The Truth: Lye vs No-Lye Relaxers


Have
you ever wondered what the differences were between the box relaxers kits at the drug store
and the relaxer that the salons use? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s
chat:

About
No-lye Relaxers:

No-lye,
or box kits, are commonly found in local drug and beauty supply stores. No-lye
relaxers are made up of lithium, guanidine, or potassium hydroxide. These
ingredients tend to be less irritating on the scalp. However, this type of relaxer leaves calcium build-up on the
hair shaft with long-term use, which makes it difficult for your hair to absorb moisture. Remember, relaxing your hair is a permanent change and
this is not the way you want to start off. As we learned, low moisture = dry
hair = breakage, which means you will have a heck of a hard time retaining your
‘old hair’ and may never reach your hair length goals. If you use no-lye
relaxer and notice that you hair seems dull, lifeless, and brittle then you may
have calcium buildup. It is recommended that you clarify regularly to remove
the buildup. A chealating shampoo can be used to do this (at least 1x/month). 
You must also be careful to not neglect your strands and moisturize daily, or
more if needed, to prevent increased dryness.
Tip: Use the Google search on this page and type “chealating shampoo” for common brands. Also, look for swimmer’s shampoos–they contain the chealating ingredients that you need.
About
Lye Relaxers:
The active ingredient in a lye
relaxer is sodium hydroxide, which tends to be more irritating on the scalp,
but better for the hair. Special precaution is taken to avoid scalp
irritation, by basing your scalp with oil or hair grease prior to applying the relaxer.  Unlike no-lye kits, lye relaxers never have to be mixed with an
activator and do not result in calcium buildup. They are commonly found in salons and specialized stores such as
Sally’s Beauty Supply and also come in difference strengths such as regular,
mild, and super. Hair has a pH balance of 4-5 and the pH level of lye relaxers is
approximately 12-14 (no lye is 9-11). So what does this mumbo jumbo mean? It
means that a lye relaxer straightens your hair faster, which means it doesn’t
need to be left on too long, leading to over-processing.  Lye relaxers result in
straighter, softer, and silkier hair. Why? Since it does not leave behind
calcium deposits, your hair is allowed to receive and absorb the moisture it needs
to thrive.
Bottom  Line:
All
relaxers contain chemicals and precaution must be taken regardless of if you
are using lye or no-lye.  However,
contrary to a popular scene in the movie “Good Hair,” relaxers no longer
contain the extreme amounts of chemicals it did in the past. In fact, most relaxers, both lye and no-lye, now contain moisturizing ingredients such as honey, oils, shea
and cocoa butters, etc. Also, please remember that relaxers should never be
applied to the scalp—period. You should not determine if you are ready to rinse
a relaxer out based on how bad your head is burning. THIS IS A WARNING SIGN.
You head should not be burning at all.  You should also protect your ‘old hair’ during
touch-ups to avoid over-processing.  When
relaxers are used correctly and a good regimen is in place, hair can actually
thrive and grow long & healthy as it should.  
The
first thing I did at the start of my Hairvolution was switch from a no-lye to a
lye relaxer and it was the BEST THING I DID. As soon as I rinsed it out, my
hair felt soooo different and I was sold. My strands immediately absorbed moisture better and felt
silkier. That’s when a bubble appeared over my head and there was an “Aha!” moment. Switching relaxer types got the party started and I haven’t stopped dancing since. I strongly recommend avoiding box kits at all costs; don’t be fooled by the marketing techniques used to misguide you. If your symptoms are similar to the
damaging effects of no-lye relaxers we’ve discussed earlier, then this was written for you. I self-relax, but if you’re
not ready for that then consider going to the salon and switching as soon as
you can! I’m sure some of ya’ll have thought , “my hair feels and
looks so much better when the salon does my touch-up.” The secret is in the
relaxer. Take control of your hair girl =)
Tip:
I use Silk Elements Lye Relaxer and this is the only relaxer that I can vouch
for and recommend if you want to make the switch. I add a little bit of olive
oil to the relaxer before applying so that it is infused into my strands—like a
treatment so I’m killing two birds with one stone. Plus I do not want my hair
bone straight, so the olive oil helps to decrease the strength of the relaxer,
resulting in texlaxed hair. If you have any questions or requests, leave
a comment!

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