How to apply a hair relaxer

How to apply a hair relaxer

Hair relaxers are made to straighten hair for four to six weeks. Touch-up relaxers are usually used every three to four weeks to straighten new hair as it grows from the scalp. If you go any longer than this time without relaxing your hair, you will have to use the relaxer as directed for the full head application. Touch-up relaxers can be found in small kits at some beauty supply stores, or you can buy a full crème relaxer kit and use it in the same manner as the touch-up kit.

Prepare Your Hair

Apply hair dressing or hair grease to the skin around your hairline and all the way around your head, including the tips of your ears. If your cream relaxer kit comes with hair protectant dressing, use it as directed after applying the hair grease or dressing.

Section the hair into four parts (two pigtails in the front, two in the back). Clip each of these sections with hair clips.

Remove one clip from the back and section the hair horizontally. The section should start about one inch above the neckline. Clip the remaining hair up. Put on gloves and wrap the towel around your neck and shoulders to protect your skin from the chemicals in the relaxers.

Apply the Touch-Up Relaxer

Apply the relaxer to the root of the hair; do not apply the relaxer to the ends. The relaxer should extend about halfway down each section of hair so that all the roots are covered. When you’ve finished with this section, part another section of hair from the same clipped area. Make sure that each part is about two to three inches from the last. Apply the relaxer until every clipped area is covered. This should take no longer than 10 minutes.

With both hands, smooth the hair as if you are brushing it up into a ponytail for about five minutes. Make sure you follow the instruction manual’s time guidelines for how long the relaxer should stay in your hair.

When the relaxer has been in your hair for the allotted time, use the neutralizing shampoo to wash the relaxer out, being careful not to get it in your eyes, mouth or ears. If the shampoo is a color-signaled neutralizing shampoo, wash until the lather is white and no longer pink.

It’s highly recommended that you see a professional when you decide you want a relaxer. Relaxers offer a permanent way to straighten Black hair, but you should be as informed as possible about them before taking the plunge. Lye, no-lye, mild, strong — they’re available from many different brands and in different formulations. Know the basics to see if this chemical treatment is right for you.

Basics of Relaxing Black Hair: Before the Relaxer

What will a good stylist do during a consultation?

  • Examine your hair: A professional needs to know whether or not you currently have any chemicals in your hair, including color. Unless you’ve completely grown out a previous relaxer or color, explain when you last applied chemicals. It’s great if you can remember the brand as well.
  • Perform a strand test: This may happen after the consultation, but a strand test is always a good idea. This way, you’ll know if you’re allergic to the chemicals (before they’re placed all over your head) and get a rough idea of how your tresses will look once treated with that particular relaxer.
  • Ask your questions: Besides finding out your chemical and color history, a stylist may ask you how you prefer to wear your hair on a daily basis, how you care for it at home and the amount of time you’re willing to spend taking care of it.​

Once you make an appointment, it’s important that you don’t scratch or aggravate your scalp. Getting relaxer chemicals on open or irritated skin is sure to lead to burning. Don’t shampoo your hair for at least three to five days before you get it relaxed. On the day of your appointment, simply detangle your hair as much as you can, but without a lot of manipulation.

The Relaxing Process

Hopefully, you have an appointment with a professional who believes in being on time and taking his time with your hair. You don’t want a stylist who’s gossiping on the phone over your head or leaves for lunch in the middle of your service.

You should be draped with a clean cape and your hairline, nape and ears should be protected with some type of barrier or “base” (usually petroleum jelly). The stylist will then proceed to apply the relaxer to any hair that hasn’t previously been straightened with chemicals, or in the case of a “virgin” head of hair, all over to the ends. This is done small sections at a time. A relaxer should be smoothed down with the hands, but not combed through.

If your scalp begins to burn at any point during the application, tell the stylist! Don’t sit and suffer in silence because you want your hair bone straight. Stinging and burning lead to pain and scabbing.

Another serious issue that causes so many of the problems with Black hair today is that relaxers are left on the hair too long. This is especially true for chemicals applied at home. There’s a reason for that recommended time frame; ignore it and you run the risk of damage and hair loss. A stylist should work quickly to apply the relaxer on the hair and spend just as much time during the smoothing process.

After the Relaxer

After the time frame is up, your hair is rinsed with warm water. All of the relaxer must be rinsed away. This is followed by a neutralizing shampoo. You must use a neutralizer to stop the chemical action; otherwise, the relaxer continues to work on your hair. This can lead to hair damage, breakage, hair loss and serious scalp damage.

Your stylist should then apply a conditioner or deep conditioner. After this, your hair can be wet set on rollers or blow-dried straight and bumped with a flat iron. Enjoy your new straight locks!

Vigorol Liquid Hair Straightener is a lye-free hair-straightening product. The active ingredients include water, ammonium lauryl sulphate, ammonium thioglycolate and ammonium hydroxide. Perfumes and dyes make up the rest of the ingredients. The product is designed to be applied to hair, left on for a short amount of time, and then combed out. It is not recommended for use on damaged, bleached or color-treated hair.

Shampoo hair, if necessary, before applying the straightening liquid. If you prefer you may simply wet your hair under running water before applying Vigorol Liquid Straightener.

Pour 2 oz. of the product into the palm of your hand. It is important that you use enough of the product to cover your hair from scalp to ends. You may adjust the amount for very long hair, or very short hair. Make sure to use enough of the product to provide complete hair coverage.

Work Vigorol Liquid Hair Straightener into your hair, as if your were shampooing it.

Leave the product on your hair for at least 10 minutes. If you have fine hair or hair that straightens easily, the maximum time you should leave the product on is 15 minutes. If your hair is medium to thick textured, or if you have had difficulty straightening in the past, leave the product on for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not leave Vigorol Liquid Hair Straightener on your hair for longer than 30 minutes.

Comb the product out. Use a fine-toothed comb to remove the product from your hair. Do not rinse, as this may counteract the desired effect of the product.


