In this Professional Smoothing Series interview, our Design Essentials Educators breakdown how to choose the best chemical relaxer for your client, the importance of ensuring a healthy relaxer service, and the differences between Design Essentials Regular Conditioning Relaxer, Design Essentials Lo-Lye Relaxer,and Design Essentials Sensitive Scalp Relaxer.
Alicia Bailey (Global Education Manager): You want to choose based upon hair texture, type, and condition. Use the [Design Essentials] product reference guide to determine whether the hair is fine, medium, or coarse. That’ll help you choose the appropriate relaxer for the client’s hair.
Lametrius Miller (Regional Educator): During the consultation, I ask the client about their lifestyle to find out how they like to wear their hair. But generally, I start every client with DE Lo-Lye Relaxer because it leaves them with density and movement. If I do choose the DE Regular Conditioning Relaxer, it’s because the client has very dense hair and wants to see less curl pattern.
Angel Johnson (Certified Educator): If they’re a virgin client, I use the DE Lo-Lye Relaxer to see how the hair takes to the relaxer. Everyone processes differently and you want to avoid over-processing. But if a client tells me she wants her hair ‘super’ straight, I use the DE Regular Conditioning Relaxer. It allows straightness, but leaves a little texture in the hair.
DE: Describe the typical client in your chair who receives the Design Essentials Regular Conditioning Relaxer vs. Design Essentials Lo-Lye Relaxer.
A.Bailey: A Regular relaxer client has healthy, conditioned hair, and wants her hair straight with very little texture. Lo-Lye is for multi-textured hair in the place of a texturizer. It’s recommended for color-treated clients below a level 7, and always for teens and children [who have hit puberty].
L. Miller: My Regular relaxer clients often have short pixie cuts. The Lo-Lye clients are previous naturals that thermally straightened their hair often, so we started using the relaxer to reduce the amount of constant heat. Now their hair is healthier, retains length, and doesn’t break as easily.
A. Johnson: I don’t have too many Regular relaxed clients, and most of my Lo-Lye clients have tighter curl patterns. They want texture and straightness to be able to maintain their hair themselves in-between salon visits.
DE: If a client has more than one hair texture, can you use multiple relaxer systems during the application process?
A. Bailey: Absolutely! It’s common for your client to have more than one texture on their head. In the areas that are finer, you want to apply the Lo-Lye relaxer to that area last, so it doesn’t over-process. However, the one thing I always do is protect the scalp with a base cream no matter what relaxer I choose to use.
L. Miller: I’m a texture specialist, so I’m confident using both Lo-Lye and Regular relaxers if my client has different hair textures. Especially if they have short cuts. I’ll use the Lo-Lye in the top area, and Regular around the sides.
DE: When is it appropriate to use the Design Essentials Sensitive Scalp Relaxer System?
A. Bailey: The key to sensitive scalp relaxer is to use it on clients with scalp issues. The Sensitive Scalp Relaxer System is designed to be milder so it’s a good alternative if a client has sensitivity to the Lo-Lye relaxer.
L. Miller I keep the Sensitive Scalp Relaxer in-stock just in case I get a sensitive scalp client. It keeps them from experiencing burning and irritation.
A. Johnson I like the Sensitive Scalp Relaxer because it comes in the pre-measure kit and counter-acts any sensitivity during the application process. It’s great for clients who just came out of braids and may still be experiencing some agitation from taking them down.
DE: What professional tips would you recommend to other stylist to ensure a positive relaxer experience for the client?
A. Bailey: I’m an educator, so I can’t stress enough the importance of proper application techniques!
A. Johnson: I recommend using the Restore Vitamin Hair Treatment on previously chemically treated hair to protect from overlapping, and applying the Calm Soothing Scalp Protection in case of scalp irritation.
L.Miller: Reconstruct the hair after relaxing it. Use the Design Essentials Milk & Honey Reconstructive Conditioner to bring the cuticle pH back down. This helps moisturize and reconstruct the hair shaft.
For more information on Design Essential Relaxer products contact your local distributor. Or to learn more on proper relaxer application techniques, click here to watch Alicia Bailey receive a relaxer retouch by DE Artist, Greg Gilmore.