Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Difference Between Relaxers And Perms

This is from Hair Buddah.  I was watching one of those hair fails he does where someone had permed their hair and then relaxed it and it left their hair in terrible shape.  He mentioned something about one breaks bonds and puts it together one way and the other does it a slightly different way so I decided I wanted to find out the difference and I'm sharing it with you.

Although some people think they are the same, they really aren't.  Both relaxers and perms rely on using chemicals to create a certain look, it is opposite looks.  One is to curl your hair and one is to get rid of the curl.  In addition, there is a reverse perm which is designed to straighten it.  So lets look at each of these step by step.

The perm, short for permanent wave, uses chemicals and curling rods to create curl in straight hair.  The mixture is absorbed by the hair which makes a permanent change.  Due to the nature of perms, women with curly hair can use them to enhance the curls or to make nice waves.  In the reverse perm, uses the exact same chemicals as the regular perm but instead of using curling rods, a flat iron is used to straighten it. When hair is straightened using a reverse perm, it lasts up to six months.

The process to get a perm generally requires the hair to be placed around a specific type of curling rod.  Then they are saturated in a solution containing ammonium thioglycolate which causes the hair bonds to break so that their structure can be changed. Consequently, the hair on the rods will then take the shape of the curlers or curling rods. After about 15 minutes, the solution is rinsed out of the hair without removing the rods, then a neutralizing solution is applied to reform bonds so the curls stay in the hair. About 5 minutes later, the rods are removed, the hair is gently blow dried, and your hair has lovely new curls.

On the other hand, relaxers usually have stronger chemicals which cause the hair to be straightened without using any tools.  Although the chemicals can be stronger than those used for a perm, the results only last about three months. The process for relaxing hair is to apply a solution which breaks the hair bonds so the curls are relaxed and hair straightened. 

Usually, when starting the process, the scalp is covered with something to protect it from the chemicals.  Then the relaxer cream should be applied evenly all over the hair but the strands should not be stretched.  The cream is then left for about 15 minutes on the hair before it is washed out with a neutralizing shampoo and conditioner.  There are three types of relaxers, the lye relaxer, the non-lye relaxer, and the relaxer with the ammonium thioglycolate in it.  Yes, this is the same ingredient used in perms but when used in a relaxer, it is found at a higher concentration.

So know you know the differences between perms and relaxers.  On Friday, I'll look at the different types of perms so if you are considering a perm, you have a much better idea of which one to get. One thing to keep in mind is that if you bleach your hair, you should not be getting a perm or relaxing it otherwise you could end up with extremely damaged hair. So let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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