I will tell you today about the common misconceptions in the beauty and hair industry. Lets begin with the proper terminology for common services. We tend to use the following words incorrectly: Perm & rinse.

A permanent wave (perm), a service normally geared to caucasians or people with straight hair wanting to go curly. The active ingredient in a perm is Ammonium Thioglycolate.  The perming process includes roding the hair with perm rods after a clarifying shampoo, and applying a perm solution(not pleasently scented), which softens and swells the hair shaft. That sits  and processes for about 20 min (time may vary per individual),then the rods are thoroughly rinsed well and towel blotted dry. Then the neutralizing solution, which contracts the hair shaft to lock in the curl in to permanently mimic the shape of the rod that it is wrapped around, is applied and allowed about 5-10 min to process. The rods are removed and rinsed and you are left with a beautiful curly hair pattern. That is a perm.

A Relaxer is the correct term for chemically straightening the hair. The active ingredient in a relaxer is Sodium Hydroxide, Calcium Hydroxide, or Lithium Hydroxide depending on the type of relaxer (regular strengths, no-lye or lo-lye, sensitive scalp etc). This is the process of applying a creme based chemical (the relaxer) to the hair roots (if retouch) or entire shaft of hair (virgin relaxer). As the relaxer is being worked through (smoothed) the chemical begins to break down the textured structure of the hair, similar to a perm by softening and swelling the hair shaft, straightening the hair. When it is thoroughly rinsed it is then shampood with a neutralizing shampoo which contracts the hair to maintain the staightness, as well as seize the processing of the relaxer.

So when you go to recieve services from your hair care professional, you know the difference between a Perm and a Relaxer and the basics of the procedure. Remember these are chemical services that should be done by a professional. I just feel like clients should know what to expect from a beauty professional, how to ask for it properly and know what it is doing to their hair.

I will talk next time about the difference between a rinse, temporary, semi-permanant, demi-permanant, and permanant colors.

If there is a particular topic you would like me to address just leave a comment.

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