Do not use Vigorol Liquid Hair Straightener if you have a sensitive scalp or sensitive skin. It can irritate skin and scalp areas. If skin irritation does occur, immediately wash the product out using shampoo. Use caution when applying this product. Avoid contact with eyes. This product can be harmful if ingested. Keep out of reach of children.

I just joined this site and I have been going back and forth on how I want to start saving my hair. I usually use Dark and Lovely relaxers but I’m going to try a lye relaxer for the first time in a couple of weeks because I’m think I’m going to start texlaxing or at least do a relaxer with a bit more body to it.
I just don’t know how to do a lye relaxer. I’m used to boxes with everything in there and after reading here it seems lye relaxers don’t come like that. This what I’ve come up with that I’ll need:
A base – still not sure exactly what its for
The relaxer – I’m going to try Mizani
A neutralizer – Not sure about this or what brands to get.

I need to know what supplies I’ll need and the process for applying this goes. Thanks for your help.


Well-Known Member
  • Nov 26, 2007
  • #2

I just joined this site and I have been going back and forth on how I want to start saving my hair. I usually use Dark and Lovely relaxers but I’m going to try a lye relaxer for the first time in a couple of weeks because I’m think I’m going to start texlaxing or at least do a relaxer with a bit more body to it.
I just don’t know how to do a lye relaxer. I’m used to boxes with everything in there and after reading here it seems lye relaxers don’t come like that. This what I’ve come up with that I’ll need:
A base – still not sure exactly what its for
The relaxer – I’m going to try Mizani
A neutralizer – Not sure about this or what brands to get.

I need to know what supplies I’ll need and the process for applying this goes. Thanks for your help.

To be totally honest I think you should go to a stylist. Overlapping no-lye and lye can be real bad from what I’ve read and although lye is supposed to be better for your hair, it is worse for your scalp and the chemicals mixing can cause you to lose hair unnecessarily. Get a second opinion and do what you think is best. Good luck.


New Member
  • Nov 26, 2007
  • #3


Well-Known Member
  • Nov 26, 2007
  • #4

You could look in the Sticky Thread to find the Newbie’s Guide to Starting Out. But, if you’re not overwhelmed by self relaxing when using a boxed kit, you could try Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Relaxer – No Lye. This kit doesn’t include a base you still have to base your scalp (apply grease, light oil to scalp in order to prevent burns).

WARNING: Before you touch your scalp with relaxer make sure to browse this thread below and search for other self relax threads. Also, practice with conditioner a week or more before you relax to master the techniques.


New Member
  • Nov 26, 2007
  • #5

You could look in the Sticky Thread to find the Newbie’s Guide to Starting Out. But, if you’re not overwhelmed by self relaxing when using a boxed kit, you could try Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Relaxer – No Lye. This kit doesn’t include a base you still have to base your scalp (apply grease, light oil to scalp in order to prevent burns).

WARNING: Before you touch your scalp with relaxer make sure to browse this thread below and search for other self relax threads. Also, practice with conditioner a week or more before you relax to master the techniques.


New Member
  • Nov 28, 2007
  • #6
Well-Known Member
  • Nov 28, 2007
  • #7

My Mizani is no-lye for sensitive scalp. Be certain first that your lye relaxer is actually a lye relaxer. I’ve been using this for a year with no problems, but my container says “no-lye”.

When I had lye relaxer applied before going natural, the stylist would mix the relaxer and base my scalp and then apply the relaxer, smooth, rinse, neutralize and condition. It’s the same process, just a higher chance of burning because there is nothing to “cut” the lye relaxer.

By the way, to my knowledge, “no-lye” still has “lye” in it, just a smaller amount.


Active Member
  • Nov 28, 2007
  • #8

I think you should be ok since you have been relaxing for years.

BASE- vaseline, section your hair few days before and apply vaseline all over you scalp. some people apply conditioner and/or oil to previously relaxed hair the day before. On day of application apply base around the hair line. Helps protect scalp fron burns

RELAXER- apply relaxer to unrelaxed hair,as you do with no lye. You are more likely to burn with lye, so be fast with application. Also try and do a strand test prior to determine application time since you dont want to be bone straight just smoothing once and get in shower and rinse.
Just to add you can add tablespoon of oil to relaxer- it will buy you time when relaxing so you dont get overprocessed easily.

OPTIONAL MID RELAXER CONDITIONING- after rinse, apply a reconstructor to hair and leave for 5 min, then rinse. products you can use is aphogee 2 min, affirm 5 in 1, affirm positive link. others may key in.

NEUTRALISING POO- I like ors creamy aloe/ salon size neutralising poo (same ingredients in both). You want to neutralise and rinse several times, then you apply the poo and leave on for 3 min before rinse.

FINALLY deep condition with moisturising condition for 15-30 min
style as usual.

YOU want to do a protein tx a week before relaxer, dont scratch the scalp- all the usual.

I will be making a switch to lye in december as well but have been self relaxing for the last 10yrs, so am confident this should be ok, i have also used lye in the past ( no problem), this was before i ventured into no-lye.

Hair relaxer is a type of chemical used to straighten hair permanently. It’s used by people, usually women, who want to straighten their naturally curly hair without having to use hot combs or pressing irons. It may also be used by women who are seeking a means of thinning out hair that is very thick or making it more manageable. Chemical relaxers, which either contain lye or a no-lye chemical formula, work to soften the hair and change its natural structure to a straighter form.

Though hair relaxer is considered a permanent type of hair treatment, it does have to be touched up on a regular basis. This is because the newly straightened hair is not the only consideration. Hair grows quickly, and there will eventually be new hair growth that is in its naturally curly or coarser state. As such, it is necessary to apply hair relaxer to the new growth to make sure it matches the chemically relaxed hair. Typically, this is done every six to eight weeks.

Many women go to professional stylists in order to have their hair relaxed. However, there are many hair relaxer products that can be used at home. The process of applying relaxer involves putting a cream or lotion on the hair to be relaxed and allowing it to sit in place for a set period of time. During this period, it alters the hair’s normal structure.

