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Can I Strip a Relaxer from My Hair?


Woman with friend getting hair done at salon
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Question: Can I Strip a Relaxer from My Hair?

With the rise in natural hair's popularity, several myths abound about removing a relaxer from relaxed hair. Some you may have heard:

  • You can wash your hair with dish detergent to strip the relaxer from hair.
  • A vinegar wash will strip a relaxer.
  • A mayonnaise and egg concoction can do it.

So what's the deal if you want to change your chemically straightened hair back to an Afro? Can you really do it overnight?


There is no miracle product that can strip a relaxer from previously relaxed hair. A relaxer is permanent. That's why the term "perm" is so often used interchangeably with "relaxer." Now you can certainly wash your hair with detergent in an attempt to get the relaxer out, but you'll probably end up with dried-out, roughed-up cuticles that feel hard. Nothing like healthy natural hair at all.

If you want a head of beautiful natural hair, there's no product that will give it to you overnight. If your hair is currently relaxed, you have to wait it out. Hair grows an average of 1/2 inch per month, so in six months, with proper care, you should see about 3 inches of growth. Maybe less if you get regular trims to get rid of split and dry ends.

The only way to get rid of relaxed hair and return to a natural immediately is to cut off all of the processed hair.

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