Written by Sheena
Image by @dojacat
“Is it basically like a relaxer?” is the question I’m most often asked when my clients enquire about a texture release. But the answer is no, which will probably sound like music to many of our ears!
First things first, what is a texture release?
A texture release is a semi-permanent, heat-activated, hair-straightening system developed for textured hair. Sounds familiar? A texture release can be likened to that of a Brazilian Blowdry or Keratin Straightening Treatment but there’s one major difference. Keratin treatments deliver heavier proteins to the hair and while this protein is responsible for achieving the smoothness keratin treatments are best known for, in the case of black-afro hair, too much of it can make our hair very dry and brittle, leading to breakage within a few months of receiving the treatment. In some cases, clients may even experience severe breakage after the first wash!
Created and first bought to market by Avlon in 2011, the Avlon Texture Release is the only hair smoothing system that uses a patented formulation of gentle amino and glyoxylic acid to loosen your natural curls, without permanently straightening them. This process makes even the coiliest of hair types softer and more ‘manageable‘, enabling you to achieve ultimate styling versatility including super sleek, bone-straight hair. Breakage-free!
Now you’re probably wondering why I’ve put the word ‘manageable‘ in quotation marks… but it’s integral to this article to understand why a texture release system was first developed in the first place. As a black hairstylist, I hate how the word manageable is used when referencing black, Afro hair. I think society and parts of our history have made some of us feel (me included) like our natural hair is difficult, tough, or (dare I say it, ‘nappy’) and I’d like to rebut that narrative and those negative connotations surrounding black hair as a whole. Our hair doesn’t need to be ‘managed’! It’s ‘manageable‘ enough in its natural state. However, I believe the key to unlocking our hair’s full styling potential is to first understand what type of hair we have to better understand what hair goals we’re trying to achieve. I’ve been doing some research on some really great natural hair products on the market that not only encourage hair growth and good overall hair health – but also naturally soften the hair too so it’s ‘easier’ to style. But that’s an article for another day!! (Here’s to thinking out loud lol!)
Okay back to texture releases…
So, how does it work?
The texture release comprises of two key products which are essential to the smoothing process: the hair dilator and the releasing lotion. Applied to towel-dried hair, the dilator prepares each strand by opening up the cuticle so the active ingredients in the releasing lotion can be absorbed deep into the hair cortex. The releasing lotion is then activated under the dryer, rinsed out and then locked in with a straightener. Unlike traditional relaxers, there’s no burning irritation on the scalp or scabbing during this process.
Please note, that a texture release must be done in-salon by a professional hair stylist. A texture release shouldn’t be conducted on anybody who has severely damaged, broken or brittle hair.
‘There’s no way this is natural. Texture releases must contain some sort of chemical!’
And you’re right. A texture release does contain chemicals but it’s good to remember that not all chemicals are bad. Contrary to traditional hair relaxers which contain sodium hydroxide, a heavy-duty chemical often used in paint strippers and sink in lockers (yeah I know!) – the Avlon texture release contains gentle amino acids and glyoxylic acid which is a lot milder on the hair. These types of ‘chemicals’ only provide semi-permanent loosening/elongation of your natural curls without damaging or permanently altering them.
How long does a texture release last?
10-12 weeks is the typical time a texture release would last in the hair. How can you tell it’s time to go in for a redo? You’ll know that it’s time to get your texture release redone from how the hair around the hairline and at the roots start to react. When straightened, you’ll notice that these areas will curl back up after a few hours of pressing – if your hair is curly, you’ll notice that the hair along the hairline and the roots will be a lot curlier than the rest of the post-treated your hair. These are key indicators that will let you know that your texture release is on its way out. Once this starts to happen – from about 2-4 washes after this, the releasing lotion would have totally left the hair – reverting your hair back to its pre-texture released state.
What if I have my hair coloured or want it coloured?
Please note it’s important to wait 3-5 days after your texture release before having your hair coloured and 5-7 days after colouring before getting a texture release done.
What are the benefits of a texture release?
– Transforms even the ‘coiliest’ of curls into super sleek straight hair – much straighter than if you were to just get a silk press alone.
– Makes course , curly hair softer creating combing ‘manageability’.
– Ideal for clients who want styling versatility.
– Elongates the natural curl pattern which is ideal for client who want to achieve more curl defined hairstyles.
– Ideal for clients who are transitioning from relaxed hair to natural. Texture releasing your regrowth will make the re growth softer and less painful when combing. It’ll also minimise the breakage you often experience while trying to navigate that minefield of half-relaxed, half-afro hair.
– Allows you at achieve softer , straighter more ‘manageable’ hair without having to commit to a chemical relaxer.
– Maintains your natural curls. Despite being a heat activated treatment system, once you wash your hair, your hair will revert back to curly. Those curls however will just be more elongated – but after 12 weeks with washes in between, your hair will totally revert back to its natural state pre-texture release.