Once it’s been in place for the required amount of time, it’s rinsed out, and a neutralizing shampoo is typically used afterward. A moisturizing hair conditioner is usually used following the neutralizing shampoo. This is due to the fact that the relaxer chemicals usually strip the hair of a significant portion of its natural oils. The conditioner can be used to restore moisture, balance and shine.

Sometimes, chemical hair relaxers lead to hair that is dry, brittle and prone to breakage. This typically occurs when a woman doesn’t keep her hair properly moisturized in between hair relaxer treatments; it may also occur if she fails to show up promptly for touch-ups, as the relaxed hair may begin to pull away from the stronger new growth, especially during brisk combing. Additionally, hair breakage may result when relaxers are applied not just to new growth but also to the hair that’s already been chemically relaxed during touch-ups. Most stylists know the importance of relaxing only the new growth, but sometimes people spread the chemical on the already-relaxed hair. This may occur most often when hair relaxer is applied at home.

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a BeautyAnswered writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a BeautyAnswered writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Some women love visiting the hair salon as often as possible, while others only go on special occasions. You might be trying to save money on hair care, so regular visits are out of the budget. Getting your hair relaxed can be cost-prohibitive if you’re looking to cut costs — professional services often start around $75 and go up from there, particularly if your hair is very long and/or you also get a cut or trim at the same time.

At-home relaxers can definitely save you money, but don’t risk your scalp and hair’s health by making mistakes. Above all, make sure you set aside enough time for the relaxing/touchup process. Rushing through a chemical application can lead to disaster.

These 10 tips are designed to help you achieve good results if your budget just isn’t up to a salon relaxer.

Relax “Dirty” Hair

Don’t decide to relax at the last minute, especially if you just shampooed your hair. If you know you’re due for a relaxer, avoid cleansing (this includes co-washing) for about 7-10 days before applying chemicals. You should also avoid scratching your scalp or raking over it with a comb. Any minor irritation can result in the dreaded burning once the relaxer is applied.

Have All Supplies on Hand

Most relaxer home kits tell you which supplies you’ll need, and much of what’s required comes right in the box. Take a good look at your supply list and have everything within reach. The time to have an old towel on hand to wipe up any spills is not after the spill happens. You’ll save precious time by having all the necessities nearby before you begin the process.

Do a Strand Test

This is especially important if this is your first time relaxing your hair or using a new brand of relaxer. It’s even possible to suddenly develop an allergy to a product you’ve used for years, so take the extra few moments and do a strand test before applying a relaxer all over your head. You can either snip away a small section of hair or apply the chemicals directly to a small area before using a relaxer over your entire head. It’s best to perform a strand test the day before you want to relax.

Protect Your Scalp and Skin

No-lye relaxers are often touted as being gentler on hair compared to their lye-based counterparts. Some women burn from a lye relaxer application but don’t suffer any ill effects from a no-lye product. It’s still a good idea to protect your scalp, hairline, ears, and neck from the chemicals. Some box kits contain a petroleum jelly protectant, while others don’t. If you have a jar of Vaseline handy, dab it on the listed areas, including your scalp parts, to minimize irritation.

Follow the Directions

The directions that come in a relaxer kit are there for a reason. Although it’s a simple process, it can still be dangerous, so take the time to peruse the instructions to avoid serious damage. This includes smoothing the relaxer on with fingers and not a comb, and always using a neutralizing shampoo to stop the chemical process, and wash the relaxer completely out of your hair. Also, pay attention to the recommended processing time, and avoid the temptation to leave the relaxer on past it.

Relax Small Sections

For the best results, work in small, 1/2-inch to one-inch sections of hair. Big chunks won’t relax evenly, leaving you with a less-than-desirable outcome. Using the tail end of a rattail comb to separate small partings (be careful not to scratch your scalp doing this) will net you better results.

Use a Timer

Just eyeballing the clock and estimating processing time isn’t a good idea. Either use a cheap kitchen timer, your watch alarm or the timer on your phone. Leaving a relaxer on too long not only increases the risk of overprocessing, it can be extremely damaging, sometimes permanently. Some women love a “bone straight” look and purposely leave a relaxer on far past the recommended time. This results in overprocessed locks that often lack body, elasticity and tend to fall out of hairstyles.

Rinse, Rinse, Rinse. And Repeat

Once your processing time is up, you must rinse as much of the relaxer out before using a neutralizing shampoo. Don’t worry about the water bill because you need to rinse as thoroughly as possible. This will take a minimum of several minutes. The more you rinse away before shampooing, the fewer chemicals you have to neutralize. Trying to save time by not following this step completely can lead to overprocessing, damage and possible hair loss, so it’s crucial to not rush through your rinse.

Relax Every 8-10 Weeks

Maintaining a regular relaxing schedule keeps your hairstyle uniform and doesn’t cause undue stress to your line of demarcation. Relax too often, overlapping chemicals onto already relaxed hair, and you’ll end up with damage. Go longer than 12 weeks post-touchup and you may experience more shedding and breakage than usual. Around 8-10 weeks after your previous touchup, you’ll easily see your new growth, allowing you to only apply the relaxer to this area, and not to tresses that have already been processed.

Enlist Help from a Friend

While relaxing on your own is doable, it’s always nice to have help. It can be tough to do a good job on the back of your head, even with a couple of mirrors at your disposal. You don’t want to risk damage on hard-to-reach areas if you can help it. Use the buddy system, and if your friend or family member is relaxed, you can help her out when she’s due for a touchup.

For a complete grasp of relaxing and minimising hair loss from relaxing, please ensure you have read part 1 of this post.
Preparing black hair for relaxing should commence a week before the relaxer date. This is especially important if your hair has just been removed from extensions. Hair should be removed from extensions at least a week before relaxer day.

