HAIR RELAXERS: Are they Safe to Use on Your Child’s Hair?

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HAIR RELAXERS: Are they Safe to Use on Your Child’s Hair?

Isn’t it beautiful to see a child’s hair relaxed, looking cute and neat? It brings a smile to your face and you whisper a “God When” wish to have a beautiful baby just like you have seen moments ago.

Hair relaxers are often used to achieve a straight, soft and supple look but are they safe? Read on.

An African child’s hair at birth is soft and smooth, this is because the scalp and follicles are not fully developed but as they age it becomes coarse. Some are born with full hair, while some are born with little and scarce hair.

Complaining about the coarseness of your child’s hair and how difficult it is to comb or how hair growth is little can wear you out.

You may have compared them with other kids forgetting or ignorant of genetics.

This makes you want to go for hair relaxers to soften and speed up growth of your child’s hair as promised by products with smiling kids on their packs.

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Before you relax your child’s hair, you need to take note of the components in the hair relaxer as majority contain chemicals capable of causing harm than good to your child.

Things to look out for when purchasing hair relaxers for your child include:

  • Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

The chemical is responsible for softening hair because it instantly penetrates the cortical layer of the scalp. This is why when your hair is tangled and you apply relaxer, it loosens.

Made up of proteins that promote the growth and strengthens it, the hair is in a good state but when chemicals are applied regularly, it changes the nature of the protein and slowly destroys the texture of the hair.

It also causes chemical burns, scarring, very fatal if swallowed and blindness when it comes in contact with the eye.

Ever wondered why the texture of a relaxed hair is different from a natural hair? This is the answer.

  • Guanidine Hydroxide

This helps to relax curls and considered to be a lot safer than Sodium Hydroxide, but it has been discovered to reduce fat under the scalp that is essential in keeping the hair healthy, causing baldness.

  • pH of 12-14

This makes the scalp very dry, thereby, enhancing hair loss and a scarce hair line often seen in front of the hair.

Chemicals, as mentioned above, are often advised to be kept out of contact with the eyes, skin and clothes, but is it really possible?

Even hairstylists use bare hands to apply them and eventually, they come in contact with the scalp.

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Hair relaxers are not considered safe to use on children by dermatologists.

Using relaxer on your child’s hair is highly hazardous to their health in many ways some of which are;

  • Inhaling the relaxer is unhealthy as it is toxic, causing irritation.
  • The skin of a child is delicate. It cannot handle the toxins relaxers carry because their skin will absorb it, hence leading to health problems like endocrine dysfunction.
  • It damages the follicles of the hair and burns their scalp leading to balding.
  • It weakens the hair and makes it fall off.
  • Allergic reactions to the chemical are fatal also.
  • It can cause sight and hearing problems in children as a result of the relaxer running into their eyes or ears while washing it away from the hair.


  • Massage the scalp with coconut or olive oil to soften the hair regularly to enhance the strength of the hair follicles. Children within the age of 5-10years grow hair rapidly which is why it is important to be mindful of what we apply.
  • Use a kid friendly shampoo on your child’s hair once per week: Consider your child’s hair type and avoid heavily scented ones. If your child has dry hair, use moisturizing shampoo. If your child has dandruff or wounds on the scalp, do not shampoo, see a dermatologist for an accurate prescription.
  • Plait hair into braids or twists per week: Ensure that they are not too tight and painful. It can be very tempting to want to showcase your baby’s hair by wearing it down but plaiting it will guard the hair against breakage.

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If you still choose to relax your child’s hair:

  • Go for relaxers that are child friendly, check the content for ingredients like carrot seed oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, mimosa juices etc.
  • Experimenting with products is bad, avoid it. See a dermatologist for an accurate prescription instead.
  • Consider Texlaxing: This refers to adding olive oil into the relaxer to weaken it or not leaving the relaxer for the recommended period, i.e. if the recommended time to leave it in the baby’s hair is 20 minutes, you let it stay for 10mins or less and wash off after.
  • Stretch the time between relaxer time for about 12-20 weeks to minimize hair damage.
  • Be watchful of the hairstylist relaxing your child’s hair so as to monitor him/her from using harsh techniques.
  • Ensure the hair is completely free from relaxer by washing thoroughly with a shampoo.
  • Avoid combing the hair when it is wet, dry thoroughly before combing.
  • Do not make the child’s hair immediately. Wait 2-3 days before styling into twists or braids.

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