Category Archives: Chemical Relaxers Do’s and Don’ts

>No-Lye vs. Lye relaxers

>Hello Blog Lovers! I just wanted to first welcome all of my new followers. Welcome! This blog post is for those of us that relax our hair and for those who are just plain curious; as we all know Miss Nic loves hair whether it’s natural or relaxed. I follow Hairlicious Inc. and I’m a member of the Hairlista network and I love the blog as well as Hairlista. Someone asked the question on Hairlicious what could she do to keep her scalp from burning during the relaxer process and she stated that she used a lye relaxer. All of the tips that were given were great. However the big red flag that went off in my brain was the LYE RELAXER and I knew that no matter what she used or did before she relaxed her hair it was going to burn. When I think about a lye relaxer I think about the movie Malcom X and the 5 heart beats when relaxers just hit the scene. If you’ve seen Malcom X you should remember Spike Lee putting the relaxer on Denzell’s hair and him running to the bathroom screaming it’s burning!!! That was a lye relaxer. I just wanted to share some information about Lye relaxers vs. No-Lye relaxers and although No-lye has a “bad reputation” you’d be surprised as to what you’ll read next. Just know that both relaxer types are chemicals and if you do not apply them correctly you will have damaged hair (dry,brittle, and breakage). There are ways to keep this from ultimately happening. 