1) Wash and deep condition with a protein conditioner
Hair that has a lot of new growth and hair that has just been removed from extensions tends to matt and tangle when being washed. For this reason I would advise that the hair is thoroughly detangled and then put into 6 to 8 box braids (calabar with no extensions).
The hair can be washed and deep conditioned in the box braids as this will decrease the risk of the hair matting. A detailed post on how to do this will be up soon.
A protein conditioner will give the hair the strength it needs to undergo the relaxing process. A moisturising leave-in conditioner should be used to restore protein/moisture balance.

2) Avoid scratching or irritating the scalp
Avoid scratching or irritating the scalp during the week. Also your hair should be put in a simple style that will not require a lot of pulling and combing to achieve. The style should also be easy to maintain or recreate during the week.
If you need to comb your hair during the week divide your hair into four sections, and comb through gently with a wide tooth comb. This way you do not disturb your scalp. A scratched or irritated scalp has a high risk of burning and becoming damaged during the relaxing process.

3) Moisturise and Seal
The hair should be moisturised and sealed a few times during the week to prevent it from becoming excessively dry.

How to apply a hair relaxer

1. Part hair into 4 or more questions
Your hair should be parted into 4 or more sections. I part my hair into 5 sections, 3 at the back and 2 at the front. Because I relax every 4/5 months, I have loads of new growth so parting my hair into 5 sections for relaxing makes it easier to access the roots.
You can keep the sections separated by using a hair clip or hair band. When you are at the salon, ensure the hair is kept in those sections throughout the relaxing process, for ease of access.

2. Detangle each section
Detangle each section gently with your hands. This can be followed by a wide tooth comb if necessary.
This is ESSENTIAL. Do not apply relaxer to hair that has knots and tangles. If the tangles are left in the hair, if will cause bigger tangles and knots when the hair is being washed. These will be very hard to remove by hand and will cause major damage if they are combed out.
To avoid this ensure your hair is thoroughly detangled before relaxing. The salon may not be willing to spend that much time detangling thoroughly or gently enough. I advise you to detangle yourself at home before going to the salon.

3. Protect your scalp
Oils like pure olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, etc should be applied to the scalp whilst detangling to protect the scalp.

4. Protect hair that has been previously relaxed
Hair that has been relaxed previously must be protected to prevent over processing. To do this, apply either an oil or conditioner to previously relaxed hair to protect it.

5. Protect your hair line and perimeter
Ensure oil or hair grease is applied to your hairline and your ears to protect them.

6. Apply relaxer to new growth only
Relaxer must be applied to natural new growth only, it must not be applied to previously relaxed hair. Applying relaxer to previously relaxed hair will cause over processing. Over processed hair will break gradually over the following weeks and months.

How to apply a hair relaxer

7. Avoid combing through hair when there is relaxer in it
The back of a rat tail comb may be used to smooth in the relaxer or hands can used to pull the hair straight. Combing through can lead to damage and may also irritate the scalp

8. Rinse after time recommended by the relaxer brand
The direction provided on the relaxer jar or box will specify how long the relaxer should be left on for. Do not wait for your scalp to start burning before rinsing out the relaxer.

9. Neutralise at least 3 or 4 times.
After the relaxer has been rinsed off, the hair should be washed with a neutralising shampoo a minimum of three times.
During the second or third wash, the shampoo lather should be left in hair for about five minutes to give it time to penetrate the hair shaft and fully neutralize. Personally I neutralize 4 times, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

10. Deep Condition
After neutralizing, your hair should be deep conditioned with either protein or a mixture of protein and moisture conditioners.
If you use a protein conditioner alone, ensure you follow up with a moisturising leave in conditioner to help restore protein and moisture balance. Your hair can then be roller set or blow dried gently.

11. Well done
If you have followed all the instructions above, then you will have greatly minimised the risk of hair loss from the relaxing process.

How to apply a hair relaxer

Early 2013- My hair after a successful but tiring relaxer day

Do not install braids or weaves in the first two weeks after relaxing your hair.
Hair that has just been relaxed needs a lot of TLC and cannot withstand the tension of extensions. After the two week period, ensure your hair is washed and deep conditioned with a mixture of protein and moisture conditioners before the extensions are installed.
Ensure you take care of your hair in those two weeks, i.e., moisturise and seal regularly, wear protective hair styles, etc.

I hope the above guide has not been too daunting and I hope your next relaxer sessions goes really well.

Read on to discover the answers to these commonly asked questions surrounding chemical straightening — plus much more! — as told by our experts in Trichology.

How to apply a hair relaxer

How does chemically straightening damage your hair? And what about the benefits? Find out in our guide below.

What is hair relaxing?

Hair relaxing is a form of permanent chemical straightening.

How does chemical straightening work?

There are three types of chemical bonds in the hair: hydrogen, disulphide and salt bonds. Salt bonds are broken very easily by changes in pH. Hydrogen bonds are broken when hair becomes wet (and reformed when it dries), while disulphide bonds are extremely durable and broken by chemical straightening, perming and heat. In fact, they are one of the strongest naturally occurring bonds in the world.

Chemical relaxers use extremely high heat and chemicals to break disulphide bonds. Your stylist can then reset your hair into a permanently straight configuration. The chemicals most commonly used in relaxers include sodium hydroxide, ammonium thioglycolate, and sodium thioglycolate.

How long does chemically straightened hair last?

Unlike Keratin treatments — which are temporary and wash out after about three months — chemical relaxers are permanent, and last until your hair grows out.

Are chemical relaxers harmful to your hair?

Chemically straightening your hair can be extremely satisfying, and we know how important it is to feel happy and confident with your style. However, we urge you to be careful if you decide to have your hair relaxed. This is because the high heat and strong chemicals used in relaxers risk making your hair dry, brittle and prone to breakage.

How does chemical straightening damage your hair?

If your hair is in good condition and has never been previously relaxed, you are likely to be fine. However, if your hair is already delicate (for example, if you have natural tightly coiled curls, or heavily bleached hair), chemical relaxers can seriously damage your strands.

