Why Can't Texturizer Make Straight Hair Curly?

You can move from curly to wavy with texturizing, but not back.

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Ladies have several different chemical treatment options that can bring their manes into a state of fabulousness. Among these options is texturizing, a process that loosens up the curls you have to give you nice waves. They do not, however, work the other way. That is to say they can't make wavy or straight hair curly. This is because of the way the chemicals in the texturizer work.

The Chemical Foundation

Although texturizing solutions may contain several elements, their foundation is usually either sodium hydroxide (lye) or calcium hydroxide. These are the same chemicals found in relaxers, and in fact, the only real differences between texturizers and relaxers are the shorter amount of time texturizer is on the hair, the concentration of the chemicals and the fact that stylists don't comb your hair straight when texturizer is used.

What the Chemicals Do

The calcium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide found in texturizing solutions works virtually the same way as the chemicals in perms, which usually are ammonium thioglycolate or glyceryl monothioglycollate. They break down the bonds in your hair that give your strands their natural shape. Because the impact of texturizing or relaxing chemicals and perming chemicals is similar, many stylists consider texturizing and relaxing to be types of perming, with some stylists even using the word "perm" when they're talking about the texturizing solution or process.

The Neutralizing Agent

Calcium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide have the capacity only to break down bonds in your hair. They cannot put the bonds back together. As a result, your hair loses some of its shape when you texturize, giving you waves where you had curls. However, when you texturize, your stylist also puts a neutralizing agent on your hair. The chemicals in the neutralizer stop the calcium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide from breaking additional bonds and help new bonds reform. Because you don't wrap your hair around anything when this happens, the bonds have to form in a straighter pattern. Just the opposite happens if you perm -- the bonds reform based on the shape of the roller or rod.


Understanding that texturizers by themselves cannot curl your hair, if you've texturized and don't really like it, basic styling tips such as using a good hair styling product and steam rollers can define your hair shape and give you back a bouncier curl. As time consuming as this can be, it's usually better than trying to perm on top of a texturizer, particularly because perm and texturizing chemicals aren't usually compatible and can burn your hair to the point of disintegration. Even if the chemicals are compatible, double processing with both solutions causes damage to your hair and can make it dry and brittle.

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