All relaxers have a high pH range 10-14 on the pH scale and I’ve been watching Kim of LuvNaturals (told you I love hair and I’m not natural<< she’s great in her presentation and her videos!) and she talked about the pH rollercoaster of our hair and how it can be one heck of a ride. However the difference between Lye relaxers and No-lye relaxers is that Lye relaxers have a pH level of 14 and no-lye relaxers have a pH of 10. The higher the pH level the more it causes the hair cuticle to swell which will initially cause  more damage to the hair cuticle. The pH level increases as the strength of the relaxer increases. As I’ve stated before there are different strengths of relaxer. They are again: Mild for fine hair, Regular for normal hair, Super for course hair, and there is also Sensitive Scalp for those with sensitive scalps. 
Also what makes the two relaxers different is the chemical compounds used to straighten the hair. Lye relaxers contain Sodium Hydroxide ( that shuts down the statement that all relaxers contain sodium hydroxide only the lye relaxers do). No-lye relaxers contain Guanidine, Lithium, and Potassium Hydroxide. They are still in the same family as the Sodium Hydroxide, however sodium is initially stronger. Lye relaxers are referred to as no-base relaxers which are relaxers that come already ready to use. No-lye relaxers have a activator step which require you to add something to the relaxer to make it no-lye. Some Lithium and Potassium relaxers may not have the activator step.
No-Lye relaxers are best for self-relaxing, fine hair, and those who have sensitive scalps. They are also better for those of us who like to have straighter results. No-Lye relaxers have always had a bad reputation for being harder on the hair but easier on the scalp. Why is that so if the pH is lower than that of a No-lye relaxer…Glad you asked so I can tell you where that came from. Here are the Pros and Cons of the No-Lye relaxer first.
Pros:
  1. Easier on the scalp. You will have little to no scalp irritation if you treat the scalp properly before application.
  2. Straighter results. No-lye relaxers allow enough processing time to achieve the straighter look that is desired by many.
  3. Lower pH than lye relaxers.
  4. Affordable. Can be found in your local BSS, drug stores, or retailers like Wal-mart and target.
Cons:
  1. No-Lye relaxers will leave mineral deposits on the hair which will make the hair less able to absorb moisture. The calcium deposits that are left behind on the hair will make the hair brittle, dry, and prone to breakage if not taken care of.
  2. No-lye relaxers cause more breakage of the disulfied bonds in the hair which will make the hair straighter. Excessive straightening will contribute to limp, lifeless hair. (OVER PROCESSING)
  3. Takes longer to process.  This is due to the pH level and the reason why it can or may take longer to process depends on the texture (fine, normal, course) however,  even thou you will achieve a straighter look due the fact that it won’t burn right away it will often times make us think that you can leave it on longer. I always say that if you know what you doin or if the person applying the relaxer knows what they are doing then it should relax in less than 15 minutes for re-touch (thats application and comb through at least one time). Maybe longer for virgins.
  4. Only good for one application. Guandine hydroxide relaxers that are usually the kind in the store that comes in the kit comes packaged as one full head application (for virgins) and/or two relaxer re-touch applications. If you are doing a re-touch application you can just scoop half out into a bowl and mix it up and the other half is fine as long as it’s not mixed all the way. Once you mix the activator into the relaxer you have mixed guanidine carbonate and calcium hydroxide (the mineral deposits) together and created guanidine hydroxide. After that chemical action has taken place the mixture is only good for 24 hrs.
Now why is the No-lye hard on the hair. The calcium deposits of course. There are three things that you can do to counteract this problem: 1) protect the hair with a conditioner or oil prior to relaxing the hair to reduce breakage (apply this to the hair that has already been previously relaxed< this process is called adding a filler to the hair shaft << great for re-touches only) 2) It is recommended that you Chelate the hair shaft (after application) to get rid of minerals that have been deposited onto the hair cuticle to reduce the dryness of the hair shaft. This can be done by using a clarifying shampoo. Remember Clarifying shampoos can be damaging if over used. 3)Choose a no-lye relaxer that is either lithium or potassium hydroxide based to avoid mineral build up.
I would suggest using a No-lye relaxer for first timers. That way your hair will be relaxed properly without irritation.
Lye relaxers are as stated before no-base relaxers and contain sodium hydroxide. Do not assume that because it’s called a no-base relaxer that you don’t have to base the scalp. It’s actually the exact opposite. You have to actually base the scalp and base it heavily because of the pH level of the Lye relaxer. You have a chemical with an intensified affect on the hair (think about the movie Good Hair and the aluminum cans).Lye relaxer never has to be mixed and is ready to apply. I would not suggest using a lye relaxer for self relaxing or home use. Keep Malcom X and the 5 heartbeats in mind. Here are the Pros and Cons of the Lye Relaxer.
Pros:
  1. Easier on the hair. There is no form of mineral build up and will leave the hair softer and silkier.
  2. Low Degree of disulfide bonds broken.
  3. Processes faster. The pH level allows the hair to process faster and lift the cuticle of the hair forcefully. It must be applied carefully and quickly to avoid immediate damage to the hair.
Cons:
  1. Hard on the scalp. Makes the scalp easier to burn which will leave the hair under processed and won’t give straighter results.
  2. Swells the cuticle of the hair more.Due to the higher levels of pH it will allow the hair shaft to be penetrated faster during the lifting of the cuticle which can lead to damage to the cuticle..
  3. Scalp Irritation. Due to fast processing time and pH level.
  4. Doesn’t straighten completely. The lye relaxer often times can’t be tolerated long enough to stay on long enough to straighten properly. The chemical (sodium hydroxide) is overall harsher than the no-lye relaxer (Guanidine Hydroxide), and because it’s harsher the breakage of the disulfide bonds are weaker due to time constraints. Although the disulfide bond is left in tact (the disulfide bond is the bond responsible for the curl/coil of your natural hair texture), other critical hair bonds are being destroyed.  For better straightening results use a “base” lye relaxer but pump up the amount of vaseline used on the scalp.
  5. Under processed hair.
  6. Expensive. Lye-relaxers are the relaxers used in the salons by professionals and they cost more than the relaxers that are found in the bss.This is the reason why I stated before in a previous post that salon relaxers are stronger than store bought relaxers. 

 

What can you do to combat the harsh affects of the Lye relaxer: Using a protein conditioner after the relaxer has been rinsed and before you apply the neutralizing shampoo. This will counteract the lifting and swelling damage to the cuticle, and will rebuild the cuticle of the hair shaft. Often times some salon relaxers (lye relaxers) come with a four step process and that is to base the scalp, apply the relaxer, apply the normalizer (the protein conditioner in our case) and then neutralizing shampoo.  The normalizer is what will bring the pH level of the hair back down to 7 which is the normal pH level of hair.  
 
Overall like I’ve always said a chemical can damage your hair if you are applying it wrong and not following directions and if you don’t know what you are doing then you should seek a professional. Like I always say Condition, CONDition, CONDITION!and of course moisturize. That will ultimately keep your hair from breaking and being dried out. That’s the 411 on Lye relaxers vs. No-lye relaxers when it comes to relaxing your hair always choose the right relaxer for your hair texture and be fully aware that if you are opting to use a lye relaxer be prepared to feel the burn!
 