If left on too long, chemical straighteners can cause mass hair breakage. This is because chemical processes can cause the bonds inside the hair to weaken and break, and when the internal structure of the hair is compromised, strands are more prone to snapping and splitting. To repair the damage caused, we recommend regularly using Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment, our restorative pre-shampoo mask specially formulated for damaged hair. Working beneath the surface to reconnect and intensely repair bonds broken by chemical straightening, it leaves strands 3x more resistant to damage and up to 49% stronger*. Packed with Advanced Bond Rebuilding Technology, the strengthening formula also works to shield bonds against future damage, helping to restore hair health for reduced breakage. Use at least once a week for best results.
*Mean increase 2.79x after 5 treatments compared to a single treatment – independent instrumental test results / ^After 5 treatments compared to a single treatment – independent instrumental test results / **Independent user trial – after 4 washes

Furthermore, the act of straightening your hair out during the processing can sometimes overstretch the hair shafts, leaving insufficient elasticity for your hair to withstand normal everyday styling procedures, such as brushing and blow-drying. To replace that lost moisture, it’s imperative to use deeply-conditioning treatments that inject hydration back into the hair shaft to keep it nourished and healthy — like our supercharged Elasticizer Extreme Rich Deep-Conditioning Treatment. Replacing lost moisture and lipids to provide instant nourishment to dry, fragile strands, the intensely thirst-quenching formula leaves your hair full of elasticity and stretch, and in turn strength. Use at least once per week and alternate with Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment for optimal results.

It can be difficult to stop relaxing your hair once you start. This is because relaxers are permanent, so your style will appear inconsistent once your natural texture starts to grow back in. However, overlapping already relaxed hair with new chemicals can cause your hair to break. We recommend you do not have your hair relaxed more than once every three to four months.

The chemicals used in relaxing treatments are very strong and are applied near to your scalp. If the treatment is performed incorrectly, there is a risk of chemical burns on your scalp, and this can result in infection, scarring and permanent hair loss. Be sure to choose your stylist carefully.

What are the benefits of hair relaxing?

On the other hand, for people with hair that is difficult to manage, or who are unhappy with having curly or frizzy hair, chemical straightening is an extremely attractive option. It can provide an instant morale boost and make your daily styling routine a great deal easier.

Relaxing may even, in some ways, be beneficial to your hair’s condition. Once your hair is straightened, none of the other harmful procedures (like hot oil, pressing, pulling, flat irons and hot combs) are needed. Also, because it is much easier to style relaxed hair, you will hopefully be prepared to wash it more frequently — and frequent washing is highly beneficial to hair and scalp health!

How do you look after relaxed hair?

Chemical straightening leaves your strands more vulnerable to damage and breakage. We recommend the following steps to help keep your hair as strong and healthy as possible, both before and after the process:

How to apply a hair relaxer

There are times when you might prefer those curls straight and we get you! Due to the make-up of Afro hair, it’s not always easy to create a straight hairstyle. Relaxers are products that are meant to tame your curls and make them manageable. Let’s check out the two relaxers that work best!

TCB Kenya Relaxer (Regular)

A professional relaxer that makes hair easier to straighten, TCB Naturals No Base Crème Relaxers (Regular) is an instant way to get softer, straighter hair. The natural oils, protein and DNA not only protects your hair, but also effectively relaxes them. This unique conditioning formula will leave your hair with body and shine. Different relaxers have different strengths. For most, a ‘regular’ strength relaxer should work just fine, but if you have thick coarse hair, you can try a ‘super’ strength relaxer.

What Is It Made Of

To relax your curls without the use of heated styling products, TCB Naturals No Base Crème Relaxer uses:

  • Mineral oil and Petroleum jelly– To protect your kinky hair and reduce irritation during the hair relaxing session.
  • Protein– They are the building blocks of your hair. Protein is an excellent ingredient to provide structural support and reduce damage during hair relaxation.

How To Use

There is a certain way of using TCB Naturals No Base Crème Hair Relaxer. We’re here to break it down for you!

Pro Tip: Before you start the relaxation process, apply petroleum jelly on your scalp for effective results.

  • Part 1(Application) – use a comb and divide your hair evenly into 4-6 sections. Use an applicator brush and apply the relaxer crème to your hair. Avoid getting the relaxer on your scalp. Start from the back of your head and gradually move towards the forehead.
  • Part 2(Relaxation) – When the relaxer application is complete, use the back of a comb to smoothen and straighten your hair in order of application. Do NOT comb your hair.
  • Part 3(Rinse) – Let it sit for five to seven minutes then rinse it thoroughly with comfortable lukewarm water.
  • Part 4(Neutralize) – Finally wash your hair with a neutralizing shampoo to stop the chemical process. Ensure that you remove all the relaxer from your hair.

TCB Naturals No Base Crème Relaxer is a ‘No-Mix’ chemical hair relaxer, which makes it an affordable solution to achieve straight hair. Everyone has a different hair type, to know which type of relaxer is meant for your hair,

I’ve learned a lot about taking care of my hair over the last few years. Things such as how to keep my hair moisturized, manage breakage, and also how to protect my hair when getting a relaxer touch-up.

When I first started getting my hair relaxed hairstylists didn’t really provide any advice on what I should to protect my hair and scalp outside of don’t scratch. There was no talk about terms like relaxer overlap or relaxer runoff. Even to this day, I haven’t had a stylist talk to me about either one of these things.

Relaxer overlap is when the relaxer is applied to previously relaxed hair. This tends to happen accidentally when there isn’t a lot of new growth or the person applying the relaxer isn’t careful.

Relaxer runoff happens when the relaxer is rinsed out and it touches previously relaxed hair. This is also kinda accidental.

Both relaxer runoff and overlap can cause overprocessing which weakens relaxed hair even more and can cause some serious damage. So it’s no surprise I got a little worried. I hadn’t noticed that this was happening but I didn’t want to take any chances and found some tips that could help to lessen the chances of either one happening. Here are the ones that have worked best for me.

