Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can dandruff shampoo be used on black hair that has been relaxed?

A: Most anti-dandruff shampoos have an active ingredient to control the symptoms associated with dandruff. The active ingredient in Design Essentials Therapeutics Anti-Itch Shampoo is Pyrithione Zinc (2.0%), which will not strip relaxers. Formulated with moisturizing agents as well, the product is designed to control flaking, itching and irritation caused by scalp conditions such as Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis while depositing moisture into the hair. (Full line available at hair by Ebony and Ivory)

Q: How long should I go before washing my hair, as I was told dirty hair grows faster than clean hair?

A: Clean hair is better for the hair and scalp. There is no scientific data that suggests dirty hair grows faster. On average hair grows .44mm per day. Buildup of products and oils can cause severe scalp problems if not properly cleansed on a regular basis, which could inhibit hair growth.

Q: I have lots of split ends can my hair be repaired?

A: Split ends can be repaired by clipping them and preventing them from causing damage to the rest of the hair strand. Hair should be cut or trimmed once every 6 weeks.

Q: Can I use any shears/scissors when cutting my hair?

A: Professional shears do make a difference in the precision of a haircut. Dull unsharpened shears can drag and pull the hair strands which can prevent proper movement and precision in the finished look.

Q: I have black hair why should I use Professional products? Is there a difference between professional and nonprofessional products?

A: Professional products like Design Essentials have a higher concentration which requires less product to be used. In addition, higher quality ingredients are used to ensure that the products are safe and will deliver based on brand promise - preserving the health and integrity of the hair.

Q: I have heard it doesn't matter what type of shampoo you use as long as you use a good conditioner. Is this true?

A: Shampoos come in four basic categories: Clarifying, Moisturizing, Neutralizing and Special Care or Treatment. Clarifying shampoos are great for removing product build up and chlorine. Moisturizing shampoos helps to detangle the hair and adds special conditioners to smooth the cuticle layer of the hair. Neutralizing shampoos stop the chemical relaxing process and must be used during the relaxing process. Neutralizing shampoos also contains an agent that indicates the pH of the hair; the shampoo is pink until all of the relaxer has been removed from the hair. Special Care or Treatment shampoos are used for color treated hair and/or scalp issues. Selecting the right shampoo is imperative in getting the best possible results.

Q: It is okay to relax edges every two weeks?

A: The temple areas should not be relaxed every two weeks. Normally the density of the hair is lower around the edges, and it is almost impossible to prevent over processing if the hair is relaxed every two weeks. Professional stylists can give you the appearance of a relaxer by using special techniques, styling tools and professional products.

Q: It is safe to use heated tools on the hair every day?

A: Heat damage can occur as a result of over-use or misusing heated tools like flat irons, curling irons and blow dryers. Misuse can also lead to hair breakage and shedding. To maintain your thermal style, it is best to pin curl or wrap your hair and secure with a satin head wrap at night. This will allow you to preserve your thermal style without putting too much heat in your hair.

Q: Natural hair styles options other than an afro?

A: a "fro" is currently very trendy but we all like to have several hair options for new looks.
-Try doing a wash & deep conditioning, after rinse out completely and apply a generous amount of leave-in conditioner, mix chick ,and design essential are great choices for loose curls
-Cornrows with designs to suit your style
- Two strand twist at the scalp with a styling alcohol free gel and sit under hooded dryer or air dry, once hair is dry completely you can take out twist or braids and finger comb and go! This will give your hair a cute crimped or waved pattern.

Relaxer Q&A

Q: How Do Relaxers Work?

A: During a chemical relaxing procedure of a hydroxide relaxer a process called lanthionization occurs, which is the breaking of a disulfide bonds to alter the curl pattern of the hair. During this process the curl pattern is loosened or relaxed. The cortex is thus elongated, stretching the original curl pattern, therefore making this a permanent alteration.

Q: What are the different types of Hydroxide relaxers?

A: There are several types of Hydroxide relaxers aka Metal Relaxers which are sold to professionals and consumers with no mixing requirements. The ionic metals include sodium (Na), lithium (Li), and potassium (k). These metals are combined with oxygen (o) and hydrogen (h), forming ionic compounds known as relaxers which include the following active ingredients: sodium hydroxide (NaOH), potassium hydroxide (KOH), and lithium hydroxide (LiOH). Sometimes calcium (CaOH) is added to hydroxide relaxers, but it is not used solely to relax hair

Q: What is the difference between Lye and No Lye Relaxers?

