“I swapped relaxer for this natural hair treatment and haven’t looked back”

Written by Akesha Reid

A semi-permanent alternative to relaxer, a texture release temporarily loosens curls and coils.

Two years into my natural hair journey I was at my wits’ end with the dual texture of my hair. I had opted to ‘transition’ – a term used to describe choosing to grow out your relaxed hair rather than cutting it off and starting afresh (aka The Big Chop). 

I was happy with my decision as I wasn’t comfortable with short hair, but the thickness of my coils and the scragginess of the relaxed ends I had neglected didn’t mesh well. I was straightening my hair to try to gel the textures together but it wasn’t cutting it. I had resolved to go back to relaxer when my boss told me about the Avlon Texture Release system. 

Since my first treatment, I haven’t looked back and now get one or two a year, even though my hair is back to fully natural. I do it mostly to help with smoothness and manageability.

So, if you are using hot tools on your coily hair regularly and often think about returning to relaxer, allow me to tell you about texture releasing before you do so. 

What is a texture release?

A texture release is a heat-activated straightening system that uses a combo of amino acids and glyoxylic acid to temporarily loosen curly and coily hair. It’s a treatment that has to be done in-salon by a professional. Avlon had the texture release system in development for years before bringing the original formula to market in 2011.

After the solution is applied it is activated under the hood-dryer, rinsed and then sealed in when styled. “The treatment enables clients to have optional textural change with increased combing manageability and is designed to provide additional moisture and conditioning for the hair and scalp,” says Kash Bishop, textured hair specialist at Neville Hair & Beauty.

“A texture release is formulated specifically for naturally curly hair textures ranging from 3A to 4C,” says Bishop, “and is ideal for clients looking to elongate their natural curl pattern. With a texture release treatment, clients will be able to achieve styling versatility while maintaining natural texture between blow-dries.”  

One of the reasons people with natural hair turn back to harsher relaxers is because of the stark difference between looking after straight hair and investing time, money and effort into a full natural hair routine. 

Because, even if you want to showcase the glory of your coils, extra time might be something you don’t want or can’t afford to incorporate back into your getting-ready routine.

In my experience, a texture release makes at-home washing and styling quicker and easier, thanks to the temporary loosening of the curls and coils. It’s why Bishop recommends it to clients trying to stay away from relaxer.

How long does a texture release last?

From application, the results last up to 12 weeks. In my experience, I’ve found that, while the texture reverts back, the condition of my hair remains soft and continues to detangle more easily. 

“I would advise having a texture release treatment every two to three months depending on hair growth and curl pattern. It is recommended you consult your stylist who will be able to recommend the best course of action for your specific hair type and requirements,” suggests Bishop. 

Personally, I get a texture release maximum twice a year as that’s what worked for my hair. As it’s not permanent you can be more flexible with what suits you. 

Does a texture release contain chemicals?

Yes, the amino acids and glyoxylic acid are a type of chemical but it’s good to remember that not all chemicals are the same – and not all are bad if used correctly. 

Compared to the chemicals found in relaxers, the texture release formula is milder and the effects are only semi-permanent.  

Can anyone get a texture release treatment?

“It is advised not to carry out the treatment on hair which is brittle, splitting or otherwise damaged,” says Bishop. Booking a consultation first will ensure your stylist can assess your hair health and if it’ll react well to the chemicals in the texture release system. 

Those with scalp sensitivities, irritation or conditions like psoriasis should avoid the treatment as it can lead to aggravation. 

As tempted as you might be to have a little colour revamp to show off your texture release, you’ll need to stay away from any hair colour for at least a week before and after your treatment as it can react with the formula.  

Main image: Getty

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