The Importance of Neutralizing After Chemical Treatments: What Happens if You Don’t?

Keywords: neutralizing, chemical treatments, hair relaxers, hair damage, breakage, scalp irritation, color changes, hair health, hair care

Chemical treatments like hair relaxers can be transformative, but they also require proper aftercare to maintain the health and appearance of your hair. Neutralizing is a crucial step in this process, and neglecting it can lead to a range of negative consequences. This guide will explore the importance of neutralizing and the potential risks of skipping this step.

Understanding the Role of Neutralizing

Neutralizing shampoo plays a vital role in stopping the chemical process of a relaxer and restoring the hair’s natural pH balance. Relaxers are alkaline, meaning they have a high pH level. This high pH level opens the hair cuticle, allowing the relaxer to break down the hair’s bonds and straighten it. However, if the relaxer is not neutralized, it will continue to work, leading to over-processing and damage.

Neutralizing shampoo is acidic, meaning it has a low pH level. This low pH level closes the hair cuticle, stopping the chemical process and restoring the hair’s natural balance. This is essential for preventing further damage and ensuring the longevity of the relaxer.

Consequences of Skipping Neutralization

Failing to neutralize after a chemical treatment can have several detrimental effects on your hair:

  • Damage and Breakage: Over-processing due to unneutralized relaxer can lead to weak, brittle hair that is prone to breakage. This can result in significant hair loss and difficulty achieving desired hair lengths.
  • Color Changes: The chemical process of a relaxer can also affect the hair’s color, making it appear brassy or uneven. Skipping neutralization can exacerbate these color changes, making it difficult to achieve the desired hair color.
  • Poor Retention of Chemical Treatment: Without proper neutralization, the relaxer may not hold as well, requiring more frequent retouches and increasing the risk of further damage.
  • Dryness and Frizz: Over-processed hair tends to be dry and frizzy, making it difficult to manage and style. This can also contribute to breakage and further damage.
  • Scalp Irritation: The high pH level of unneutralized relaxer can irritate the scalp, causing redness, itching, and discomfort. In severe cases, it can even lead to scalp conditions like folliculitis.

Neutralizing is an essential step in the aftercare process for chemical treatments like hair relaxers. Skipping this step can have serious consequences for the health and appearance of your hair. By understanding the importance of neutralization and the potential risks of neglecting it, you can make informed decisions to protect your hair and achieve your desired results.

Additional Tips

  • Always follow the instructions on your relaxer and neutralizing shampoo carefully.
  • If you are unsure about how to neutralize your hair, consult a professional hairstylist.
  • Use a deep conditioner after neutralizing to restore moisture and prevent dryness.
  • Avoid heat styling and harsh chemicals to further minimize damage.

By following these tips and prioritizing proper hair care, you can ensure that your chemically treated hair remains healthy, strong, and beautiful.

Two Reasons Why You Should Always Neutralize After A Relaxer


What happens if you don’t neutralize a relaxer?

Without the neutralizing shampoo the chemicals will continue relaxing your hair strands, eventually eroding it and then breaking it off. My mom didn’t listen and just used regular shampoo to wash out the relaxer. she said she would buy some neutralizing shampoo to wash her hair again by the end of that week.

Do you have to neutralize a perm?

Check to see if your perm has a mid-step. If so, this is when it would be applied. If towel blotting was done properly, the hair should absorb the same amount of Waving Lotion and Neutralizer. Therefore, if a full bottle of Waving Lotion was used, then you should also use a full bottle of Neutralizer.

Why is a neutralizer important?

Chemical neutralizers, such as sodium pyrophosphate, help homogenize ionic charges, causing repulsion between soil surfaces and microorganisms.

Can I perm my hair without neutralizing shampoo?

If you run out of the shampoo included in the kit any shampoo will do. It does not have to be a neutralizing shampoo, it’s the water that really does the “neutralizing”. If you leave a very minute amount of chemical in your hair, residual chemical action will occur.

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