Improving the Sensory Properties of Lye Hair Relaxers

Lye hair relaxers are highly alkaline emulsions used to permanently straighten curly hair.1 While they are highly efficient, they also must be used with caution to prevent eye injury or scalp irritation. In addition, their straightening effect tends to damage hair by reducing mechanical stability and deteriorating tactile and visual properties.1-3 During this straightening treatment, a significant number of disulfide bonds in the hair are converted into lanthionine by eliminating one sulfur atom, thus the mechanism by which relaxers straighten hair is referred to as lanthionization. However, it has been shown4-6 that this reaction is only part of the whole mechanism, if not even just a side reaction. The conversion of curly hair to a straight configuration means a significant morphological transformation.

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