If you are a chemist then sodium hydroxide is affectionately known as NaOH in common conversation.
But for me it is just one of the main ingredients found in hair relaxers and the last time I checked we broke up back in 2008 and sadly the relaxer is no longer a part of my life.
Like you I am an avid reader of hair product ingredients, but I was not always like that; I depended heavily on the beautiful woman in the television commercial telling me how wonderful my hair would be if I just tried the product she was advertising.
Things are different now-a-days and reading the back of the product is the first thing I do before handing over my hard earned dollars.
One of the things that I have noticed is that Sodium Hydroxide will make an appearance every now and then in some of my most common hair and skin products which made me wonder how harmful my basic products could be especially with daily use.
Not to worry I decided not to go running for the hills, as it was nothing a little research and education couldn’t fix so bring on the science!
Sodium Hydroxide sometimes known as lye is a chemical compound that is alkaline in nature. The properties of the chemical make it perfect for manufactured cleaning products, water purification and some paper products.
In its purest form the chemical looks like small pellets or flakes that easily absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Another cool characteristic of sodium hydroxide is that it is water soluble making it ideal for liquid based products.
Chances are you will see this on the ingredient list for many household products such as soaps, cleansers, clothing detergents and of course chemical relaxers.
Another fun fact that is quite interesting is that the chemical is normally used by produce companies in various aspects of food preparation, specifically cleansing fruits and vegetables before shipment to our local grocery stores.