(This post includes some affiliate links. Should you click an affiliate link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Once I learned what relaxer overlap was I became very conscious about how my hair was being protected during the relaxer process. Because I’m not a professional stylist who would be applying the relaxer I found a few things I could do at home before I headed to the salon. I also learned that I needed to pay more attention to what the stylist was or wasn’t doing during the relaxer process.

Here are four things I do to protect my hair from relaxer overlap and overprocessing during my touch-ups.

1. Do a protein treatment

A few days before my relaxer touch up I do a hard protein treatment. The protein treatment helps to strengthen and protect previously relaxed strands. I get the best results from this when I do the protein treatment only on my relaxed strands and avoid my new growth.

2. Coat my relaxed hair

Another way I protect my previously relaxed strands is by coating them in a petroleum-based product or thick oil like olive oil. I do this to protect my previously relaxed hair from relaxer runoff and accidental overlapping.

3. Stretch my relaxers

From reading multiple articles from other bloggers, including bloggers who are hairstylists, it’s recommended to only relax when you have a few inches of new growth. The minimum number of inches I’ve seen is 1-2”. The more unprocessed hair on your head, the more area you/your stylist has to work with lessening the chance of applying relaxer to previously relaxed hair.

To make sure I have a few inches of new growth I stretch my relaxers. I go a minimum of 12 weeks instead of the 6-8 weeks most stylists say you have to go. By going at least 12 weeks between relaxers I’m giving my relaxed hair a break from chemical runoff that can occur during applications.

You see those “kiddie perm” kits on the beauty store shelf and figure they must be made just for children, right? After all, the girls on the front of the box look happy. Their hair is long and thick. And it looks so much more manageable! Is there a right age for relaxing a child’s hair?

When Can I Use a Kids’ Relaxer on My Child’s Hair?

The short answer here is you don’t ever have to relax a child’s hair, or an adult’s hair, for that matter. Before the age of 12, relaxers are not recommended. Again, even after that age, they are not a necessity.

Just because hair care companies create and market relaxer kits for children doesn’t mean they’re safer to use on young scalps. All relaxers contain chemicals, and developing scalps and hairlines are especially prone to damage when these chemicals are applied to them.

Unfortunately, because home relaxer kits are so easy and inexpensive to use, children as young as two-years-old have been subject to them. Relaxers can sting, burn and cause irreparable damage to a young child’s scalp and hair follicles. This leads to sparse (or completely empty) hairlines. How many times have you seen a child with a hairline that begins inches back from where it should be?

Back in the day, relaxers were saved for girls who were about junior-high age. It was almost seen as a rite of passage for a girl to leave plaits and braids behind and move into more grownup hairstyles. Once a girl reaches the age of 12 or 13, you may consider a relaxer if you’re set on permanently straightening her hair. Her hairline should be strong and free from damage. It’s also best to visit a hair care professional to apply the relaxer. A competent stylist should ask you and your child questions about products you use on her hair, how active she is and how much maintenance and home care is involved for the best results.

How to Deal With Thick Tresses and/or Tenderheaded Issues

As any parent knows, it can be tough dealing with a child who has long and/or very thick hair, especially on busy school/work mornings, and if you have more than one little girl. Instead of turning to a relaxer as a solution, try gentle techniques that don’t involve chemicals if you want to stretch the curl. Gentle blow-drying on medium-low heat applied right after shampooing and conditioning (ideally, once per week) is just one way parents can make a child’s tightly curled hair easier to manage.

Appropriate Hairstyles for Little Kids

You don’t have to be a hairstyling whiz to create kid-friendly looks that hold up to school and playtime. Even if you only master one or two styles, that’s good enough for most children. Easy hairdos most anyone can create include:

  • Two ponytails
  • Two or more plaits
  • French braids
  • Cornrows
  • Afro puffs

The longer you wait to relax a child’s hair, the longer she has to develop a healthy hairline and scalp.

How to apply a hair relaxer

Relaxing your hair can be a tedious process, especially when you can’t make it to the salon to get it professionally done. If you want a straighter hairstyle, a relaxer gives you that option without worrying that your hair will revert to its natural texture if you get caught out in the rain or want to go for a swim. Getting your relaxer done in a salon, in the hands of a professional you trust, is the best way to go about this process, but it can also be done at home. The key to keeping your hair healthy throughout the process is making sure you follow the directions on your relaxer’s box, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend!

Hair care expert and celebrity stylist Kim Kimble weighs-in on the proper procedures to follow when relaxing your hair.

Check out our tips for making your at-home relaxing session go as smoothly as possible.

Meet the Expert

  • Kim Kimble is an Emmy-nominated celebrity hair stylist and star of WeTv’s hit reality series, L.A. Hair.
  • Sophia Emmanuel is an IAT-Certified Trichologist and licensed cosmetologist based in New York.

Skip the Shampoo

Before opening your relaxer kit and mixing your chemicals, ask yourself when the last time you shampooed your hair was. Kimble says, “Washing your hair before getting a relaxer can cause scalp irritation. You also should not have a lot of product in your hair before getting a relaxer.”

Cleansing or even wetting your hair and scalp before you relax might lead to burning once you apply the chemicals, because your scalp hasn’t had enough time to “rest” since your last shampoo. No matter what your regular cleansing routine is, do not shampoo your hair for at least one week before applying relaxer.

In some circumstances, however, you might want to condition before your relaxer. “In addition to conditioning the hair after a relaxer service, a small amount of conditioner such as Olaplex No.3 can be applied to the hair prior to the relaxer application,” says trichologist Sophia Emmanuel. “This works for relaxer touch-ups, not virgin relaxers. The Olaplex No.3 will help minimize any damage from overlapping while applying the relaxer. You do not have to apply this Olaplex No.3 to the new growth, only the hair that will not be relaxed to protect it.”

Do not scratch or pick at your scalp before you apply your relaxer. Broken or scratched skin may make your scalp more susceptible to burning.