I know it was long, Sorry and check out Kimmaytubes video on the structure of the Hair part 3<
 
Thanks for reading! Tell a Friend! and Leave Comments and enter the summer contest Giveaway in my side bar. ~♥ Miss Nic♥~ 

 


>Dark and Lovely Hair Relaxer Review and How I apply my relaxer

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Hello Blog Lovers! I just wanted to share this with you guys especially for my relaxed ladies. I just relaxed my hair on Tuesday of this week and I purchased the Dark and Lovely Moisturizing Relaxer. I know everyone has seen the commercial on T.V. by now, but the reason why I tried this one this time is because of course they didn’t have the one I always get and my sister said it was great! So I self-relaxed which I just recently started do this, I used to get my mother to do it because it’s hard to see the back of your head to make sure you’re not applying too much relaxer to the hair shaft below the new growth (which is a no-no). I’ve gotten better and I’ve never had to worry about any spots that were not relaxed well. I used the regular strength (remember choose the strength according to your hair texture (Fine, Normal, Medium, Thick)(Click Here). It comes with the normal things included in the relaxer kit, gloves, mixing spatula, activator(2), neutralizing shampoo, and the moisture seal with shea butter conditioner. As always it’s two applications in the one little jar. So I proceeded to do what I normally do when I relax my hair:
  1. Detangle my hair if necessary with a wide tooth comb (never comb too hard before a relaxer it can cause scalp irritation
  2. Part my hair in four sections with a rat tail comb and clip my sections with a butterfly clip
  3. Base my scalp with a protective cream (in between the parted sections and around the perimeter of my head, I only base all over if I have scratching a little, if I scratch too much I just wait). This relaxer was missing the protective cream good thing I had some on hand. (I guess that’s a con>>No Protective Cream included!)
  4. I divided the relaxer in half and re-caped the unused portion so I can use it the next time I relax my hair
  5. I mixed the activator and relaxer together (It usually changes in consistency from thick to creamy)
  6. I start in the back of my head on either side which ever I choose (left or right ) I apply the relaxer at the nape of my neck and work my way up to the crown in that section (you can outline that sections perimeter to make sure all areas are covered first<
  7. I then proceed to go to front two sections  starting on the same side that I started in the back (because I will go in that order around my head to smooth it out). I outline the perimeter of my section and proceed from there to make subsections. I repeat the same steps on the other side of my head. (I usually do this pretty fast as far as applying the relaxer with my applicator brush, because if you work efficiently and fast while applying the relaxer the processing time will be shortened and you will still have a good relaxed head of hair).
  8. I take my rat tail comb and I start to smooth my sections down to my head (starting in the back where I applied the relaxer first). I take the back of the comb and smooth the nape of the neck upward and then proceed to part the hair into subsections being careful not to touch the scalp. As I part the hair into subsections I comb a little to make sure I get all the “curly hair” straight and then smooth. I repeat these steps working my way around the head. 
  9. By this time the relaxer has be combed through at least one time (two times if necessary) and I let it sit for about 5 minutes. I rinse it all out and then proceed to shampoo my hair with the neutralizing shampoo.
  10. After I finish shampooing I used the conditioner in the box (which it’s typically a leave in conditioner which I never use but this particular relaxer came with one that required you to leave it on and rinse it out (kind of like a mini deep conditioner)
  11. Rinse out conditioner and detangle with my HCO leave Conditioner by Design Essentials (Check out Review Here) , Style as usual.
Will I buy this product again?? Yes I will buy this product again. It delivered what it promised my hair is soft, shiny, and straight.
 Overall I give the New and Improved Dark and Lovey Hair Relaxer with Moisture Seal: 5 stars
Thanks for reading, Tell a Friend and Leave Comments!! Peace and Blessings ~♥ Miss Nic ♥~ 

