While the natural hair movement hasn't stopped gaining steam, there are a growing number of people who are deciding to move back to relaxing their hair. Contrary to what some people might think, natural hair can take a lot of time and effort to maintain, with some looking for more versatility in their styling options. This has caused a growing number to embrace relaxing again.
But what if you decided that the bone-straight hair that results from relaxing isn't what you want because your hair doesn't look as thick and full as you'd like? And you know that kinky, curly, or wavy hairstyles aren't always your thing, so texturizers aren't for you. Don't worry, because there is an in-between process—it's known as texlaxing.
Keep scrolling to learn all about texlaxing hair, as well as side effects, below.
Meet the Expert
- Leigh Hardges is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.
- Veronica Joseph is an IAT Certified Hair Practitioner and Natural Hair Brand Founder at Luxju Natural Hair Products.
What is Texlaxing?
Texlaxing, when done correctly, provides your curls' pattern with more body and fullness than a straightening relaxer. Leigh Hardges, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago explains, "Traditional relaxing permanently straightens the hair approximately 85%. Texlaxing is using the relaxer cream to slightly relax the hair’s natural texture removing about 25-50% of the natural texture."
Texlaxing vs. Relaxing: What's the Difference?
One of the reasons some women resort to texlaxing is to make their curls more manageable, particularly when it comes to straightening with thermal tools. Veronica Joseph, founder of Luxju Natural Hair Products, says, "Both texlaxing and relaxing hair alter the structure of virgin hair permanently. However with relaxing hair, the objective is for hair to be straight and with texlaxing the objective is a looser curl."
How to Texlax Natural Hair
To start, you'll need a complete relaxer kit, including gloves and neutralizing shampoo. You'll also need oil or conditioner. Olive oil and coconut oil are good choices for oils; your regular rinse-out conditioner will do if you choose to use a conditioner instead. Plastic hair clips, a comb, and a clock timer are all important as well, so go out and buy them if you don't have them laying around the house.
- Separate your hair into four sections. Part horizontally from ear to ear, and from front to back. Use clips to hold hair out of the way when not working on that section.
- After, apply oil or conditioner to each section. Do not saturate your hair. It shouldn't be wet or damp, just well-coated. Gently work the product with a wide-tooth comb to ensure even coverage.
As an alternative, you might choose to add a small amount (approximately 1/4 cup) of oil or conditioner directly to the relaxer mix, making sure it's completely incorporated into it. This dilutes the straightening chemicals, and weakens them before they're applied to your hair.
- Mix the relaxer as you normally would for a virgin hair application or touch-up. Hardges says, "Apply the relaxer to the hair two inches away from the scalp. Once fully applied, comb through the hair gently with a wide tooth comb." Only apply it all over if your hair is 100% natural. Otherwise, apply as instructed for a touch-up.
- Leave the relaxer on for three to ten minutes—timing is usually the most difficult part of texlaxing. Check your pattern by gently pulling a small section of hair. Once it resembles an 'S', your processing time is complete. If it's straight upon pulling, it's overprocessed.
- For the next step, Hardges says, "Then the hair is rinsed thoroughly for at least five minutes or until the water runs clear. Neutralize according to the manufacturer’s instructions."
- Apply a conditioner or a deep conditioner, and then rinse out as directed.
Because timing is so crucial, Texlaxing can be one of the more difficult processes to get perfectly right the first time. With texlaxing, it's better to err on the side of less time rather than more. This isn't the time to apply chemicals and then post up in front of the television, especially since you only have a few minutes to get it right. Stay close to your clock or timer, and check your hair every minute or so. It's also a good idea to enlist a friend's help to reach the back areas of your head. It's not easy to self-texlax once you reach the back, and having another set of eyes and hands can help ensure the process goes more smoothly.
The Benefits of Texlaxing Hair
Texlaxing is great for people who want a slightly looser curl pattern, but don't want bone straight hair. With texlaxing, you'll still maintain a lot of body and volume, too. And since your hair isn't super straight and still has some texture, you'll be able to still rock a variety of styles, like bantu knots, braid-outs and twists. And since the chemicals are left on your hair for a shorter amount of time, the damage to your hair is minimized.
Possible Side Effects
Unfortunately, if your hair winds up overprocessed, there's nothing you can do to reverse it. Jospeh, who advises against getting the treatment, warns, "There is the potential for hair to be overly chemically processed, leading to the loss of all texture and curl pattern. Also, your textured hair could become fully straightened, dry and weak and subject to breakage. The scalp could also be burnt, scarred and damaged by the treatment leading to hair loss." Hardges adds, "You can run the risk of over processing the hair, so it’s best to seek out a professional. You can also have slightly uneven texture all over because curl patterns vary throughout the head."
And as with other irreversible treatments, you have to wait for your new growth to come in. The only way to quickly remove the texlax from your hair would be to do a big chop and allow your hair to grow back naturally.
The Final Takeaway
While texlaxing might be a great choice for those who want a looser curl pattern, it still permanently changes the structure of your hair. Just keep in mind that if you want to revert back to your natural hair, you'll either have to grow out the texlax, or do the big chop.