Crystal’s question: Can you please do a review of this product? I am African American and want to get away from chemical straightening. Is there such a thing as a natural hair relaxer?
The Left Brain responds:
The Beauty Brains have blogged before about how to straighten your hair (see 7 Ways to Straighten Your Hair for more details) but I’ve never heard of this Bodiphier product until now. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this is a natural, non-chemical alternative to relaxers. You can read all about it on the Bodiphier website but essentially this product is a weaker version of a lye relaxer.
Purified Alkaline Water, 100% Natural Soda Ash & Minerals, 100% Natural Citric, 100% Natural Menthol, Cetyl Wax, Emulsifying Wax, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Lanotrol, Volpo 10, Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, 100% Natural Protein Powder, Shea Butter, 100% Natural Protein Oil, 100% Natural Soy Bean Oil, and Fragrance
The key active ingredient is soda ash, also known as sodium carbonate, which is an alkaline material used in a variety of industrial applications from food preparation to pool sanitization. Sodium carbonate raises the pH of the product and allows it to soften the chemical bonds that connect the protein fibrils in hair. Once these chemical bonds are broken, or relaxed, the hair becomes straighter.
Lye vs Bodiphier
I would have to say that Bodiphier’s claim about being milder than typical lye relaxers is true. That’s because the active ingredient in true relaxers is sodium hydroxide, a chemical which is more more caustic than sodium carbonate. Bodiphier’s pH is 12, which is a bit lower than most relaxers that tend to be 12 to 13. But while Bodiphier will be less damaging to your hair it will also provide less of a relaxing effect. Depending on your hair type, this may be perfectly fine, but don’t expect Bodiphier to be a safer way to straighten really kinky hair.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Bodiphier is a more gentle, but less effective, way to straighten hair. However, it’s not really fair to say that’s it’s more “natural” than relaxers. Both types of products use ingredients that are chemically derived from natural sources.