>Good Hair

>Hello Blog Lovers!! I’m like six months behind but I just got the chance to watch Good Hair..I know right, so last year, but I have had a very busy life and it’s been kind of crazy lately so now that I’m kind of in a settled mode so to speak I starting to catch on up a few things as well as plan like I need too. Anyways…I laughed pretty much throughout the entire movie. It had quite a few funny moments…and I could relate to a lot of the things that were said that I couldn’t relate too and somethings were said that I didn’t necessarily agree with but overall it was a good movie. Being a black woman I can say that we do go through a lot of things when it comes to our hair and trying to look pretty. We shouldn’t fall prey to the stigmas that we are surrounded by when it comes to determining what’s “Good Hair” and what’s “Bad Hair”. I personally don’t feel that there is a such thing as “good hair” and “bad hair” to me hair is hair and you treat it according to your texture. In the black community we come in all different shapes, sizes, and skin tones and along with that comes the different hair textures. We should embrace each other and that concept that we are “equal but different” within our community. I think when we fully realize that then small things like who has “good hair” and “bad hair” will not only be trivial but will be a thing of the past.

Now one major thing that I didn’t agree with was how some of those stylist were applying those relaxer retouches. BTW there is a difference between a relaxer and a perm and although we use it interchangeably they are two different words that describe two different chemical processes. A perm is a chemical process that takes straight hair and makes it curly whereas a relaxer will take curly hair and make it straight.  Now what am I exactly referring to about those retouches…well when it comes to the relaxer retouches a retouch should be approximately four to eight weeks of new growth. The longer you wait the more hair you will loose due to the dryness of the new growth. When applying the retouch you should never overlap the chemical. What do I mean by overlapping the chemical. You will add damage to the hair if you place the relaxer on anything other than the new growth you want to make sure to get the relaxer only on the new growth only and not on the previous relaxed ends. In doing so you will have hair breakage. I notice where the little girl (pictured above)  was receiving a relaxer retouch on her hair the stylist was combing it too far down the hair shaft (as you can see in the picture) and I’m sitting here like OMG..that is not good. Now I don’t like to take away from anyone but because it’s a chemical it can be dangerous if misused and if you’re going to use it, use it correctly. #imjustsayin.
I’ve been “doing hair” since I was 14 and through watch my mother along with other stylist because I went to the hair seminars with her and even being in hair school this past year, I’ve seen the effects of improper relaxing services and I will say it was all due to misuse. I’ve seen where relaxer had been combed from root to end on every application and the hair was damaged, dry and brittle. Initially before I could do any type of chemical service in my mother’s salon I had to be trained and I had to be “fast” because you want to get it on and relaxed so that it won’t burn the scalp or be damaging. I noticed where the scientist had the aluminum cans in the sodium hydroxide for over a 15-20 minute time span, and the longer the aluminum can sat in the sodium hydroxide the more it disappeared. I can’t take away from sodium hydroxide and I can’t add to it but I think that’s why I don’t scratch my head before I relax it and I always base my scalp with a scalp base to prevent scalp irritation and burns and I’ve noticed that here lately when it comes to relaxers these days they are placing things in them so they won’t be harsh on the hair.  They discussed the kiddie perm which is milder than the “adult perm”; for years I was using the kiddie perm. I just recently stopped using it. That was because of the texture of my hair. Anything stronger would have been too much for my hair. My thoughts on the kiddie relaxer…I think that when it comes to relaxing our children hair if that’s the route you’re going to take you should not be relaxing at age one and two…that’s too much and too me a little bit ridiculous. I think if that’s the route you’re going to take at least have your babies used to the pressing comb for a few years before you start torturing them with the relaxers. Simply because little babies (one and two) aren’t going to know not to scratch their scalp before getting a relaxer so the “scalp burning” is going to be some what traumatizing.  If I decide to do that with my girls (when and if I have any) I’m first going to make sure they can sit still with the straighten comb and then we may relax but that will depend on the texture of the hair. I honestly don’t think I want to relax it all. That will have to be a last result for my girls (even though I have relaxed hair and love it). That’s another blog for another day in the near future.  
Overall I loved the movie it was good for what it was. I really thought that he was going to be going through a really hard battle about natural hair vs. relaxed hair and he didn’t he covered everything. I think he could have had more natural sisters in the mix and it would have really covered all basis but the main focus was relaxers and extensions and we all know that’s not all bases with African American Hair. If you haven’t seen it you should see it and tell me what you think!

Thanks for reading..I know it was long :) but Tell a Friend and Leave Comments! ~♥ Miss Nic ♥~


>Miss Nic’s How to’s: How to achieve the length that you want.