Don’t Forget to Detangle

How to apply a hair relaxer

In order for a relaxer to work properly, it needs to reach all of your new hair growth — or all of your hair if this is a virgin application. I asked Kimble why this step is crucially important, “So that you can get the relaxer evenly spread throughout the hair and avoid any build up or irritation.”

Basically, chemicals won’t be able to touch all areas if there’s tangling or matting. Now, this isn’t the time to perform an intense detangling session with a lot of pulling and tugging — that will irritate your scalp and may lead to burning. Instead, work through your new growth with your fingers first, maybe the night before your touch-up. This will give your scalp some time to rest. After a gentle finger detangle, use a wide-tooth comb to work only through your hair. Stay away from your scalp as much as possible. Comb through all the way to the ends, but don’t overwork a section. Detangle and move on.

Work in Small Sections

How to apply a hair relaxer

As with detangling, the relaxer can’t cover all areas when you work in big chunks. You should work quickly, but thoroughly. Use the tail end of a fine-tooth comb, like the Diane Ionic Rat Tail Comb ($3) to gently separate sections, but don’t create defined parts. Only use the comb to lift sections so you can apply the relaxer to new hair growth. If your hair is detangled, you shouldn’t have a problem separating small sections into 1-inch areas.

Be Precise

If you’ve relaxed your hair before, it can be hard to only put relaxer on your new growth. Although the line of demarcation between the new growth and previously relaxed hair may be obvious, it’s still difficult to be as precise as you can when placing a relaxer only onto your new growth. If you relax without help, it’s especially difficult to avoid overprocessing on the back part of your head. Not only should you enlist help for touch-ups, but you should try to visit a professional for this whenever possible.

But if you absolutely must do your own relaxer at home, Kimble offered the following advice, “Make sure you do NOT drink any caffeine before applying it. Drinking caffeine dehydrates your scalp and can cause irritation.” And it’s crucial you use a light base cream on your scalp; this can help reduce irritation and creates a protective barrier.

If you have natural hair, then you may have considered getting a hair relaxer. After all, taking care of your curly strands can be time-consuming, which can make having a sleek, super-straight mane straight out of bed sound pretty appealing. Of course, curly hair relaxers aren’t for everyone, and just like with any beauty procedure, we highly recommend doing your research before taking the plunge to determine if it’s the right move for you. Luckily, you don’t have to take to Google to find the answers you’re searching for. Below, we’re answering what a hair relaxer is, how natural hair relaxers work, what to know before trying one, and how to care for relaxed hair. That’s a lot—so let’s get to it!


So, what exactly is relaxed hair? Natural hair relaxers, also known as chemical straighteners, are chemical lotions or creams applied to natural hair to give it a sleek, straight appearance by “relaxing” your curls. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), relaxers are used by more than two-thirds of African females to straighten hair for easier grooming and increased length.


Now that you’ve got some background info, you may be wondering how curly hair relaxers work. First, let’s cover what hair relaxer is. A study from the NCBI states that chemical-based hair relaxers are broadly classified as “lye” relaxers, no-lye relaxers, and “thio” relaxers. The main ingredient of “lye” relaxers is sodium hydroxide, no-lye relaxers contain calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate, and “thio” relaxers contain thioglycolic acid salts, according to the NCBI. This is where things get a little tricky, so we’ll try and keep it as short and sweet as possible.

According to a study from the United States Patent, the first stage of processing is referred to as the reduction stage, where the disulfide bonds of the hair fiber are broken. This is important because the presence of disulfide bonds is directly linked to how curly your hair is. Then the hair is thoroughly rinsed before moving onto the second stage, which is known as the neutralization stage. This step involves using a neutralizing agent to reclose the disulfide bonds into a new configuration, setting hair into the desired shape. Got it?

Next, the hair is shampooed and mechanically positioned into the configuration or shape desired, usually by wrapping the hair around cylinders (AKA rollers) of the appropriate size needed to straighten waved hair. Keep in mind that this process should be done by a professional, as many of the common ingredients used in the process are caustic to both hair and skin, making at-home options less concentrated, and therefore less effective, than those typically used in professional salons, according to the study.


Phew—that’s a lot of info! Now that you know all about how curly hair relaxers work, you may have some questions popping up in your head. Here are a few things to know before relaxing your hair. First, it’s important to remember that relaxing your hair is a chemical process, and relaxers should only be used as instructed. A study from the NCBI found that common complaints associated with the use of chemical hair relaxers were frizzy hair, dandruff, hair loss, thinning, and hair breakage. To minimize any potential damage, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) advises using caution with relaxers and always going to a professional stylist for proper, safe application. If you are working with an at-home kit, it’s a must to read and follow all instructions on the packaging before and during application—just as you would when using an at-home hair color kit.


Since chemical processing is known to have long-term effects, you’re probably wondering if hair relaxers are permanent. And the simple answer is no. According to the AAD, curly hair relaxers should be repeated every eight to 10 weeks to keep strands straight. If not, hair will go back to its natural state. Keep in mind, the more you apply hair relaxers to your hair, the longer it will take for you to restore your natural texture.


All chemical processing, including using curly hair relaxers, can damage your hair. The AAD shares that having a hair relaxer and another chemical service can wreak havoc on your strands, which is why they recommend just one service at a time. The NCBI also reveals that excessive chemical treatments can cause the hair cuticles to crack, which can ultimately lead to hair damage.

To relax hair and minimize damage, the recommendations are pretty similar to those for bleaching hair: rely on a professional and don’t overdo it.


Last but not least, we’re sure you want to know how to care for relaxed hair! Keep in mind, maintaining relaxed hair is a process just like anything else. According to a study from the NCBI, relaxed hairstyles can be covered with a scarf while being active as a method for maintaining your straight style. In addition to wearing protective hairstyles for relaxed hair, touch-ups will be needed to relax newly grown hair at the roots, just as new growth needs to be touched up if you switch up your hair color. The AAD shares that in the case of hair relaxing, touch-ups should only be done every two to three months, and that relaxer should never be applied to hair that has already been relaxed.

