Thoughts on Relaxing, Texlaxing & "Under-processing" My Hair

In this hair community, I have what is considered to be a [transitioning to] "texlaxed" head of hair. Texlaxing is defined as intentionally under-processing your hair with a relaxer thereby leaving some of your hair's texture in it. I have to admit that I have a little issue with this term and definition. Let me explain why.

The first time I had texture left in my hair after a relaxer was also the first time I timed myself while self-relaxing. However, I didn't go by the recommended processing time in the kit instructions; instead, I started a timer and moved as fast [as I thought] possible in an attempt not to take longer than 30 minutes. I was done right around 30 minutes or so, rinsed and discovered most of my hair was still curly/wavy. Although I was frustrated by this at first, thinking I didn't leave it in long enough, I kinda liked the curls that were left. Thinking more about the process, 30 minutes is 5-10 minutes longer processing time than relaxer kits suggest even for a coarse hair type. Enter the conundrum.

I had never timed myself self-relaxing, nor had I witnessed my mother or any stylist time herself during a relaxer application. Ever. The burning/itching sensation was the tell-tale sign of it being time to rinse the relaxer out. Or the appearance of straight hair after smoothing the relaxer creme. So, if there is a suggested processing time, why have I never been told to use it or witnessed anyone else use it?! Also, wouldn't anything over the suggested processing time automatically equal over-processed hair? With this in mind, it would seem that the way I relax my hair now is not really underprocessing it, as much as it is following the directions. Using this logic, my hair had to have always been over-processed to achieve bone straight results. It's way too kinky/curly and thick to get straight in those suggested amounts of time.

A processing time that yields textured hair makes me to wonder if perhaps it wasn't always the intention of relaxer companies to create bone straight hair, but instead to just RELAX the current texture of our kinky, curly hair causing it to be more manageable. You know, that reason we relaxed ladies love to use for why we won't give up relaxers anyway? (Then again, when you think about the fact that super relaxers exist, that kind of wipes away the whole idea of leaving any texture behind.) To me, it's possible that relaxers have been made out to be the bad guy, when in all actuality, it's been a lack of using them correctly that's to blame for our dry, damaged, over-processed hair. This combined with improper hair care techniques and little to no knowledge of what our hair needs was a recipe for disaster. It's a shame it has taken this long for black hair care to be revolutionized and proper information for healthy hair care made available.

Granted, this is all speculation based on my experiences and observations. I recognize I could just be wrong and overthinking all of this, yet, it makes sense to me. I will continue to refer to my hair as texlaxed, of course. Let me know what you think ladies!


  1. I like your take on this, when I was first relaxed my hair had a lot of texture in it. At first I hated it and I found someone who would get my hair super straight. Now I'm trying to get all that texture back lol. That's life!

    1. Lol so true! My stylist used to laugh at how straight I wanted my hair to get with relaxers, now it's a whole different story.

  2. Interesting take on this, Melanie. I too agree that relaxer companies aren't "the bad guys." However, I don't think that they are completely innocent either. Relaxing was/is never about having healthy hair. It was/is about having straight hair. This issue is mainly one of an enculturated misuse of straightening chemicals and abuse in using heating tools. Its not yet the "norm" to want to have texture left in our hair after you chemically straighten your hair regardless of what the instructions read in the relaxer kits. Relaxer companies make a living banking on this "norm." Hence your mention of "Super Perms." Truth be told---we wanted straighter hair more than we cared about healthy hair. We ruined our own hair. It's just easier to simply blame the relaxer.

    Companies like Soft Sheen Carson are in the business of making money. They sell us dreams of straighter hair and we buy them, literally. With the recent surge in ladies educating themselves on healthier hair practices, I do believe that black hair culture is changing. We're moving from the idea that beautiful is only found in silky and straight to embracing the curls and versatility of our hair. Relaxer companies can either re-market to emphasize that their products can be used while still maintain healthy hair or they can go out of business.

    Great post chica

    1. Thanks for your comment KLP! It was great and I totally agree! "We wanted straight hair more than we cared about healthy hair." That is a fact!

      I don't think relaxer companies are innocent at all. But they sure wouldn't have been so successful if they weren't playing off of what we wanted for ourselves in the first place. It was more in the direction that they could be moving away from that idea, as we are doing the same. Besides that, I think women like us are helping to push the idea that you can maintain healthy hair while using their products.

  3. I love your hair and am currently texlaxing. However, have you experienced any breakage when you first started texlaxing? I am having horrible breakage even though I moisturize and seal daily, I deep condition, I wear protective styles daily, protein treatments, direct heat once a week (if that now), and I even wore weave once for almost a year and experienced amazing growth, then followed that up with a good trim. While I had my weave in, once I removed it to get it reinstalled, I would texlax in between (every three months or so) because I only had half of head of weave. But, I had it out for one month and breakage started immediately. Any recommendations or thoughts? Do you think underprocessing can be as bad as overprocessing?


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