How to Relax Your Hair at Home
Your Complete Guide to an at Home Relaxer
Many women find themselves needing to relax their hair at home but lack the knowledge of how to do it properly. This is a full guide providing you with all the information you need to make your relax day a success. All you have to do is follow all these steps and you can achieve great results without stepping foot in a salon!
Choose the Right Relaxer for your Hair
When shopping for a relaxer it is extremely imperative that you purchase the correct one. Using the wrong type relaxer can lead to chemical burns on your scalp or even hair loss. These are the things you need to consider any time you are purchasing a relaxer.
- Make sure the relaxer you choose has everything you need. A good relaxer must include: a cream relaxer, activator, a neutralizing shampoo, a conditioner, gloves, and a mixing stick.
- Determine what strength relaxer you will need. You have the choice between normal strength, medium, and super.
- Always opt for a no lye relaxer. Lye is a high pH chemical that can be pretty corrosive on your skin. This being said, it has the potential to be very damaging on your scalp. This is not good news considering the fact that in order to have healthy hair, you need a healthy scalp. If the lye damages your hair follicles, you risk killing that follicle. When a follicle dies, it doesn't come back so this can lead to some serious thinning. Some people swear by lye relaxers, but its just not worth the risks that come along with it.
Gather your Essentials
When you are relaxing your hair by your self, you need to have everything at your disposal in one place. You will need.
- Your relaxer kit
- Bobby pins or duckbilled clips
- Application brush
- Extra shampoo
- A deep conditioner
Prep for the Application Process
- Put on an old tee shirt to avoid damaging your nice stuff! You will also need to remove any earrings, bracelets, or rings. This is because the chemicals in the relaxer reacts when it comes in contact with certain metal. Therefore to avoid permanent damage to your jewels, set them aside until you are done with your relaxer.
- Separate your hair in four sections and thoroughly detangle each section. Using your bobby pins or duckbill clips, secure each section. Failure to detangle can leave you with a lot of breakage when you finally do comb your hair after washing the relaxer. Not to mention it will cause you to take up too much time during the application process. Timing is crucial when relaxing, so do everything in your power to follow the timing guide provided on the leaflet that comes along with the relaxer kit.
- Apply Vaseline to your edges, and your scalp for protection from chemical burns.
- Put gloves on both hands for protection your hands from chemical burns as well.
- Pour the activator into the cream relaxer and mix with the mixing stick provided in your relaxer kit. Be certain to mix thoroughly, leaving no lumps behind. failure to do so will result in an increased chance of chemical burns to the scalp.
- Avoid scratching your scalp prior to relaxing. This will leave tiny lesions on your scalp, increasing the chances of bald spots from chemical burns.
- Before you start applying the relaxer, set your timer to 8 minutes (for normal textured hair) for the application process. Be sure not to exceed minutes for your application. You must work quickly to avoid the risk of chemical burns to your scalp.
- Starting from the back of your hair, take down section of your hair. Part a smaller section (at least an inch thick) and apply a small amount of relaxer to both sides of the section using and application brush. Be certain to smooth using the brush as you go. If you are doing a touch up, be certain to only apply on your new growth. Never pass the line of demarcation (line between your natural hair and relaxed hair), to avoid risking breakage from over processing your previously relaxed hair. However if you are relaxing from the first time, apply the relaxer from root to tip.
- Once you have completed one section, do the same for the rest of the sections until you have completed your whole head. It is best to start from the two back sections and work your way up the two front sections. This is just because the baby hairs on your edges are more fragile the rest of your head.
- After applying relaxer to all of your hair, the next step is to smooth the relaxer into the hair. Using the back of a comb smooth down the relaxer to ensure that all the new growth is saturated with the relaxer. The smoothing process should not exceed 10 minutes.
- Rinse the relaxer out thoroughly before applying any shampoo.
- Apply the neutralizing shampoo and lather throughout all your hair. Let sit for 2-3 minutes to neutralize then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Repeat this step until all traces of the relaxer are gone.
- Some neutralizing shampoos will stay pink when there are still traces of relaxer left, and turn white when all the relaxer has been rinsed out completely. All in all, it usually takes 5 to 6 washes for the relaxer to be thoroughly washed out of the hair. It is always better to be safe than sorry in this case. Leaving traces of relaxer in your hair will cause severe damage. This is because the relaxer will continue to process your hair, leading to over processing which will in turn cause horrific damage to your hair. This is why you should always use neutralizing shampoo when washing out your relaxer. Using any other shampoo will not neutralize your hair, causing over processing. Women that do not use neutralizing shampoos when washing out a relaxer will always complain about the lack of length retention. So be careful ladies!
- The relaxing process essentially weakens your hair. Therefore, restoring strength and moisture is key to repairing any damage. Deep conditioning overnight will not only restore the strength of your hair. but it will restore moisture as well. If your hair is not protein sensitive, it is best to use a protein rich conditioner after a relaxer. This will ensure that your hair retains it's strength and elasticity which is imperative to hair growth.
- Mix the oil of your choice with your deep conditioner for added benefits. You can choose to use grape seed oil, castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or Shea oil. Each oil has it's own unique benefits, so feel free to explore them and choose the oil that best fits your needs.
- Once you have mixed your conditioner, apply it to your hair from root to tip. Then cover with two plastic caps to prevent leakage on your pillowcase. The heat from your head will allow the conditioner to work better overnight.
- In the morning, wash the conditioner thoroughly and detangle your hair with a wide tooth comb. Then allow for your hair to air dry and style as desired.