Texturizer vs. Relaxer: Which is Best for Your Natural Hair?

5min Read

Texturizer vs. Relaxer: Which is Best for Your Natural Hair?

If you have found your way to this article, then you may be considering making a drastic change to your natural hair. 

We understand that adding processing chemicals to your natural hair can be a scary thought, especially if you have been rocking your natural hair for a long time.

Forget what you’ve heard! We’re here to answer all of your questions and to clear up any misconceptions you may have believed.

We are going to break down what they are, what they will do to your natural hair, and how you can maintain your new desired look!

What is a Hair Texturizer?

A hair texturizer is a chemical process that loosens your hair’s natural curl pattern. Unlike relaxers, hair texturizers are not left on long enough to completely straighten your hair. 

To get a little more scientific, the chemicals are used to alter the structure of the proteins, like keratin, that make up your hair. The texturizer breaks the bonds in the hair protein, which explains why the result is a looser curl pattern.

What Will a Texturizer Do to Your Natural Hair? 

Typically, hair texturizers are used when you don’t want to take away your curl pattern. They allow you to keep your natural curls, but in a looser form. 

Keep in mind that a texturizer will permanently change the natural curl pattern of your hair. Once it has been placed into your hair, your hair will no longer be “natural”, despite what some natural texturizers brands may claim.

If you love your curls, but find that they are hard to detangle, comb through, or maintain, then a texturizer could be a great option for you.

There are a lot of great benefits for texturizing your hair! 

Hair texturizers can:

  • Provide you with more manageable curls
  • Help boost your shine
  • Reduce frizz and flyaways 
  • Promote hair growth
  • Give you the opportunity to try new styles 

Do Texturizers Damage Natural Hair?

For the people in the back, texturizers permanently alter your hair’s structure just like relaxers do.

Mild-strength relaxers are formulated for fine, color-treated, or damaged hair. This strength is also used for texturizing hair (leaving some curl and wave in the hair). 

Texturizing the hair using a mild relaxer does less harm, because there is less hydroxide and less time on the hair resulting in less breakdown of the disulfide bonds.

You are putting chemicals into your hair, which irreversibly breaks bonds in the hair protein. After texturizing your hair, you may notice the following occur:

  • Weakened strands of hair
  • Dry and itchy scalp
  • Hair loss
  • Breakage

That’s why it is super important and highly recommended to texturize your hair with a licensed professional who can recommend a texturizer that is suitable to your hair type.

If “done right”, meaning you are also getting a deep conditioning treatment, you should have little to worry about.  

Furthermore, a strong aftercare routine is always important!

How Long Does a Hair Texturizer Last?

To clear up any lasting misconceptions... texturizers. are. permanent. 

When maintaining your texturized hair, you will need to apply texturizer to the new hair growth about every 8 to 12 weeks to ensure that the incoming curls are being loosened as your hair continues to grow. You don’t want to put the chemicals on the same area that has already been texturized, the goal of this is to add it right above the line of demarcation.

 However, the actual amount of time will vary based on your hair type, genetic growth, and how well you take care of your hair. 

What is a Hair Relaxer?

A hair relaxer is a chemical process that has the purpose of permanently straightening your hair, completely removing your hair’s natural curl pattern. 

Hair relaxers break down the natural keratin proteins made in our hair, which are held together by disulfide bonds. 

 Lye Relaxers vs. No-lye Relaxers

Another component of relaxers is whether or not it has the presence of lye. 

Lye relaxers are made with sodium hydroxide and tend to be stronger. Your natural hair should have a pH level around 4-5 pH, compared to the pH level of 12-14 found in lye relaxers, which means that they will work faster.

The only downside to using a lye relaxer is that if not applied correctly, typically meaning it was left on for too long, it can lead to an irritated scalp.

No-lye relaxers are sodium hydroxide-free with a lower pH level of 9-11 pH. These types of relaxers are much better for people who have sensitive scalps.  The one downside is that this type of relaxer is very drying and can cause calcium buildup if not rinsed out properly. 

What Will a Relaxer Do to Your Natural Hair? 

When you apply the chemicals to your hair, the bonds will break and the keratin proteins will straighten, leaving you with sleek and bone-straight hair.

If you are considering changing your hair pattern all together and going from natural curls to straight hair, then a relaxer could be a good option for you. 

A relaxer will change your natural curl pattern to a pattern that is completely straight without a curl in sight!

Do Relaxers Damage Natural Hair?

Since a relaxer is a chemical process, it can cause damage to your hair. 

If your hair was over-processed when applying the relaxer, your hair might not have as much body and could lack elasticity. 

There are a lot of the same side effects as there are with using a texturizer on your hair, including:

  • Weak or dry hair
  • Dry and/or irritated scalp
  • Hair loss
  • Hair thinning
  • Hair breakage

To prevent this type of damage, it is always recommended to get your hair relaxed by a licensed professional who knows proper application and processing techniques. 

Also don’t forget to invest into your aftercare routine!

How Long Does a Relaxer Last on Natural Hair?

A relaxer lasts the same amount of time as a texturizer. That being said, you should expect to apply your hair relaxer to new hair growth every 8 to 12 weeks so that you can maintain your style.

But remember that the exact amount of time will vary depending on your hair type, genetic growth, and how well you take care of your hair.

Texturizers vs. Relaxers: What’s the Difference? 

There isn’t a ton of difference in the actual chemical components that are in a relaxer or a texturizer. They are both a cream or lotion with an activator, however one difference is that a texturizer uses a mild-strength relaxer.

Additionally a relaxer must stay on your hair for longer than a texturizer in order to accomplish the permanent straightening of your natural hair texture. 

