Oh No She Didn't Just Walk Up In Here With A Box Perm?!

As my 12-year-old client walks into my private salon suite, her mother hands me a little white box. I look at her and say “What’s this?” She replies “Oh, it’s the relaxer I want to put on my daughter's hair.” I reply back to her in with a look of shock and disappointment because I dread having to tell her that I’m not gonna be applying this box perm on her daughter's hair today. [It ain't happenin’ captain] Now it’s very obvious that I’m thinking when I go silent for a brief moment because I’m trying to figure out how to relay the news.

Before I could get a word out, my clients’ mother tells me that “It’s really not a relaxer though. It’s a texturizer. In the back of my mind and from experience there’s not much difference between a relaxer. I respond back “Oh ok. Well, I cannot guarantee the result if I use a product I’m not familiar with and is not fall in line with the results I know I can obtain by using my own products.

Therefore, I do not feel comfortable using this type of product.” Thankfully my clients’ mom was actually ok with my explanation and allowed me to use my own in-house relaxer. My 12-year-old clients came out flawless. Her mother was very pleased with the end result.

Now you’re probably thinking “What does Keisha have against at-home box perms and texturizers?” Truth is, I’m not against them at all.  What I will tell is that because I know that hair many hair care products sometimes make conflicting and confusing claims, the average customer may not know what effects a product will have on her hair.

I mean, let be real here folks! We all need to take a good look at the “natural” claims on bottles and jars. One drop of olive oil doesn't make a product natural when every other ingredient is more than five syllables long!

When it comes to chemically processing your hair with chemicals such as relaxers and texturizers, you should be particularly cautious to avoid serious problems like breakage, scalp damage, and hair loss.

What's the difference when it comes to relaxers vs. texturizers anyway? I’m glad you asked…


According to most manufacturer’s instructions, relaxers are typically left on the hair anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, while texturizers shouldn't be left on for more than five to 10. The amount of time the chemicals react with the hair is the main factor in the contradictory results between the two processes.

The “TIME” factor can really make it difficult to get uniform results from one texturizer to the next. Two minutes may make a big difference in your results if you're hoping for slightly-relaxed hair instead of a completely bone-straight 'do.


Now don’t believe the hype when there are claims out there that texturizers are a natural product. Don’t get it twisted. Both relaxers and texturizers contain chemicals that change the hair permanently. In many cases, these products contain the same ingredients -- what alters the results is the time that they're left on the hair.

Texturizers can be packaged differently and offer various claims, i.e., they're "healthier" or "better" for your hair than traditional relaxers, but you have got to read the ingredients label on the back of the box or on the leaflet inside the box, and most contain sodium or calcium hydroxide.


When it comes to how straight you want your hair to be, there's a big difference between the two processes.

Relaxers are made to "relax" the curl; in many cases, women choose to relax their hair completely, or bone, straight. This sometimes results in over-processing and can leave the hair with little elasticity and no body.

Texturizers, on the other hand, are applied when you don't want all of the curl removed from the hair. When this is applied correctly, this process can turn thick, bulky hair into a curly or wavy texture, but it's important to note that hair should already contain S-shaped curls. Public Notice: TEXTURIZERS CANNOT CREATE A CURLY TEXTURE WHERE IT DOESN’T ALREADY EXIST.

Z-shaped curls do not texturize well at all (although they respond well to relaxers). This is when consumers need to honestly assess their hair to get the best results. Texturizers simply give better "curly" results on some hair textures than others.

A lot of people who choose to texturize their hair do so because they want an easy style switch between straight and curly/wavy textures. Having a texturizer makes some users feel their hair is more manageable. Plus, they can wear their tresses straight when they're in the mood for it without having to worry as much about relapse that typically happens with natural hair and a humid climate.


Qualified LICENSED hair stylists, like me,  who care about the health of their clients' hair can typically get consistent results with relaxers, and even texturizers that of a highly professional-grade, although the latter tend to be a bit trickier. While relaxers work well on S-shaped curls and Z-shaped curls, honest stylists should advise clients about unpredictable results from texturizers on Z-shaped textures.

I leave you with this…

Let a professional hair stylist do the dirty work when it comes to relaxers and texturizers. It only takes one box perm or texturizer done the wrong way to ruin the healthy hair status that you and your hair stylist has worked so hard to maintain. We can definitely STRAIGHTEN IT OUT.

Keisha Davis