Reason a hair relaxer might not take

DaveStoneDaveStone Member
edited August 31 in General
I don't know if you guys know much about hair relaxers. Anyhow...My wife has wavy-curly hair. She decided to try ORS no-lye hair relaxer. Most of the brands you buy for home use are no-lye. Though you can get a lye version from a beauty supply store. She tried the no-lye "regular" strength six months back or so and didn't work...followed the instructions to the letter. I helped her apply it so there wasn't too much time elapsed, to try and get even results. But while it appeared straight initially, after a few washes or so it reverted back to it's natural state. How could a product that chemically alters the structure of your hair, permanently, possibly revert at all? Unless it didn't penetrate enough or something to begin with, and just coated the outside of the hair. Then she tried it again a few weeks ago and the same results. She tried leaving it longer than the maximum recommended time labeled. She even tried using a baking soda rinse beforehand, and a deep conditioner...she read online they allegedly increase the hair's porosity thus making it more permeable to products. Do you think a lye version would work better, given the higher PH? I should mention that my wife is white, and most of these relaxer products are marketed toward black women. You'd think if it works on afro-texture hair, much curlier than my wife's, that it would easily work on hers. 

Comments

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Find your answers HERE. ;)
  • Pharma said:
    Find your answers HERE. ;)

    I've read that. Doesn't answer my questions.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Yes, the lye version would work better. No lye generally is less effective.
    It's not surprising that it starts out straight but slowly reverts. That just means the bonds were not permanently broken and neutralized. It was simply being straightened via hydrogen bonding (like when you use a flat iron to straighten hair).
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    @DaveStone It should. Like: No-lye generelly contains other bases and does work in a similar way (ORS is alkaline). No, the effect using a base is not permanent (it's mostly just swelling) and hair structure reverts back after several weeks. Using a thioglycolate based relaxer is more effective because it does change the hair's structure (alkaline versions can too... when left on too long and the hair gets damaged beyond repair).
    All in that text ;) .
  • DaveStoneDaveStone Member
    edited September 1
    Perry said:
    Yes, the lye version would work better. No lye generally is less effective.
    It's not surprising that it starts out straight but slowly reverts. That just means the bonds were not permanently broken and neutralized. It was simply being straightened via hydrogen bonding (like when you use a flat iron to straighten hair).
    So, while the lye version may have a longer lasting effect, do you agree with Pharma that lye doesn't actually cause a permanent alteration? My wife once got some Japanese straightening thing at a salon, which was really expensive, though it lasted until new hair grew out. According to an article I just read, thioglycolate is the active.
    Pharma said:
    @DaveStone It should. Like: No-lye generelly contains other bases and does work in a similar way (ORS is alkaline). No, the effect using a base is not permanent (it's mostly just swelling) and hair structure reverts back after several weeks. Using a thioglycolate based relaxer is more effective because it does change the hair's structure (alkaline versions can too... when left on too long and the hair gets damaged beyond repair).
    All in that text ;) .
    Thank you for the info, but the wiki didn't really state outright that either lye or no-lye relaxers are only temporary. The products (like ORS) and the people who use them claim it gets their hair pin-straight, and lasts until new growth occurs. So when you read all that you would think it works. I still don't understand why afro-textured hair seems easier to relax than medium curly hair.
    Meanwhile, I'll tell her to try the lye or thio relaxers, though I can't find the latter anywhere online. I wonder why it's not available for DIY purchase.

  • DaveStoneDaveStone Member
    edited September 1
    I just read that perm solutions use thioglycolate. Apparently, the addition of rods or pins is the only thing making the hair curl. I wonder why they aren't widely used to straighten hair...provided they are considerably cheaper than a Japanese straightening at a salon. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @DaveStone - because thioglycolate products smell awful!


  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    There are other thiols emerging... as @Perry mentioned, most smell acrid and sulphurous, others are nearly without odour but are too expensive for cosmetic applications (dithiothreitol -> probably the best you can get, commonly used in research because it doesn't alter the chemical structure beyond clean disulfide cleavage nor forms disulfide bonds with cysteine as do most others).
  • Sorry, no help on the chemistry side but I was wondering if your wife has looked into “Brazilian straightening” or “hair botox” instead of relaxers. They shouldn’t damage the hair or scalp as much. I recently had a “hair botox” treatment which took a couple of hours at the salon and it transformed my hair back into how it looked in my 20’s… sleek, glossy and straight instead of the damaged, dry haystack it had become over the years. The straightening effect is not as severe as Brazilian straightening… it just gets rid of frizz and kinks (even in humidity), but it is apparently not damaging to hair either. The product was called Cocochoco Professional Hair Botox - https://cocochocoprofessional.uk/products/cocochoco-hair-botox-500ml

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @helenhelen - based on the ingredient list, that hair botox is simply a hair conditioner. https://cocochoco.ie/product/cocochoco-hair-botox-1000ml-clarifying-shampoo/  I imagine you could get the same results or better if you just use a flat iron and a standard hair conditioner.

