How to Texlax Black Hair

Two black women, one with natural hair and one whose hair has been texlaxed
 Tim Robberts/Getty Images

So, you've 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. However, 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. Texlaxing, when done correctly, provides your curls' pattern with more body and fullness than a straightening relaxer. 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. 

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, and apply it to your hair as directed. Only apply it all over if your hair is 100% natural. Otherwise, apply as instructed for a touch-up. Before applying, smooth conditioner or oil over previously processed hair. This places a barrier between the relaxer and your tresses, in case the chemicals spill over. 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. 

Because timing is so crucial, Texlaxing can be one of the more difficult processes to get perfectly right the first time. 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.

Unfortunately, if your hair winds up overprocessed, there's nothing you can do to reverse it. As with other irreversible treatments, you have to wait for your new growth to come in. 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. Follow the box directions for rinsing and shampooing with a neutralizing cleanser. Apply a conditioner or a deep conditioner, and then rinse out as directed. If you've done it right, congratulations, your hair is now texlaxed.

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