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Design Essentials Relaxer Promises to Retain the “Thickness and Fullness” of Natural Hair

Avatar • Aug 23, 2010

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I got this very interesting link from Kali B of HipHopHardBody.com. Haircare comany Design Essentials is advertising a low-lye relaxer with shea butter that purports to straighten hair while retaining its natural volume.

Here’s an excerpt from the ad

Diane, I’ve got clients who prefer a relaxer, but they want the thickness and fullness of natural hair. You’re a stylist, help!

You should use Design Essentials low lye relaxer with shea butter. It gently straightens the hair while preserving more of its natural texture, leaving hair thicker, fuller and healthier.”

It is pretty unusual to see a relaxer company acknowledge any kind of positive qualities in natural hair. Relaxer companies are generally pretty dismissive, and even adversarial and mocking at times (the awful Dr. Miracle’s ads are a perfect example of this.)

DAWN DESIGN ESSENTIALS COMMERCIAL from JAY GLOVER on Vimeo.

 

What do you think it means that a relaxer company is giving a nod to natural hair? Is it a sign that natural hair is becoming more desirable and gaining traction in the black community?
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vonnie
10 years ago

they see the writing on the walls with sales at the moment, that’s all. that post you did about relaxer sales going down has them scared, so they want to fool as many people as possible into buying it. “oh but it’s healthy for you! you’ll be practically natural!” yeah right lol

http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

Alicia
Alicia
10 years ago

I’ve been natural all my life and have heard many of my relaxed friends say things like “I wish my hair was thick and full like yours”, but they continue to relax. I just don’t get it. They know what they need to do in order to get their hair “like mine”, but they continue to keep it chemically straightened! It confuses me that someone who wants thick, full hair would run to a relaxer to get it.

Shones
10 years ago

I think it means they understand the “natural” market is a lucrative one. As far as gaining traction/becoming more desirable in the black community, I’m not so sure. I still know plenty of women who are faithful to their relaxers for various reasons.

Re: the ad, I don’t see much of a difference between the model’s hair and other relaxer ads/boxes/billboards.

CashmereCurls
CashmereCurls
10 years ago

I think these companies are just trying to find new ways to market relaxers since Dominican and Brazilian blowouts are starting to take over. You can’t really give a nod to natural hair if you are selling a product that permanently removes its texture.

Lou
Lou
10 years ago

It seems to me like they’ve recognized the increase in natural hair and are trying to retain their relevance and bottom line even in the mist of the shift toward natural styles and hair for many ladies.

Lou
Lou
10 years ago

ETA: I just saw the video and the results looks like that of any regular relaxer with barrel curls added at the bottom for volume. They’re not re-inventing anything. I didn’t see any deviation from a standard relaxed look… no natural texture peeked through to me.

Kasandra
Kasandra
10 years ago

It look likes people want to have “the natural look”, but don’t want to put the time and work it entails to have natural hair.

it’s pretty simple you either relax your hair or you don’t! There is NO in between.

Lala
Lala
10 years ago

Low lye is like being a little bit pregnant…

Kels
Kels
10 years ago

I absolutely think that the relaxer companies are feeling the burn, pun intended, of the natural movement on their bottom line. I know two women who are transitioning that I never thought would go natural. They were the type running to the salon every two weeks to get their hair done and ever 5 weeks to get a relaxer! They had total fear of their new growth. But they’ve been watching natural hair videos on youtube and this has changed their outlook. They now know they hair is beautiful, and want to wear their natural hair. I see it all… Read more »

NinaG
NinaG
10 years ago

SMDH a relaxer w/ shea butter??? All of these companies adding shea butter to make their products appear more natural is just getting out of hand!

Tahli
Tahli
10 years ago

from no-lye to lo-lye

Nedra
10 years ago

They’re probably noticing how many women are deciding to go natural due to the long term effects of relaxer usage (for some, not all), so they’re using natural hair as a ploy to front their products.

Ebony
Ebony
10 years ago

Meh I would have to see this relaxer up against a traditional one to know if its really any different. It’s just like the texturizes pretending that you only get a partial relaxer when in reality its a full blown relaxer. Companies will always try to get you to think they’re offering you something that will keep your hair healthy and natural. It’s whether you choose to fall for it. I bet in a month you’ll hear women complaining about this product because it broke their hair all off. Relaxers are relaxers. They’re not good for your hair period point blank.

honeybrown1976
honeybrown1976
10 years ago

Relaxers are not selling as good as they used to. These companies realize that black women are using options for their hair. Relaxers are no longer THE option.

More so, the claim to retain the thickness and fullness of natural hair is a blatant lie.

Sam
Sam
10 years ago

My only fear is that we will make a full circle again. After people go back to natural they will end up relaxed again. Please don’t go back to the creamy crack!