A: The main active ingredient in a Lye Relaxer is Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). Sodium Hydroxide relaxers are very effective in breaking down the hair's bonds (straightening the hair) quickly. Because it processes quickly it is also the most commonly used relaxers by professionals. Through speedy and precise application, professional stylists are able to apply the relaxer evenly, process the relaxer in a timely manner and rinse thoroughly with a neutralizing shampoo to avoid damage and potential irritation during the chemical process.

Lithium hydroxide (LiOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH), calcium hydroxide (CaOH) and Guanidine hydroxide relaxers are marketed as No Lye relaxers. Although these ionic compounds are not lye, hydroxide is an active ingredient. No lye relaxers are ideal for someone with a very sensitive scalp, as the chemicals and pH level of these type of relaxers are milder than lye based relaxers. No lye relaxers are commonly associated to dryer hair due to calcium buildup. This can easily be addressed through the use of a clarifying shampoo to remove dull deposits and a deep conditioning treatment to add moisture back to the hair.

Q: What is a Low Lye relaxer?

A: A Low Lye relaxer has the lowest concentration of sodium hydroxide which is less than 2.5%. It is equally as effective as other Sodium Hydroxide relaxers however much more mild due to the percentage of active ingredient. The low lye relaxer gently loosens the bonds for increased manageability, while maintaining some level of texture in the hair.

Q: Which type of relaxer is better for the hair?

A: It is best to seek the advice of a licensed professional stylist to determine the best relaxer system for your hair type. A full consultation should be conducted by a professional prior to using a particular type or strength of relaxer.

Q: What if I have a sensitive scalp? Which type of relaxer should be used?

A: A professional stylist can analyze your scalp and hair to determine if relaxing is the best option for you, and if so, which type of relaxer is best. Often times Guanidine hydroxide relaxers and calcium hydroxide relaxers are recommended for clients who have a sensitive scalp, however a professional stylist will be able to recommend the best relaxer option for you.

Q: Why are there different relaxer strengths? Don't they all relax the hair the same way?

A: The level of hydroxide used in relaxers determines the strength. For example, super strength contains a higher concentration of sodium hydroxide than a regular strength relaxer. Although the result from a relaxer, irrespective of strength, is straighter more manageable hair, the strength of the relaxer used to achieve the result is very important. The goal is to avoid hair and scalp damage based on the texture of the hair. As a precaution, at home relaxer application is not recommended. A professional stylist will be able to assist in determining the best relaxer option for you.

Q: What is pH?

A: The pH is a measure used to determine the acidity and alkalinity of a substance. The scale is represented by numbers ranging from 0 to 14 where 7 is neutral. Greater than 7 on the pH scale is more alkaline and less than 7 is more acidic. The pH of hair ranges between 4.5 - 5.5. Lye relaxers range from 12 - 14 and no-lye relaxers range from 9 - 11.

Q: Can any type of shampoo be used after a relaxer?

A: Following a relaxer you should always cleanse with a Neutralizing shampoo. A neutralizing shampoo will ensure that you remove all traces of chemical residue and restore the hair to its resting pH level of 4.5. The pH of a hydroxide relaxer is typically 13 or higher which is considered a high alkaline concentration. Therefore an acid-balanced shampoo must be used to neutralize the hydroxide, and to return the hair and scalp to a normal pH level.

Q: What is the processing time for a relaxer?

A: Processing times vary from client to client. However, most processing times are a maximum of 20 - 25 minutes.

Q: What is wrong with getting hair bone straight?

If you relax the hair until it is bone straight, you are essentially over relaxing the hair. This removes any degree of elasticity, thus weakening the hair. Over a period of time of continuous over relaxation, blow drying and hot curling, and the hair will become damaged and prone to breakage. To avoid irreparable damage and maintain the integrity of the hair, Design Essentials recommends straightening the hair 65% - 75% straight.

Q: What is a thio relaxer, and how does it differ from a hydroxide relaxer?

A: Thio relaxers are also used to straighten hair. The primary agent, ammonium thioglycolate (ATG) is also used in permanent waving. Hydroxide relaxers and thio relaxers should not be used interchangeably. Overlapping these chemicals can cause extreme damage to the hair, and can result in hair loss.

