Design Essentials brand has reformulated all of their relaxer systems. Pictured is the Honey Nectar Time Release Regular strength. I began offering this Time Release version in March 2011. I did not want to do an immediate review of the product until I had used it repeatedly. I have learned over the years that first time success with a product does not reflect if it is a "keeper" or not. I have enough clients on this relaxer and have repeatedly gotten positive enough results to say that I plan to keep this relaxer around.
1) This sodium hydroxide relaxer is great for those with sensitive scalps and extra-kinky hair that want a straighter result than what the Paul Mitchell Super strength relaxer gives. (Please see my separate articles on Paul Mitchell relaxers.)
2) The sodium hydroxide(lye) is buffered so that there is a delay in straightening the hair. This delay gives the stylist more time to part through kinky curly new growth without popping the hair.
3) The Design Essentials Honey Nectar Time Release relaxer is still considered a regular strength relaxer so if straightness is what you want, then it will get you there eventually. It does permananently soften the hair (i.e. little to no reversion in high humidity) if you process it long enough.
4)It is still a regular strength relaxer so if you are color-treated (i.e. demi-permanent or permanent color) then you should not use anyone's regular strength relaxer. Design Essentials does not really offer a mild strength relaxer. Please consider Fiberguard Affirm relaxer system for color treated hair. Please see my separate article on this brand. If you are color treated and sensitive scalp, then I still do not have a definite relaxer recommendation yet. Sorry. Please consider discontinuing the color services or go to a "one-step, squeeze bottle, semi-permanent" color for less resistant gray hair.
5)Remember: There is a delay in this relaxer processing so I would make sure that your hairline gets the relaxer by the halfway mark as far as your timing is concerned. If you apply the relaxer to the hairline last, then the relaxer may not stay on long enough to straighten all the way. Again, this concern is for those who have overcurly, hard to part, kinky, Type 4 curl pattern new growth. If you are just a Type 3 curly pattern, but have a sensitive scalp, then apply relaxer to new growth as you normally do as quickly as you can with hairline last. Then smooth.
6) Because this relaxer is regular strength, I recommend roller set services in lieu of blow-dry services. Also, I recommend a seven to ten week wait between relaxer touch-ups. Also, please use a curling iron versus a flat iron if you decide to do any heat styling at home.
8/1/11 UPDATE: 7) I question the tensile strength of the hair after using the Design Essentials Time Release relaxer. It reminds me of the Phytospecific relaxer results. I just tried the Chi Deep Brilliance relaxer and loved it. I could immediately tell that the hair was overall stronger in tensile strength with the Chi relaxer; however, straightness and scalp sensitivity - I am still evaluating. I need a few more months. I wrote a brief article on the Chi relaxer. I will further update it as I use it more.
NOTE: According to the MSDS sheet that I found online, I believe the sodium hydroxide percentage of the Design Essential Time Release relaxer is at 2.2 which is the same as their regular strength relaxer. I attempted to talk to a company representative. After about two weeks, I received a return call from the company from one of the educators (i.e. another cosmetologist), and I could tell that she was reading from a book. She seemed easily confused when I was trying to compare their different relaxers that Design Essentials offered. I wished that I could have talked to a more technical person or a chemist, but it took two or more weeks just to get "an educator" on the line. Regardless, for those not color-treated, but have a sensitive scalp and need a relaxer strong enough to straighten versus texturize - then this is it! Thank you Design Essentials!