TashaB
10 years ago

Her hair still didn’t look thick and full, it was just curled. lol

Yoshi3329
10 years ago

That’s what they call thick? Please, that’s not thick at all, nor does it have any texture. Keeping trying relaxer companies, *scoff* Shea butter, no you didn’t…

copelli
copelli
10 years ago

“…gaining traction in the black community..” There is something sad about that statement and the fact that white people seem to be more readily accepting of our “natural” hair than we are. If you look on tv…it’s not relaxed hair that you see on black women especially.…I don’t even have to look hard to see natural black hair on mainstream media.…it’s everywhere. And I am talking funky fros, curly fros, spirally curls on brown-skinned women! It seems to be the new preference.…and maybe it’s the exotic of the other. It just seems that white folks have less of a problem with our… Read more »

Jc
Jc
10 years ago

No, I think that the relaxer is designed to appeal to people who really want to go natural but haven’t yet reached the turning point. People who feel the relaxer is damaging but have not yet quite got to the natural hair is ok mindset.

Also, I would love to see some scientific back up to the claim that the relaxer actually would keep in more texture.….…..pretty sure anyone with half a pea for a brain knows that if you leave any relaxer in for a shorter time = more texture.

artsy282
artsy282
10 years ago

Low Lye is still a LIE!!! period end of discussion. I just don’t see how you can have healthy hair with relaxers. Eventually over time they will eat away at the keratin and protein that your hair is made of.

Jc
Jc
10 years ago

lol Lala that is a funny comment.….a little bit pregnant

Krista Elle
10 years ago

This is complete foolishness!! No-lye is a LIE! And it cracks me up that they try to spice it up and trick you by adding shea butter. I’m 99% sure that it’s refined shea butter, so it has no nutrients for your hair anyway! A no-lye relaxer with shea butter is like taking Drain‑O and adding some shea butter. A mess, smh.…

Jojo
Jojo
10 years ago

I honestly think that they are just trying to sell a product. I don’t think it has anything to do with natural hair being beautiful or more desirable, or more noticed. I’m not saying it is not. i am natural and i love it. “i like the thickness of natural hair”…emmm then maybe keep it natural??? gosh. This is nonsense.
Although i must sa
y, if relaxer companies are starting new “more natural” products, it must mean that the natural hair community is threatening their businesses. Good stuff.

lafemmenoir
lafemmenoir
10 years ago

While watching the commercial I think that I threw up in my mouth a little bit. The whole point to not relaxing is not relaxing. You know, chemical-free.… A no-lye relaxer is still a harsh chemical application. This will only cause confusion.

v.c.
v.c.
10 years ago

I saw a Dr. Miracle ad recently and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so ridiculous and just awful! Why is the woman shouting “I WANT MY HAIR TO GROW!!”? I just couldn’t stop laughing lol. As for a relaxer retaining the thickness of natural hair, we all know its bullocks, but if that is what it takes for people who wear relaxers to buy their product, then so be it, it may get more people to buy their product. It’s obviously misleading and downright lying, but it’s up to the buyer to do their research before purchasing a product.… Read more »

Ruth
Ruth
10 years ago

It’s just a marketing strategy. I doubt that this relaxer is any different than the others. However, I do find it interesting that they are trying to cater to the needs of women who want fuller hair.

Leo the Yardie Chick
Leo the Yardie Chick
10 years ago

Sounds like a texlaxer kit to me.What I want DE to do is hurry up with their promised natural-hair line of products (as I’ve giving THIS right here a side eye). I need to see the ingredient lists before I pay for it.

LBell
LBell
10 years ago

Jc, you said exactly what I was thinking: ANY relaxer that’s left in for a shorter amount of time and/or not smoothed/combed through usually will allow the hair to retain enough of its texture to stay full. The problem has always been this obsessive need to get rid of the naps by any means necessary…hence all these heads of super-thin relaxed hair walking around AND the grief involved in transitioning. I WILL give them credit for trying a new angle…but I too will be interested in seeing how well this works for folks. Also: 1) If that’s what they’re calling thick… Read more »

b.
b.
10 years ago

I was on another blog and watched an Afro Sheen commercial. I watched a few more and saw one for blowout kits. Now, since I’m only 30 yrs old I thought those kits were designed for use with a blow dryer, with some conditioner in the box or something. After an online search, I learned that wasn’t the case. http://hair.afroglitzmag.com/afro-sheen-blow-out-kit-a-texturizer/

So…I’ve said all that to say that maybe what is old is new again.

Yonna
Yonna
10 years ago

SHEA BUTTER is the new natural…because shea butter is in this product, its healthier than the others…(severe side eye, and a SMCH to go with it!)

I just don’t get it! She pulls the big, straight barrels curls from over her shoulders (marketing ploy there folks…makes you think you can have Longer, More Beautiful Hair), and we are upposed to be impressed. I wonder what target market they tested this on…

and then I wonder what area you have to live in to be in someones target market, because no matter where I move to, I am never in that area…

aJwitaFrO
10 years ago

First off, I liked this article, it was interesting. What I get from this ad is that a lot more black women are wanting to keep all of the good qualities of natural hair without going completely natural and dealing with some of the struggles as well (lets not pretend it’s all g all the time lol). I think most black women still aren’t ready for a 100% natural look especially if they like having straight hair. However, having “thicker” hair is generally attributed to natural hair. I think a lot of black women are wanting like a “customized” natural… Read more »

deezee
deezee
10 years ago

Goodness… Vonnie said it for me. I agree with her 500%. Thanks.

