of us at a salon? The neutralizer is lathered up, we are rinsed maybe 2 or 3 times, conditioned, and then styled. If this is happening to you . . . run!

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