Like the texturizer, a relaxer works by breaking the bonds of the protein that’s in your hair. Unlike the texturizer, you will not have any curl pattern to your hair whatsoever if you elect to use a relaxer.

Applying a relaxer is the same as applying a texturizer with the difference being that you will leave the relaxer on longer than the texturizer.

So in short, the difference is the amount of time the chemicals are left on your hair.

Pros and Cons of Texturizing Natural Hair

There are a lot of great reasons why you might want to texturize your natural hair, but it’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision that will permanently change the texture and style of your hair. 

First, let’s dig into the pros of texturizing your hair!

  • With a looser curl pattern, your hair could become easier to maintain
  • You will keep some of your original texture since you aren’t totally eliminating all of your curls.
  • If your hair naturally shrinks when it is wet, such as if you have a 4C curl pattern, you will notice less shrinkage. This results in not having to use as many stretching techniques when styling. 
  • For some, you might be able to wait longer than 2 to 3 months on a touchup if your natural curl pattern is similar to your curls after you apply the texturizer
  • Less frizz, less time styling, and faster drying

But, of course, there are some cons you may want to consider before texturizing your natural hair: 

  • Despite whether you select a texturizer brand that claims to be “natural” or not, you are still going to be applying chemicals onto your hair. 
  • If you regret putting a texturizer in your hair after it is done, the results are permanent and you will have to wait until your hair has grown out then cut your texturized hair to get back your natural curl pattern
  • Texturizers don’t always provide an even curl pattern for those with longer hair 
  • It can possibly weaken hair, cause damage, and cause breakage 

Pros and Cons of Relaxing Natural Hair

If straight hair is on your radar, then a relaxer would be a great option for you. But again, before you decide, let’s talk about those pros and cons.

The pros of relaxing could be:

  • If you prefer to wear your hair straight, well then you will have straight hair all of the time with a relaxer. (As long as it’s maintained of course)
  • You will be able to reduce your styling time compared to naturally curly hair.
  • Less frizz
  • Able to see true length because shrinkage is obsolete

On the other hand, cons of this would be:

  • You won’t be able to reverse the effects of straightening your hair.
  • If your relaxer is left on for too long or done incorrectly, it could lead to hair damage, dry/itchy scalp, and even a huge loss of hair.

Shedavi’s Aftercare Regimen Curated For Your New Style!

We hope you have made a confident decision by now for whether you want to texturize or relax your natural hair. With either option, you are guaranteed to have hair that leaves you feeling like a new, gorgeous you!

Whatever you choose is completely up to you. However, we encourage you to use caution when applying chemicals to your hair. Overprocessing can be dangerous, leading to hair loss, scalp burn, hair thinning, and overall irritation. 

Aside from going to see a professional stylist for your relaxer or texturizer, it is important to have a strong aftercare routine once you have applied any chemicals to your hair.

Chemical processes tend to dull your hair and dry out your scalp, so you’ll need as much lightweight moisture you can get your hands on.

Shedavi's Crowned Leave-in Conditioner

After getting your hair treated, use the Shedavi Leave-In conditioner  to promote longer and healthier hair. This vegan formula, which is sulfate and paraben free, will help keep your hair soft and moisturized in-between touch ups.

Shedavi Hair Scalp Growth Elixir

With over 20 different essential oils, the Shedavi Hair + Scalp Elixir will help trap in moisture and aid your dry scalp. 

Regardless of if you use a relaxer or texturizer, or even if you’re natural, Shedavi products can help keep your hair healthy and looking beautiful. 

Losing moisture is inevitable from the effects of chemical processing. Shedavi’s Crowned Moisturizing Conditioner  can be used to restore the moisture that your post-processed hair needs to keep it’s stunning style!

As you know now, applying chemicals to your hair can cause scalp irritation. Shedavi’s Crowned Moisturizing Shampoo  is sulfate free and gentler than most shampoos, which makes it the best option to wash your hair between chemical applications. 

Check out Shedavi’s Cowash, which can be used to gently cleanse and condition the hair without stripping since your hair will be in a weaker state when chemically processed.

Full of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, Shedavi’s Protein Masque Deep Conditioner can be sure to deep condition and repair weakened hair strands, adding back the strength your relaxed or texturized hair will need!

Is a Hair Texturizer Better than a Hair Relaxer? 

Deciding on which one is best for your hair depends on what look you’re ultimately trying to accomplish. 

If you’re looking for your hair to appear wavy or just looser in general, then a texturizer would be the better option. The texturizer will make your hair easier to maintain and you will still have visible curl patterns. 

One thing to note is that you are loosening your texture and not completely making it straight. Because of this, it will be difficult to achieve that same exact texture if you were to apply it to incoming growth. Therefore, texturizers are easier to apply for those with short to medium hair, however if you have long hair, don’t worry, plenty of women with long hair benefit from texturizers.

On the other hand, if your goal is to completely eliminate frizz and to get bone straight tresses, then a relaxer is your best option. Additionally, a relaxer is much more forgiving than a texturizer, considering that you can have any length of hair without having to worry about your curl pattern looking different.

Regardless of what you choose, you are going to look amazing after! Keep our guide handy so that you can turn to the proper steps that need to be taken to keep your hair healthy & beautiful. 

Oh, and don’t forget to share with your girlies who are considering taking their lustrous hair to the next level!

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  • Adrianna. Stukes

    Thank you! This was
    so helpful and came on time for my hair decision. Thank you.

  • Monique Hicks

    Thanks so much for this very useful information. I have recently stop blowing out my natural hair. This assisted me in making the decision to purchase one of your products to maintain moisture in my natural hair.

  • Stephanie B W

    Good, informative & short article on the subject.
    More please on good after care! Thanks