  • I used the one with glyoxylic which allegedly releases formaldehyde when heated over 200c. It smells horrendous (when straightened) but it works. Not as strong as professional version but I can live with it. 
  • Perry said:
    @helenhelen - based on the ingredient list, that hair botox is simply a hair conditioner. https://cocochoco.ie/product/cocochoco-hair-botox-1000ml-clarifying-shampoo/  I imagine you could get the same results or better if you just use a flat iron and a standard hair conditioner.

    @Perry I agree the ingredients list looks nothing special and I was sceptical but honestly it worked a charm on my hair. I don’t think I would dare try the same method using a standard conditioner… although you could be right that it would have a similar effect… I will never know though unless someone else tries it! Also the cost of the treatment was mostly the labour cost of a stylist doing the hair washing, application, drying and flat ironing… it would be a huge mess and pretty arduous work doing it myself.
  • Perry said:
    @helenhelen - based on the ingredient list, that hair botox is simply a hair conditioner. https://cocochoco.ie/product/cocochoco-hair-botox-1000ml-clarifying-shampoo/  I imagine you could get the same results or better if you just use a flat iron and a standard hair conditioner.

    @Perry I agree the ingredients list looks nothing special and I was sceptical but honestly it worked a charm on my hair. I don’t think I would dare try the same method using a standard conditioner… although you could be right that it would have a similar effect… I will never know though unless someone else tries it! Also the cost of the treatment was mostly the labour cost of a stylist doing the hair washing, application, drying and flat ironing… it would be a huge mess and pretty arduous work doing it myself.
    @Perry Definitely would have tested out the
    method using a standard conditioner if I were in my teens though! Not that I would have needed it back then with naturally youthful locks… sigh
  • DaveStoneDaveStone Member
    edited September 1
    Pharma said:
    There are other thiols emerging... as @Perry mentioned, most smell acrid and sulphurous, others are nearly without odour but are too expensive for cosmetic applications (dithiothreitol -> probably the best you can get, commonly used in research because it doesn't alter the chemical structure beyond clean disulfide cleavage nor forms disulfide bonds with cysteine as do most others).
    I read it had an odour but wasn't aware it was that bad! Is it anything like an ammonia smell? Neither by wife or myself can tolerate ammonia.
    It's a shame chemicals that actually work better, and without the odor, have to be exorbitantly priced. Doing some googling, I don't see many articles about dithiothreitol used for straightening purposes. I found some info however on page 18 of this article:


  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    I would reassess the technique here. That ORS kit has guanidine hydroxide as its lanthionizing agent, and as Perry points out that is not as good as NaOH but will still bust apart 85% of those cystine bonds if properly used. 1) wash the hair thoroughly, 2) always apply to DRY hair only, 3) apply evenly from root to tips, starting at the crown, 4) if straightening is insufficient, leave on longer, the 20 minute "safety limit" is just that: if your wife can tolerate the stinging pain, that product will eventually straighten her hair - quite permanently too. A common mistake is application to wet hair or hair treated with something other than a formulated pre-treatment. You will notice that NONE of the pre-treats contains water, all are glycol based. Water swells the hair, increasing the diameter. Think of the straightening process as a race to the cortex from outside the shaft through the cuticle. Anything that increases the hair diameter increases the time to the cortex where the cystine links are. I've developed and manufactured over a million kilograms of hair relaxer over the years (yes, you read that correctly). My only complaint is the damn market crashed when the Natural Hair Movement took hold 10 years ago. That money-maker went south! 
  • I would reassess the technique here. That ORS kit has guanidine hydroxide as its lanthionizing agent, and as Perry points out that is not as good as NaOH but will still bust apart 85% of those cystine bonds if properly used. 1) wash the hair thoroughly, 2) always apply to DRY hair only, 3) apply evenly from root to tips, starting at the crown, 4) if straightening is insufficient, leave on longer, the 20 minute "safety limit" is just that: if your wife can tolerate the stinging pain, that product will eventually straighten her hair - quite permanently too. A common mistake is application to wet hair or hair treated with something other than a formulated pre-treatment. You will notice that NONE of the pre-treats contains water, all are glycol based. Water swells the hair, increasing the diameter. Think of the straightening process as a race to the cortex from outside the shaft through the cuticle. Anything that increases the hair diameter increases the time to the cortex where the cystine links are. I've developed and manufactured over a million kilograms of hair relaxer over the years (yes, you read that correctly). My only complaint is the damn market crashed when the Natural Hair Movement took hold 10 years ago. That money-maker went south! 
    She followed all those instructions, though. She did leave it on past the maximum 18-20 minute mark. Said it was 23 min. She wanted to wash it off by then out of fear of the damage it might do to her hair. Thing is, it looked straight at the time. When she smoothed it, it was straight. A few washes later and it's back to her normal.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    edited September 4
    According to Chapter 4.12.2 of 'Chemical and physical bevaviour of human hair' by Clarence R. Robbins, hair relaxation is only permanent with a supercontraction of >5% which can not be achieved by a base. Disulfide reduction (using reducing agents or bases) and/or lanthionine formation are not enough for a really permanent relaxation whilst alpha-keratin denaturation is.
  • Would older (30 years ago) home perm kits have any of the aforementioned chemicals and if so, is it possible those chemicals could permanently alter the way ones hair grows? My hair was as straight as straight could be up until I was about 11 years old when a family "friend" permed my hair and since then my hair is wavy...and yes, I remember the smell...yuck! 🤢
  • Pharma said:
    ...whilst alpha-keratin denaturation is.
    And what chemical would achieve this?
  • DaveStoneDaveStone Member
    edited September 5
    abierose said:
    Would older (30 years ago) home perm kits have any of the aforementioned chemicals and if so, is it possible those chemicals could permanently alter the way ones hair grows? My hair was as straight as straight could be up until I was about 11 years old when a family "friend" permed my hair and since then my hair is wavy...and yes, I remember the smell...yuck! 🤢

