A lot of ladies go to get their hair relaxed without actually knowing what they should be watching out for, there are also some ladies who relax their hair themselves and do not do so properly – hence this post. Please note that there are certain precautions to take before actually relaxing your hair and I have covered that in a previous post here. For how to relax your hair properly please keep reading:
Base your scalp (optional): It is important that you base your scalp to prevent the relaxer from accidentally getting on your scalp. You can use a heavy butter to do this or a light oil, it really just depends on what works for you. I now use a light oil on my scalp because using a butter left my hair slightly under processed. Separate and part each section of your hair until the entire scalp is covered with the oil or butter. I however have to state that basing your scalp is an optional step.
Protect the perimeter around your head: It is very important that you apply some petroleum jelly or the protective jelly that comes with box relaxers on your hairline, nape, top of the ears and edges to prevent any chemical damage when relaxing your hair.
Protect your previously relaxed hair (optional): This step is optional but it is for those who want to properly protect their hair. Apply a heavy cream, conditioner or light oil to your previously relaxed hair to protect the hair better and to stop any relaxer that might actually get onto the hair from fully penetrating the hair shaft. I now mostly just use an oil on my previously relaxed hair.
Apply the relaxer: Divide hair into four or more sections, you can use some clips to hold the sections in place. Make thin parts and apply the relaxer to the new growth only using a relaxer brush (sprush), wooden spatula that comes with box relaxers or the back of a small comb. This is where a lot of people make mistakes because most hairstylists apply the relaxer over the entire hair including hair that is already relaxed. Please note that it is very important to only relax the new growth or you will end up with hair that is severely over processed which will eventually lead to acute breakage. I therefore need to stress again – Never relax hair that has been previously relaxed. The exception to this rule however will be in a case where some parts of your hair are under processed (in this instance you may apply relaxer to previously relaxed hair) this is known as a corrective relaxer or when relaxing natural hair for the first time. Make sure that in applying the relaxer it does not get on your scalp, as a relaxer is meant to be applied on the hair alone. Continue applying the relaxer section by section and so forth until everything is done. After you have applied the relaxer to the four sections of hair, reapply and gently work the relaxer through the sections of hair.
You may choose to very gently comb through each section of new growth at this point to ensure that the hair is properly relaxed, please note that this step is completely optional. The texture of your hair will determine how long you can leave the relaxer on. You may refer to the product instructions for more details.
Rinse relaxer off with warm/lukewarm water: Next rinse your hair with warm/lukewarm water ensuring that you remove all visible traces of the relaxer.
Wash the hair with a neutralizing shampoo: The next step is to use a neutralizing shampoo to wash your hair, an example of a neutralizing shampoo which is easily available is the Organic Root Stimulator Creamy Aloe Shampoo. It is important that you use no other sort of shampoo except one which will actually neutralize the harsh effects of the relaxer. Leave the neutralizing shampoo on the hair for five minutes at a time without rinsing off to ensure that the hair is completely neutralized and the relaxer process is stopped. Repeat the wash at least twice or thrice making sure that the shampoo is left on the hair for at least five minutes each time. This is also one of the important steps in the relaxer process and one where a lot of people make mistakes. Hair breakage, and damage are some of the consequences of not leaving the neutralizing shampoo in for long enough, a colour indicating neutralizing shampoo will also help in this regard.
Mid step Protein Treatment (Optional): Since this is a hair blog it is important that I indicate every method out there. This is an optional method I used in the past when I relaxed my own hair myself. In my opinion I do not think this process makes any real difference to the hair but it is an excellent method to try out if you want to. After rinsing the hair thoroughly, you can do a mid step protein treatment (by applying a protein conditioner) to strengthen the hair after the relaxer process and before the neutralizing stage. Please note that to do this treatment you should leave the protein conditioner for no longer than two – five minutes so that your hair does not become damaged. A good conditioner to use in this instance is the Aphogee 2minute Reconstructor. Apply the conditioner throughout your hair, cover with a plastic cap for about 2 minutes, rinse and follow the step above by using a neutralizing shampoo to wash the rest of the relaxer off.
Deep conditioning treatment: It is important you use a deep conditioner(s) with both protein and moisture. I usually just mix a protein and moisturising conditioner together however you might want to do a protein deep condition first and then follow up with a moisture conditioner. Ensure that the deep conditioner is applied to all parts of your hair, leave on hair for the amount of time desired and then rinse.
You can use a neutralizing shampoo again on your next wash day following the relaxer treatment to be sure that any trace of relaxer is washed off the hair. Please be sure to wait at least six to eight weeks before your next relaxer treatment; however it is recommended that you stretch your relaxer to at least eight weeks.
Hope this post has been beneficial, kindly leave any comments or questions you might have and I will gladly respond.
When it was dark, you always carried the sun in your hand for me – Sean O’Casey, Three More Plays: The Sliver Tassie, Purple Dust, Red Roses for me