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Hello Blog lovers! I would like to thank everyone who submitted their entry for the Design Essentials Fast and Fab Giveaway. I said that I would discuss each question that was on the survey attached to the blog just to give you guys some insight and some answers to any questions that you may have concerning the question that was asked. The number one thing that everyone said that they would change about their hair if they could was the length. I’m just going to cover what I do to with my hair how to stop breakage for your hair which will allow your hair to grow as beautiful and healthy. 
Having problems with breakage?? Well the best thing that you can do for your hair to keep it from breaking is to CONDITION, CONDITION, CONDITION.  As I’ve stated in previous blogs, It best that you condition your hair with a great conditioner for your hair type. I know that there are combo 2-n-1 shampoos that have conditioners in it but sometimes that’s not enough. I usually swap out a “rinse out conditioner” with a deep conditioner alternating each week because I wash my hair every week. So basically what I do is deep condition my hair every two weeks.  Conditioners will help to rebuild any damage to your hair as well as give it life, body, and softness.
Here are somethings that you can do to keep your hair from breaking so you can obtain the length you desire: #1 is Conditioning. I can’t stress that enough #2 If you have a relaxer get your retouches on time. Don’t stretch your relaxer no more than six weeks that’s a month and a half and I know to some that’s too soon. I’m not all together sure why some stretch their relaxer longer than that but if it’s because you’re trying to grow it out…it defeats the purpose. The amount of hair that grows every month due to the normal cycle of hair growth is 1/2 inch. If you stretch your relaxer for 20 weeks you’ve only grown about two and a half inches. Which may not be so once all of the dried out strands have broken off due to dryness from stretching your relaxer. So in other words..Miss Nic’s advice is not to stretch your relaxer. Defeats the purpose for growing it out. #3 Moisturize your hair from roots to ends.  If you don’t like your hair to heavy or weighed down try opting for a light weight moisturizer. #4 Brush your hair to help manipulate the blood flow to the scalp. Brushing your hair will stimulate blood flow to help aid in hair growth. #5 TRIM TRIM TRIM TRIM you dead split ends! Some people feel that once their hair starts to grow they don’t want the ends to be trimmed. I know a lot of stylist believe in using those scissors and removing a lot of hair instead of just trimming and what I do I mean by trimming, well take at least a quarter of inch to a half and inch off your ends this will ensure that your hair will grow believe it or not. I usually trim my ends after a relaxer. #6 Avoid doing a lot of heat styling! I’ve discussed this in previous blogs. Opt for doing roller sets and wrapping your hair in between washing your hair. Always use a heat protectant and never pile product up on top of product. It will clog the pores to your scalp and cause other problem which will in turn cause problems for your hair. #7 Avoid the permanent hair color but if you just have to have it CONDITION your hair!!! and avoid a lot of heat styling.
If you follow this I ensure you that your hair will take off and if you just want to get a head start on growing your hair or increase that 1/2 inch to one and half inches try some Doo Gro products and check out Miss Nics’ Doo Gro challenge and see how my hair has taken off.  I follow all of the things that I’ve just shared I’ve just incorporated some doo gro into my regimen out of curiosity not because my hair was breaking but because it was something to do and believe it or not it WORKS!!!!!
Check out Miss Nic’s Winter hair regimen so you can see what I use on my hair and they are all recommended for hair breakage!
Thanks for reading! Tell a Friend! Leave Comments and Check out the Youtube Channel !!  ~♥ Miss Nic ♥~

>To Relax or not to Relax…That is the question.

