Curl activator is one of the best ways to moisturize relaxed hair, but there’s a specific way to use it.
But wait, isn’t a curl activator for Jheri curls?
Though it was created for use on Jheri curls but has since taken on a whole new role. Read on to see how and why you can use a curl activator on relaxed hair.
What Is A Curl Activator?
Curl activator was created to bring moisture back to hair that was double-processed with a Jheri curl-type product. The hair was relaxed first, then permed to recreate curls.
As you can imagine, this was very damaging, so it needed an after-care product that would provide a lot of moisture. The theory was that moisture would keep the hair pliable so it wouldn’t dry out and snap off.
It worked. Hair grew like weeds with a Jheri curl because of all the moisture, and it suffered little breakage. Oh, and because of all the hydration from the curl activator, the permed curls clumped easily. So it literally activated curls.
Does Curl Activator Work On Relaxed Hair?
Curl activators aren’t going to bring a lot of extra curl to your hair. You would need to set your hair on perm rods for that, like the Jheri curl.
However, because relaxers very rarely break all the curl out of your hair, you might have waves and a few loose curls that will clump together and be more defined if you use a curl activator.
However, most people with relaxed hair who use curl activators don’t use them to bring back their curls. They use it to provide hydration and protect their hair from snapping off under the pressure of chemical processing.
How Do You Use a Curl Activator on Relaxed Hair?
Most people simply use a curl activator in place of a leave-in conditioner. So once you wash and condition your relaxed hair, apply a little curl activator while your hair is still wet. Then you have the option to blow dry your hair or air dry it.
Glycerin is not a heat protectant, so it’s best to keep the hair dryer at least eight inches away from your hair and move it around constantly to avoid damage.
If you air dry your hair, the curl activator will trap moisture into your hair. It will also clump relaxed hair into waves or loose curls. Once it’s dry, you can braid your hair to add more curls.
The size of the braid will determine the size of your curls. Add a little curl activator before you start to help your hair hold the curl. When your hair is fully dry again within the braids, release your hair.
For a straight look, you can lightly apply a curl activator to dry hair, brush your hair thoroughly, then wrap it around your head and pin it in place. When your hair is fully dry, it will have a body and shine.
How Does Curl Activator Work on Natural Hair?
On natural hair, curl activator also adds moisture and clumps the hair. Because the natural texture is curly, it can define your hair just like a wash-in-go, but easier. The result is soft curls tumbling around all over the place.
Maybe if they had known this back in the 80s, no one would have gone through two chemical processes to straighten and reform their curls.
They may have had tighter curls from just using the curl activator with natural hair, but also you could have flipped back and forth between styles without being locked into perm rod curls.
But on the other hand, if there hadn’t been a Jheri curl, we wouldn’t have the resulting fantastic product, the curl activator.
Does Curl Activator Damage Hair?
No, curl activator doesn’t damage hair. But it doesn’t improve the hair that much, either. As a product, it’s typically void of nutrients, oils, butters or proteins. What it has in abundance is glycerin.
It’s the glycerin in the formula that blends with the other ingredients to hydrate the hair more than a leave-in conditioner. When the hair is well-moisturized, it becomes more pliable and less prone to breakage.
Curl activator also provides a lot of shine. Your hair will be moisturized and shiny and look very healthy.
Still, it’s probably a good idea to use nourishing products, too, so that your hair health will improve under the relaxer’s chemical processing instead of just looking like it’s super healthy.