    Old perm kits, according to my research, used the same ingredients they do now. I don't know how it could permanently alter your hair structure. Only a gene mutation could presumably do that.
  • @DaveStone I was thinking more along the lines of the perm changing/damaging the structure of the hair follicle...
  • Can urea denature alpha-keratin?
  • DaveStoneDaveStone Member
    edited September 5
    abierose said:
    @DaveStone I was thinking more along the lines of the perm changing/damaging the structure of the hair follicle...

    That's what I meant...I doubt those chemicals, especially in a relatively short amount of time, could permanently do such a thing. They react differently with dead material (hair) than with living organisms (follicles). I'm sure the others here with a background in this field can answer more adequately.
  • According to a study of Keratineses, this Ronozyme ProAct could straighten hair (better in conjunction with sodium thioglycolate).
     This patent also depicts a keratinase from that study
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US8413666B2/en

  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist

    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • DaveStone said:
    According to a study of Keratineses, this Ronozyme ProAct could straighten hair (better in conjunction with sodium thioglycolate).
     This patent also depicts a keratinase from that study
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US8413666B2/en

    I thought ammonium thioglycolate was the chemical used, not sodium thioglycolate...?


  • Well, yes, I'm aware of that. But the studies linked above have found other uses for it. It would be capable of denaturing hair keratin.
  • abierose said:
    Would older (30 years ago) home perm kits have any of the aforementioned chemicals and if so, is it possible those chemicals could permanently alter the way ones hair grows? My hair was as straight as straight could be up until I was about 11 years old when a family "friend" permed my hair and since then my hair is wavy...and yes, I remember the smell...yuck! 🤢
    It' likely to be just genetics and puberty.



  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    edited September 8
    Well, yes, I'm aware of that. But the studies linked above have found other uses for it. It would be capable of denaturing hair keratin.

    I assure you, if it were feasible DSM would have already promoted it for its use.

    This is not research.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • Pattsi said:
    abierose said:
    Would older (30 years ago) home perm kits have any of the aforementioned chemicals and if so, is it possible those chemicals could permanently alter the way ones hair grows? My hair was as straight as straight could be up until I was about 11 years old when a family "friend" permed my hair and since then my hair is wavy...and yes, I remember the smell...yuck! 🤢
    It' likely to be just genetics and puberty.



    Yes, I did read that puberty may have been responsible for the sudden textural change 😊 And we can't escape the genes!! 😁
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    edited September 10
    This is not research.
    We don't know which serine protease is in that product, only that it's genetically modified... Anyway, some serine proteases, especially keratinases, do digest keratin as has been published in Nature, PLOS ONE, and AJAS. They do not mention hair relaxing but rather hair removal... the difference of which, as we know from common chemical hair treatments, lies in concentration and duration. The step from no hair to different hair is really a short one ;) .
    Fun fact: Subtilisin, a serine protease, is commonly used in laundry detergents to remove protein stains and is a fodder additive for chicken (because of the same effect as Ronozyme: increasing digestible proteins), it also breaks down keratin (which you already know, now that you have read some real publications)... I wonder how long it would take until someone tried laundry detergent as hair relaxer if I posted this on TicToc as new life hack :smile: .
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Relaxers affect the hair fiber, not the follicle. You can’t permanently change the follicle with any topical product that I know of
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