What’s the Difference?
Because hair products sometimes make conflicting and confusing claims, the average consumer may not know what effects a product will have on her hair. Just look at all the “natural” claims on bottles and jars. One drop of olive oil doesn’t make a product natural when every other ingredient is five syllables long!
When it comes to chemical processes like relaxers and texturizers, you should be particularly vigilant to avoid serious problems like breakage and hair loss.
What’s the difference when it comes to relaxers vs. texturizers anyway?
Relaxers are typically left on the hair anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, while texturizers shouldn’t be left on for more than five to 10. The amount of time the chemicals react with the hair is the main factor in differing results between the two processes.
This time factor is also what can make it difficult to get uniform results from one texturizer to the next. Two minutes may make a big difference in your results if you’re after slightly relaxed hair instead of a completely straight ‘do.
Don’t be fooled by claims that texturizers are a natural product. Both relaxers and texturizers contain chemicals that change the hair permanently. In many cases, these products contain the same ingredients — what alters the results is the time that they’re left on the hair. Texturizers can be packaged differently and offer various claims, i.e., they’re “healthier” or “better” for your hair than traditional relaxers, but read the ingredients label, and most contain sodium or calcium hydroxide.
When it comes to how straight you want your hair to be, there’s a big difference between the two processes.
Relaxers are made to “relax” the curl; in many cases, women choose to relax their hair completely, or bone, straight. This sometimes results in overprocessing and can leave the hair with little elasticity and no body.
A lot of people who choose to texturize their hair do so because they want an easy style switch between straight and curly/wavy textures. Having a texturizer makes some users feel their tresses are more manageable. Plus, they can wear their mane straight when they’re in the mood for it without having to worry as much about reversion that typically happens with natural hair and a humid climate.
Qualified stylists who care about the health of their clients’ hair can typically get consistent results with relaxers, and even texturizers, although the latter tend to be a bit trickier. While relaxers work well on S-shaped curls and Z-shaped curls, honest stylists should advise clients about unpredictable results from texturizers on Z-shaped textures.