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I know the old age question for everyone is should I relax my hair or should I just leave my hair in its natural virgin state. A lot of people are concerned that Relaxers are damaging to the hair and that they will eventually take your hair out. The main key to chemical relaxers is MAINTENANCE! Some people that I know go as long as six full months without getting a relaxer retouch because they feel that it’s too much for the hair. If you’ve ever wondered why your hair is not growing the way that you want to and the length that you desire or that you have large amounts of breakage between relaxers is because the “new growth” that you get each and every month is dry, and it’s overly curly and once you start to comb and brush the hair, the hair on the ends which are still chemically relaxed, are fragile at this point, and is very susceptible to breakage and split ends. Waiting long periods of time between your relaxers is not something that you should do if you are going to chemically relax your hair. A lot of people seem to think that when their hair is in a natural state (virgin state) it is healthier and thicker and when the hair is relaxed it’s damaged and thinner. Hair that is overly curly (or as some of us say nappy or kinky) is going to appear fuller but the chemical itself doesn’t thin the hair out. It removes the curls and gives it a straighter appearance. I personally have had a chemical relaxer in my hair since I was a child and I have had very healthy hair and I haven’t had any problems or issues with a chemical relaxer. If you are having or experiencing issues with a chemical relaxer such as, breakage, thinning, or scalp irritation; one or two things is occurring: (1) You are waiting entirely too long for a retouch application and/or (2) The relaxer system that you are using is too strong for your texture of hair.

Relaxers that are used in the Salons are a lot stronger than the relaxers that you can purchase at a beauty supply store that comes in a box. I have a normal to medium hair texture meaning it’s not thin and it’s not thick. For years I was still using the “kiddy relaxers” because of the texture of my hair. It straightened it just as good as any other relaxer and it lasted just as long. Salon relaxers and some store bought relaxers in the box come in a regular strength, mild strength, and super strength. These strengths are given for the different textures of hair. Some people get a little confused and think that regular is for thin hair and so forth and so on. Mild strength is for chemically treated hair, (hair that has been lightened or tinted) and is naturally fine. Regular is for normal to medium hair and super is for coarse resistant hair.

One thing that I have suggested to people who wish to maintain a straight look but wish to not use an actual relaxer (hydroxide relaxers) is to use a Thio relaxer (Ammonium Thioglycolate) it’s a relaxer that is used for perms and curl reformation. It will straighten your hair and is not as harsh and will allow you to keep the natural look in between retouch applications. Do not switch you retouch application with a thio relaxer until you seek advice from your regular hair stylist. Flip Flopping between products and chemicals like that will cause a hair meltdown! That is a personal choice for you to decide along with your stylist.

Two more things that I must touch on is shampooing and Conditioning. After you apply the relaxer to your hair you must use a neutralizing shampoo. I’ve been told that is okay to use one neutralizing shampoo application and follow it up with another type of shampoo, preferably a conditioning shampoo. My suggestion to you if you are doing this at home…you may want to do the full three neutralizing shampoo’s unless you rinse all of the relaxer out the first time before you shampoo the hair. I prefer doing three to be the safe side. Even if I’m doing a client. Neutralizing shampoo is NOT to be used as a regular shampoo! I believe Motions has/had a neutralizing shampoo where it suggested that you could use it as a regular shampoo, I’m not all together sure why but neutralizing shampoo will strip you hair dry and make it loose it’s natural luster and elasticity. Please use neutralizing shampoo with relaxer applications, not as a regular shampoo. Along with maintenance, condition your hair with a deep conditioner (conditioner, cap, and heat) often. We don’t want dry and brittle hair. Not a good look!

Miss Nic’s Do’s and Don’ts for a Chemical Relaxer

DO’S
1. DO Re-touch the hair every 4 to 6 weeks 8 weeks is the max. (Depending on the texture of your hair: Thin, Medium, or Course). You should at least rela
x new growth that is 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length.
2. DO Condition, Condition, CONDITION
3. DO trim you ends after you relax you
r hair. Free it from those terrible split ends

DONT’S
1. DO NOT Comb relaxer thru to the ends of the hair on each application. Unless you have developed a line of demarcation (Visible line of new growth against relaxed hair. Do not comb past that line! Relaxer is only combed to the ends on a Virgin Application.
2. DO NOT leave the relaxer on for no more than 15 to 20 minutes depending on the texture of your hair and how long it actually took for the application process.
3. DO NOT use neutralizing shampoo between relaxer retouches
4. DO NOT apply a permanent hair color after a relaxer. Wait at least two to three weeks before or after the relaxer application.
5. DO NOT use the incorrect strength for your hair type.
6. DO NOT get your hair Bone straight. Very fragile!
7. DO NOT agitate or irritate the scalp before application. If there is any visible cuts or abrasions do not apply the relaxer. If the scalp has been scratched, apply a basing cream.
This is a link that I found that has very good information that I did not touch on due to time. http://www.hairboutique.com/tips/tip000314.htm

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