What Is a Texturizer for Black Hair?

Loosen Your Natural Curl Pattern With a Permanent Process

A texturizer can loosen a tight curl pattern.
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A texturizer is a chemical-based process that is a mild form of a relaxer. Also known as texture softener, it is a popular option for black hair. The texturizer is applied to curly or kinky hair for a brief amount of time in an effort to relax or loosen the curl slightly instead of completely straightening it.

The Texturizer Process

Texturizers permanently change the structure of hair. You will need to grow out or cut off your hair if you want to go back to your natural hair texture.

The chemicals used in a texturizer alter the structure of the proteins found in hair. The main protein is keratin and it contains an amino acid called cysteine, which contributes to curly hair. When a texturizer is applied, the hydrogen bonds in cysteine are broken, resulting in a looser curl.

In a lye formula, the chemical used to break the bond is sodium hydroxide while no-lye texturizers use calcium hydroxide (no-lye).

The results will depend on your natural hair texture. S-shaped curls and naturally wavy hair tend to work the best. Z-shaped curls can produce unpredictable results and it may be better to go with a relaxer. It's also important to remember that a texturizer will not create curl if it's not already in the hair.

Generally, a texturizer is left on the hair for five to 10 minutes, a shorter time than a relaxer. As with a relaxer, a texturizer must be washed out with a neutralizing shampoo to stop the chemical process.

It's also best to use a conditioner afterward to restore moisture.

The chemicals can damage your hair, so it's recommended to use regular protein treatments and deep conditioners to maintain the health of texturized hair. 

Pros and Cons

Although texturizers may seem like the perfect answer for anyone who's not happy their natural texture, this chemical process isn't the right solution for everyone.

There are positive and negative points to consider.

The nice thing about a texturizer is that new growth isn't as apparent as it is with straight relaxed hair. When your roots grow in and you want to apply the texturizer to the new growth only and avoid the previously textured hair. Any overlap will further straighten the already texturized hair, resulting in two hair textures. It's best to see a professional stylist for touchups.

There are a number of advantages to texturized hair:

  • Texturizer may be slightly less damaging than relaxers only for the simple fact that the chemicals are left on the hair for a shorter period of time.
  • Texturizers allow you to keep your natural curl pattern in a looser form. For some hair textures, this can create bouncy curls while others may get beautiful waves.
  • Texturizers can make straightening the hair easier if that's your goal, though it will not produce bone straight results like the relaxing process.
  • Texturizers allow you to easily switch from a wavy or curly texture to straight hair with the use of styling products and tools.
  • Texturizers can make your hair more manageable to style and many people find they need to worry less about combing and detangling.

    As with all chemical processes, it's important to consider the negative aspects of using a texturizer:

    • It can be difficult to get uniform results from one application to the next, especially for longer hair. Texturizers tend to work best for short to medium-length hair.
    • This is not the best choice for anyone who may want to eventually transition to all-natural tresses because it permanently changes your hair.
    • Despite what some products may claim, texturizers are not "natural." This is still a chemical process and it can damage your hair or lead to overprocessing.

    Texturizer Products

    While there are products designed specifically for this process, it's important to understand that they contain the same ingredients as most relaxers. They are simply marketed differently, though they often include many of the same instructions and cautions.

    If you want to purchase products specifically created for texturizing, these are often recommended:

    Alternately, you can continue to use a box relaxer, but cut the recommended application time. How much time depends on your hair's thickness, current condition, and texture. Because the time isn't the same for everyone, it's easy to see why getting the same results every time can be tricky, even for professionals.

    A Texturizer Is Not Natural

    Sometimes, people believe that texturized hair is natural hair. This is not the case. Although some texturized hair looks as if it could be natural because it retains a curl pattern—although looser than your natural one—it's still achieved with texture-altering chemicals.

    Because of this, it's not the best idea to texturize your tresses if your eventual aim is to be fully natural. A texturizer will only prolong your reliance on chemicals, and you'll have to cut away any texturized hair in order to be all natural. You won't be able to learn to handle your own texture as long as you have any processes in it.