Some women with natural hair across the country have been the victims of a secret hair cocktail, a damaging mix of conditioner and perm relaxer.

An anonymous junior stylist on longhaircareforum shares hair horror stories about salons taking the easy route to get their clients hair straight.

The details from CurlyNikki:

First story: A client used to get Dominican blowouts. She was short on time and just stuck with a rollerset. She’s a solid 4b. When I saw her she had broken pieces at her scalp and her hair was straightish/curlyish and not quite 4 anymore. She said the minute they rinsed the deep treatment out, her hair was no longer it’s texture. After the rollerset she said her hair just went downhill.

Second story: A client’s hair was originally shoulder length. When I met her I assumed she had recently BC’d and still had relaxed ends. She informed me that she’s been natural for years and that she’s only been getting it pressed. But on the last press her hair was sleeker and shinier than usual. She said her stylist mixed something but she wasn’t paying attention and since she didn’t smell anything, she didn’t think anything was up. She did say that she got a 15 minute deep condition with whatever was mixed. After it was all said and done, her hair gradually broke off and she now has only 2 inches of hair.

This stylist warns if you’re using a new stylist and she starts complaining about the thickness or texture of your hair, check her secret hair mix, it could be the disguised conditioner/perm cocktail.

These stories might come off like urban hair legends or perhaps, you’ve heard of this before, but those of us in love with our strands can never be too careful.

To prevent your hair from becoming the next victim of this disguised cocktail, DO NOT be afraid to ask a new stylist or salon the right questions:

1. Check references: Before making an appointment, ask about her experience. How many years has she been styling?

2. Investigate while you wait: While you’re waiting to get in the chair, ask other clients about the stylist you’re using. Are they happy with the stylist’s services?

3. No secret bottles or bowls: Ask the salon manager and wash girl what products they’re using. Double check them yourself. Remember, no secret mixes. Question all contents!

4. Peep the digs: You don’t have to attend an upscale salon. Every shop of beauty should be clean and presentable. If you notice piles of dirty towels, unswept floors, nasty sinks or finally, a stinky bathroom, find the exit!

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  • Mimi

    I fell victim to this sort of thing about a year ago. I returned to keeping my natural hair about seven years ago after I realized that relaxers provoked severe allergic reaction on my scalp.Most folks experience small burns on areas of their scalp after relaxer usage, I would have almost the entire area of my scalp burnt no matter how mild the formula or how briefly it remained on my head. So imagine my fury when I had a trainee stylist apply relaxer to my hair in the guise of deep conditioner after making disagreeable remarks on my hair’s texture under her breath. I chose to ignore her rudeness but to my horror, within minutes of the application of the “conditioner”, I was burning. I had gone in for a deep condition and weave. I came out with severe 2nd degree burns to the crown of my head which she tried to cover with an incompletely applied weave. I had paid prior to the “services” so I had to call my card company to have the charges reversed (this is why you keep one active credit card open,folks). It took me about three months to see regrowth in the area. It was as bald as the palm of your hand in an area approximately as wide as the base of a soda can. As it was I had to cut off years’ worth of growth to remove the remaining broken and damaged hair from my head. I bought two wigs to cover my head in the winter months. I then had another stylist take photos a month after the incident and no one who sees the pics can suppress the gasp of horror at the sight of the startling bald spot smack in the center of my head. I am pretty much recovered now but I still feel furious at the “stylist” and her (ha-ha-ha) trainer. I hope they try it again, with the kind of woman who will slap the tar outta anyone who jacks up her ‘do. It will happen soon…
    I just feel angry that someone felt it was okay to hurt me and then catch an attitude after I ‘d been injured. I have every right to expect you as a professional to respect my desire to eschew chemical processing. If you do not know how to handle my texture, simply admit it before touching me, in a respectful and courteous manner. Do not call me names and do not sneak chemicals onto my head for your own convenience. If you can’t work out a way to handle different hair textures presented to you, then you ought not to call yourself a stylist. This is why I went in for twists to coax the new hair to grow and then finally segued into locs about two months ago.

  • Elise J. Hughes

    Your so great writer on field of Hair styling.
    I’ve to just frequently visit your site to get update topic about hair product. Because I was…Hair Products
    Everything depends on experienced person & products for hair style.

    Thanks for your valuable info.

  • MrsC

    Just found, when washing out what I thought was a blow-dry and style of my 7 year olds hair, that not only was relaxer used, but left in her hair. The whole house smelled of burnt hair and her once healthy natural hair is bone straight in random places, even when wet, and has a small patch that has broken off to the scalp. I am heart broken and am wondering about how I should handle this. I of course want to go after the salon, but more importantly, I need to know what I should do for her hair. More than anything I wanted to give her a healthy head of natural hair to begin her teen years, not many girls have that these days and we’ve worked so hard at it to be stolen by some scandalous hair dresser looking to make her job a little easier.

    Where do I go from here?


  • My issue lies with the problem that stylists are incompetent and some even think that relaxers are “healthy” for the hair and would even equivocate it to a deep conditioner… SMH

  • Jasmine

    Ladies, I know a mom who has daughters and she considers her daughters as having natural hair. She mixes relaxer inside of her daughters conditioner and claims it makes their hair moisturized and softer. She neutralizes afterwards. Her daughters have very long curly hair. I actually don’t see anything wrong with mixing conditioner and relaxer.

    The problem is these stylists are slipping relaxer into the hair without permission and to avoid getting caught they are not neutralizing the relaxer. And on top of not neutralizing the relaxer they are adding heat to the hair. That’s like flat ironing a relaxer into someones hair.