I relax my hair completely. Recently I posted a pictorial of my self-relaxing process and showed areas of my hair that don’t process as straight as others. Some commented that I appear to be texlaxed. For those who are unfamiliar, the term ‘texlax’ (texture/texturizer + relax) means to intentionally underprocess your hair to leave some kinks coils or curls.
This is achieved by either shortening the processing time of the relaxer which is often combined with not smoothing and/or mixing oils* into the relaxer to decrease its strength and slow the processing time further. Some women have texlaxed areas or17 entire heads not by design but by circumstance, and this is often called underprocessed hair. Despite some popular opinions, I am not texlaxed.
A lot of times, women are relaxed at a young age and are so used to their straight texture and were also led to think of new growth, no matter how tight or loose the curl pattern, as nappy and unmanageable. In my experience with friends and family, girls who are relaxed at a young age continue to believe this as they grow older, even if they stretch their relaxers, and automatically assume their natural texture is 4b.
I feel very lucky that although I had a lot of very thick, shoulder length hair as a little girl, my mom never even considered relaxing it to make it easier for her to care for. And because I didn’t receive my first relaxer until a few days before my first day high school, I have vivid memories of my natural texture. I also transitioned a few years later (unintentionally through the use of box braids) and became reacquainted, however briefly, with my natural hair which is truly kinky* 4b.
As a teenager, my mother took me to the salon every two weeks to have my hair done. Sometimes we’d have our appointments together, other times she would drop me off and then run errands during my visit. But when I was scheduled for a relaxer, Mommy made it a point to be in the salon. Whether she was getting her hair done or not she felt she NEEDED to be present during this important service. Before you go thinking my mom was extra careful regarding relaxers and giving her kudos (although my mom is pretty awesome) let me explain why she wanted to be there.