Origin of Relaxers-What They Didn’t Tell You

Alright let’s throw back to the origin.

In 1910, a child of former black slaves, under the name “Garrett Augustus Morgan“, while working at a sewing machine repair shop and attempting to invent a new lubricating liquid for the machine needle, wiped the liquid off his hands on a wool cloth. He returned the next day to discover that the woolly texture of the cloth had smoothed out.

Garrett Morgan (1877-1963)
Garrett Morgan (1877-1963)

Unsure of what had taken place, he went ahead to experiment on an Airedale dog, Airedale Terriers are war dogs that have curly textured hair and to his amazement, the dog’s hair straightened in reaction to the lubricating liquid.

Airedale Terrier
Airedale Terrier

What’s in A Relaxer?

  • Sodium hydroxide (Lye)
  • Calcium hydroxide
  • Lithium hydroxide
  • Guanidine carbonate
  • Guanidine hydroxide
  • Thioglycolic acid

Now, of all these damaging chemicals listed above, sodium hydroxide (due to its powerful alkaline nature) happens to be the strongest type of chemical employed in the manufacture of some relaxers.

Yes you read that right, I said “some relaxers”. Reason is there’s another chemical that is now being used in place of sodium hydroxide, it’s known as guanidine hydroxide and it is the active ingredient in those relaxers that are tagged ‘No Lye’ relaxers. Guanidine is actually believed to be less damaging than sodium since it’s pH value is lower than that of sodium and so, manufacturers give off the notion that ‘no lye’ relaxers are safer to use. This is a lie because both classes of relaxers pose potential damage to black hair textures.

Dangers of Relaxers

  1. Penetrates the cortex and loosens hair’s natural curl pattern (Girl! those curls are precious).
  2. Eliminates hair’s strength and elasticity.
  3. Strips hair of natural oils.
  4. Leaves hair weak and extremely susceptible to breakage and further damage.

My Advice

If you must relax,

  1. be sure to  deep condition weekly, use moisturisers and leave in conditioners on a regular in order to cushion the drying effects of relaxers.
  2. avoid heat from hair straighteners and blow driers so the hair doesn’t get drier than it already is.

All in all, how you choose to wear your hair (be it natural or relaxed) doesn’t define your person but how you care for it certainly does. Everything ain’t for everybody. Just do you!

PS: I haven’t posted in a while and you didn’t check on me, na waa oh..I thought we was a family breh!

Anyways you know how much I love to read from you, so don’t forget to leave a comment & please subscribe to our blog posts when you enter your email address and click the follow button under it.



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