WHAT IS HAIR?
Hair is a fibrous protein known as alpha keratin. It is elastic in texture, insoluble in water and resistant to chemical change. Each hair shaft grows from a single follicle in the scalp. The follicle secretes sebum [natural skin oil] from a sebaceous gland which provides lubrication for scalp and hair. Sebum gives hair its pH rating.
Keratin is composed of amino acids joined into long interwoven molecules called polychains. Adjacent polypeptide chains contain several links and bonds [Cystine or Disulphide bonds; and weaker Hydrogen bonds]. Cystine bonds are the foundation of hair and support the structure of the shaft.
The Cuticle is the outer protective layer composed of overlapping scales from the scalp up, as in fingernails. It is the framing structure that determines the shape and direction of the hair shaft. Curly, wavy and kinky hair appear to have twice as much cuticle as straight hair; however, both have the same amount.
The Cortex of the hair shaft is the layer that contains natural colour and helps protect the inner structure of the hair from potential harm such as the sun’s UV rays. Artificial colour when using peroxides, reside here [by literally punching microscopic holes in the cuticle and allowing colour to reach the cortex]. The transparent outer cuticle enables the color in the cortex to be seen. All affected bonds during relaxing reside in the cortex, making it the most important part of the hair in relaxing.
BASING THE SCALP PRIOR TO RELAXING
Our relaxers are formulated as NO-BASE RELAXERS [incorporated oils and buffers to protect the scalp and hair]; however, it is advisable to base the scalp on most situations for added comfort and protection.
MVP’s OIL SHEEN SPRAY, HAIR POMADES or ESSENTIAL OILS can base the scalp for extra protection, conditioning and sheen
WHY AREN'T RELAXERS CALLED STRAIGHTENERS?
When you read all the material and related instructions, you will find that the manufacturer does not claim the product will straighten hair. The claim is that the products will relax hair. Hair relaxing and hair straightening are not the same. Hair relaxing will not straighten hair, it merely softens it for straightening. You are the straightener by working the product according to the manufacturers instructions.
TWO CAUSES OF BALD SPOTS ON THE SCALP AFTER RELAXING
An allergic reaction, caused by a chemical clash between the patron’s body chemistry and the active ingredient in the relaxer causes the hair to break or shed off at the scalp. This may leave a bald spot about the size of a quarter, fifty-cent or two-hundred cedi coin. This condition is temporary and the hair should grow back in a short period of time.
A nervous condition that is being experienced by your patron and part of the cause could be due to medication or changing body chemistry. This condition combined with the active ingredient in the relaxer will manifest itself in this manner.
CAN PLAIN WATER NEUTRALIZE A RELAXER?
No! Water appears to neutralize the relaxer as you rinse the relaxer off the scalp and the burning sensation ceases. The water rinses away the relaxer from the hair and not what is in the hair. Only the active ingredients in the neutralizer can penetrate the hair shaft and stop the action of the relaxer’s active ingredients in the hair.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR PRIOR TO RELAXING?
Check for dryness and brittleness. Check the scalp for scratches, cuts, redness, soreness, pimples or other abrasions. These conditions must be cleared or protected before relaxing to avoid extreme discomfort. Do a
simple strand test by holding a few strands of hair at the end between your thumb and forefinger and tug lightly. Check areas of hair where breakages may occur:
If it breaks at the ends, breakage may be caused by split ends. Clip them.
If it breaks at the middle, then it is damaged, weak or porous. This problem must be corrected by one or more conditioning treatments before relaxing. Condition the hair with MVP’s VITALIZER POSITIVE CONDITIONER, STOP BREAKAGE CONDITIONER or CORRECTIVE CONDITIONER.
If it breaks at the scalp, this is serious and beyond your control to correct. It may be due to body chemistry or medication. Do not relax hair when breakage is close to the scalp.
You should also check the scalp prior to relaxing. Look for cuts, scratches, redness, soreness, pimples and other abrasions. These conditions must be cleared or protected before relaxing else your patron will experience great discomfort. If your client has pimples, psoriasis or acne around the face and forehead, chances are the same conditions are hidden under the scalp.
WHY SOME HAIR WILL NOT RELAX?
This is normally due to the patron’s body chemistry. If your patron is on certain medication or consumes large quantities of acid-laden foods or drinks such as lemon, lime, orange juice, carbonated soft drinks or is experiencing a nervous condition or in various stages of pregnancy, these lower normal body pH from 5.5 to 3.5. This means that any scalp secretions, perspiration or sebum will be at that low pH. Heavy hairdressings coat the lower hair shaft causing a pre-neutralizing effect on the hair prior to contact with the relaxer. Combining a relaxer cream with a pH of 3.5 to 4 may result in a pH of 8.5 or less, too low to relax hair.
Shampoo gently two days prior to treatment. Shampoo very gently without disturbing the scalp. When the client returns two days later, chances are, hair will relax. Although this treatment will not solve the original problem, there will not be enough build-up of natural body fluids to cause retardation of the relaxer.
WHY BREAKAGE MAY APPEAR AT THE NAPE AFTER RELAXING?
Generally, after you have rinsed the relaxer from the hair, you lean the client back on the bowl without first rinsing leftover relaxer from the neck of the bowl. Therfore, the relaxer recontacts hair at the nape of the neck and over-processing is possible.
Rinse the relaxer from the neck of the bowl properly.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF EXTREME BREAKAGE SHORTLY AFTER RELAXING?
If your hair was in good condition prior to relaxing, but then starts to break or shed after the relaxer treatment, this is probably due to improper neutralizing. The shampoo was not left in the hair long enough to properly neutralize the relaxer. The neutralizing shampoo must be in contact with the hair for at least 5 minutes regardless of how many soapings you give. It takes at least that long for active ingredients in the neutralizer to penetrate all three layers of the hair shaft and bring the pH of the hair down to normal. If you rinse the neutralizing shampoo from the hair too soon, you may stop the action of the neutralizer while the pH of the chemical in the hair is still in the high alkaline state. This will cause breakage and shedding because some active ingredients from the relaxer are still in the inner-hair causing rapid deterioration. Using MVP’S VITALIZER POSITIVE CONDITIONER prior to neutralization helps eliminate alkaline substances inside the hair shaft and thus prevent breakage problems due to neutralizing.
WHY DO PATRONS EXPERIENCE IRRITATION AROUND THE HAIRLINES?
Prior to coming to the salon, your patron may have washed her face past the hairline, allowing for the same sensitivity in that area that would have been caused if the entire hair and scalp had been shampooed. During winter, coat collars can cause heightened sensitivity in this area rubbing against the back of the neck. Also, the use of creams and facial masks on the face and around the hairline can cause this problem.