Thio relaxers differ from hydroxide relaxers in a few ways. The pH of thio relaxers is typically around 10 whereas the pH of hydroxide relaxers is approximately 13. Also, an oxidizing agent like hydrogen peroxide or sodium bromate is used to neutralize thio relaxers. During this process the disulfide bonds are reformed that were broken by the relaxing process. When using hydroxide relaxers, the broken disulfide bonds are permanently broken and cannot be formed again. Oxidizing agents should not be used with hydroxide relaxers.

Chemical hair relaxers are designed to straighten extremely curly, coiled or tightly coiled hair by breaking the disulfide bonds found within the cortex layer of the hair. Hydroxide and Thio are the most common types of hair relaxers. Hydroxide relaxer types include sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, lithium hydroxide and guanidine hydroxide.

These relaxers can be marketed as base and no base relaxers. Base relaxers require stylists to base the client's entire scalp with a protective cream prior to the chemical relaxer application. No base relaxers have a protective cream built within the relaxer that settles onto the scalp according to the client's body temperature. Although no base relaxers have a thin, oil like protective cream within the relaxer system, most stylists use a base cream around the ears and hairline for added protection.

Q: Do you do hair tattooing and carvings?

A: Yes we do! We have some talented barbers on-site who do Hair carvings, hair art, hair logos, etc.

Q: My daughter is Bi-racial and I need some help with her hair. Can your salon offer any advice and suggest products for hair care at home?

A: Yes, we offer a hair analysis consultation or you can book an appointment for service and our Stylist team will be more than happy to show you products and give advice for hair care at home.

Q: What hair types do you work on?

A: All! We are a full service barber and salon, with barbers and stylists trained and able to work on hair types from African to Caucasian hair! View our services and products pages to see the how we can help you today!

Q: What is Black Hair?

A: Afro-textured hair or Black hair, are terms used to refer to the typical texture of Black African hair that has not been altered by hot combs, flat irons, or chemicals (by perming, relaxing, or straightening). Each strand of this hair type grows in a tiny spring-like, corkscrew shape. The overall effect is such that, despite relatively fewer actual hair shafts compared to straight hair, this texture appears (and feels) denser than its straight counterparts. Due to this, it is often referred to as 'thick', 'bushy', or 'woolly'. For several reasons, possibly including its relatively flat cross section (among other factors), this hair type also conveys a dry or matte appearance. It is also very coarse, and its unique shape also renders it very prone to breakage when combed or brushed. Adjectives such as "firm", "kinky", "nappy" or "spiralled" are often used to describe natural afro-textured hair in Western societies.
For more information please visit the wikipedia site: source:

Q: What are the hair care basics?

A: You should picture your hair as a collection of fine fibers. You should treat it as gently as you would a fine washable silk blouse. The better you treat your hair, the easier it will be to grow and the better it will look. African hair will tend to be dryer and more prone to breakage because the structure makes it more difficult for the oils to work their way from the scalp to the ends of the hair. If you relax your hair, you've weakened the hair and reduced the ability for the scalp to naturally oil it. The points where the hair curls and twists are also points where the hair tends to break. The more of these points (as in African hair), the more the hair is prone to breakage. Also, because African hair is kinky, it tends to tangle more and pulling these tangles out can cause breakage.

Q: To grease or not to grease?

A: NOT. Grease is a petroleum based product which may create the illusion of shiny hair but all it is doing is coating the hair and keeping moisture out. Many of the dandruff problems experienced can be attributed to the use of these products on the scalp, where it prevents the skin from breathing, leading to an over supply of sebum. Instead of grease, try some of the great natural products out there.

Q: How to Care for Black Hair after Exercise?

A: Black hair care tips are not just limited to regular everyday hair maintenance. After sports, the hair care routine is different than the normal everyday hair care, thus special attention must be given to your black hair immediately after you have ended your exercise routine for the day. Here are some tips to care for your black hair after exercise. After a work out, if you are in a rush and do not have the time to shampoo your hair, you can swab your hair using an antiseptic and a gentle moisturizing spray. The sweat residue trapped in your hair is very damaging to your hair and can cause hair damage. Be sure to rinse your hair out with plain water if that is possible.

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