Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Hair relaxers are harsh chemical treatments that leave the hair dull, dry and limp. There is a constant need for improvement of these products to make them milder and incorporate conditioning properties. Because of the high pH of relaxer or hair straightening systems, most quaternized (conditioning) ingredients are unstable and slowly break down to release ammonia over time, having no conditioning effects by the time the consumers use them. This paper discusses the partial substitution of the fatty alcohols that are traditionally used in relaxer systems with polymethylene wax and the benefits derived from using them. The study included the investigation of synergies among the ingredients, the stabilities of the various systems and comparisons with commercially available systems. The polymethylene wax, used in combination with the mineral oil gel and phosphate salt, coats the hair during the relaxing process, leaving it shiny, soft and conditioned as opposed to the poor condition of the hair relaxed by traditional, commercially available NaOH and LiOH relaxers. An additional benefit of using polymethylene wax in relaxer systems is that the conditioning agents that are normally added to the neutralizing shampoo to repair or mask the damage as a result of the relaxing process can be omitted.
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