Andrea T
Andrea T
10 years ago

Just to chime in, as some already have, a light relaxer can leave your hair with a lot of its fullness, but the real problem is that too many stylists and clients are obsessed with the pin straight look. I had my hair lightly relaxed (as in left on for a few minutes), and then had the misfortune of going to a stylist who decided that the waves and fullness were a big problem (I still remember her shaking her had and saying, oh, no this won’t work at all). I told her to leave it as it was, and… Read more »

Cygnet
10 years ago

First, the only way to have thick, straight hair if you don’t already have it growing out of your head is to fake it. Period. End of discussion. NO relaxer is going to do that for you; the only way I can think that they would even be able to fake it is by creating a formula that somehow permanently adheres to the hair or leaves something on the hair that causes the appearance of thickness. If that’s not the case, and if your hair is fine to begin with, it will be fine and relaxed after use of this… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
10 years ago

A relaxer is a relaxer is a relaxer. I don’t care if you call it natural, no-lye, all-lye, texturizer or texlax. This company just latched onto what they see as a fad or a ‘buzzword’ and are trying to make money off of it.

beadgyrl
beadgyrl
10 years ago

I agree with many of you ladies above. This is complete foolishness, and it’s just a mind game this company is playing to black women. They know most will do anything to have long, flowing, bone straight hair, so they appeal by these types of ads, (‘natural’, ‘shea butter’, etc). I am glad that their sales are dropping, it just goes to show these companies are becoming more desperate. I hope I live to see one day when they are ALL out of business. But then the problem comes when they will continue to try and market natural products and… Read more »

She
She
10 years ago

Low lye is like being a little bit pregnant…”

-Lala

This made me laugh.

kellie
kellie
10 years ago

Um, Design Essentials is just another relaxer, and a bad one. My old hairdresser two years ago used to use this exact same relaxer on my hair. It looked okay, but it’s not that healthy, and the effects the same as any old relaxer. Hair broke off. Is natural today.

kellie
kellie
10 years ago

btw, in the video — it looked like a weave.

Jojo
Jojo
10 years ago

i promise, they’ll love you for it”. Really?

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

It doesn’t matter. Once you get a relaxer, you can’t undo it. It’s more permanent than a tattoo.

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

P.S. Yes natural hair will grow, but I mean once you relax your hair, you can’t “unrelax” it.

Betty Chambers
10 years ago

I don’t feel the issue is necessarily straight or textured hair. I think it’s the hairstyles women want to wear. Not everyone likes twists, braids, braid outs, etc. When a natural head wants the kind of style shown in the video, I think the safest bet is to buy a wig(s). Stay away from weaves and relaxers. Wear cornrows or plaits under the wig. When your hair gets long enough, you can slick the hair back into a wonderful bun, and it can look relatively straight. It can take a long time to figure out how to style and take… Read more »

J
J
10 years ago

The girl on the commercial is wearing a weave, so Design Essentials shouldn’t try to convince us the consumers that our hair will turn out like hers.

Knotty Natural
6 years ago
Reply to  J

I’ve noticed that a lot of women in advertisements for hair care lines are wearing a wig of some sort…I don’t trust any of them!

Transitioning Again....
Transitioning Again....
10 years ago

Low Lye = Still a LYE! Lol

Leo the Yardie Chick
Leo the Yardie Chick
10 years ago

@ J — That’s the same thing I thought! Most of not all the women in the hair commercials wear either weaves or wigs. Here’s hoping more consumers have grown savvy to these advertising tactics.

Shame on you, DE. Shame on you.

binks
binks
10 years ago

I agree with aJwitaFrO and CashmereCurls I don’t think it is a nod to the natural hair community per se or that these companies are threaten by the change of a lot of women going from relax to natural because despite this the majority of black women are still relaxed. But I think a BIG part comes from that their are plenty of ways to achieve the “straight” look without using relaxers to achieve certain styles without the damaging effects. I think relaxers are starting to fall by the way side with new products, tools, and technique to help give… Read more »

Hipnotik
Hipnotik
9 years ago

My Stylist gave be that relaxer. I love it. I can wet my hair and it reverts back to its natural state. I retained my fullness and thickness. Perhaps it depends on your hair type. Mine is 4a/4b hair.

Knotty Natural
6 years ago

What do you think it means that a relaxer company is giving a nod to natural hair?
–It means they are trying to recover the money they lost due to declining sales in relaxers
Is it a sign that natural hair is becoming more desirable and gaining traction in the black community?
‑No, it is a sign that they are trying to recover the money they lost due to declining sales in relaxers

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