And that’s a wrap on that! We know it was a lot to take in, so we recommend consulting with your hairstylist to determine if a curly hair relaxer is right for you and to help develop the right post-relaxing hair care routine.

Protein treatments are an essential part of maintaining the health and strength of hair. Whether your hair is kinky, curly, wavy or straight, you will be able to benefit from a treatment such as this. Many of these treatments can be bought in the store, but they can also, very easily be made at home containing the same benefits.

Protein treatments are basically the use of a protein based treatment to add strength and restore protein to the hair. In case you are unfamiliar with why your hair would need this, allow me to elaborate. Protein is the main structure of the hair. It gives it strength and elasticity. Protein treatments put the protein back in your hair that is lost through relaxing, coloring, frequent heat use and daily styling. How often you do your protein treatments are based on these factors. If your hair is relaxed or color treated, you may need a protein treatment once every two weeks or even weekly, depending upon the damage. If your hair is not damaged you should do a protein treatment at least once a month.

Now that you know the benefits of protein to the hair, here’s how to make your own. Your source of protein will be an egg, 1-2 depending upon the length of your hair. If your hair is neck to shoulder length, one egg should suffice. Longer hair will need 2 eggs. Thoroughly beat the egg into a bowl. Add a natural oil of your choice. Olive oil would be best, but you can use your favorite oil. I like to add coconut oil and olive oil to my mixture. At this point you can apply the treatment to your hair. If you prefer to have a creamy mixture as oppose to the runny mixture, add a conditioner of your choice to the mixture.

Drape a towel around your shoulders and section your hair. Using an applicator brush, liberally apply the mixture to your hair. Start at the root and work your way down to the ends. Pay close attention as you do this and leave no part of your hair untreated.

Once the entire mixture is applied to your hair, allow it to set for 30 minutes to an hour. Do not place a plastic cap on your head. You want the mixture to dry and harden on top of your head. Do not apply heat to your hair. Remember this mixture contains raw egg that will solidify in an attempt to cook and you may find yourself picking egg from your hair.

After the allotted amount of time has elapsed, rinse the mixture from your head thoroughly using lukewarm water. Immediately apply a moisturizing conditioner and allow to set on your head for 30 minutes with a plastic cap. This step is very important, if you do not use a moisturizing conditioner after the protein, your hair will remain hard and will begin to break.

How to apply a hair relaxer

How long after a relaxer can I color my hair? It is best to wait for one to two weeks after the relaxer before you apply dye to your hair. This will save your hair from possible damages that may occur as a result of the chemical treatment.

With our hair, there is no end to how much we can explore with it. It is normal to want to do so many things to your hair; dye, cut, relax, curl, straighten, etc. While it is okay to explore with your hair, it is important that do not do that to the detriment of your hair’s health. What we mean is that do not do whatever will cause damages to your hair.

One of the many things that can lead to hair damage is using chemical treatments for your hair. Chemical treatments are usually used to alter the hair properties to achieve a different and new look. The effects can last for days, weeks, and sometimes months.

Chemical treatments can range from heat styling tools, dye, relaxer, etc. For a while now, there have been questions asked concerning the use of these chemical treatments together. i.e. can I relax and color my hair at the same time? How long after a relaxer can I color my hair? It is safe that you want answers to these questions before proceeding to do what you think is right. This will save your hair from possible damages.

Relaxer and dye are two chemical treatments, which mean that they alter the natural look and properties of the hair to give it a different look; often our desired look i.e. the relaxer breaks down the internal protein structure to achieve its purpose. When these two are applied to your hair, the effect of the chemicals becomes doubled and this will cause a lot of damages to the hair.

How long after a relaxer can I color my hair?

You should hold on and wait for one to two weeks before coming back to color your hair. This is to make sure that there is no scalp discomfort or sensitivity; it is also to determine if your hair is in a good state to take in some more chemicals. If there are traces of breakage in your hair, then you may need to wait for a longer time before you color your hair.

Within the waiting period, you must wash your hair with shampoo. Preferably a moisturizing shampoo will help restore moisture balance, improve elasticity, add shine, and make the hair generally healthy. Deep conditioning is also recommended during this period.

How To Care For Your Relaxed And Colored Hair?

How to apply a hair relaxer

Image: @mrskiac via Twenty20

Regardless of what chemical treatment you had just given your hair, the most important thing to do to help your hair regain all that is lost is to maintain a healthy routine. In choosing a shampoo, make use of a sulfate-free and color-protecting shampoo, the same for conditioner. This will not only clean your hair but also protect, keep the color and help add and maintain the shine.

It is advisable to stay away from heat styling tools, and even if you have to use them, you should protect your hair with protecting products first. Some products protect your hair from the damages of heat or environmental stressors.

Hair Coloring FAQ

Does Your Hair Go Back To Normal After A Relaxer?

Whatever effect relaxer is giving to your hair is permanent, so your hair cannot go back to being the way it was before you relaxed. To get your natural hair back, it is either you consider cutting off the part where the relaxer has touched, which is also known as “ big chop” or you trim your hair from time to take until the damaged part is out.

Does Relaxer Stop Hair Growth?

Frequent use of relaxers can result in hair loss. Relaxers are chemical treatments and when the scalp comes in frequent contact with chemicals, you begin to experience hair loss.

Does Hair Color Change The Texture Of Your Hair?

Hair color/dye is a chemical treatment and all chemical treatment alters the hair properties, which means that the state of the hair is changed, including the hair texture.

How Long After A Relaxer Can I Wash My Hair?

You can wash your hair anytime after you get it relaxed, however, you might want to hold on for a few days for your hair to fully adjust to the relaxer, this way, you can be sure the effect of the relaxer will last longer.

Final Thoughts

Chemical treatments can cause a lot of damages to your hair. You shouldn’t use them as often if you have to use them at all. Using more than one chemical treatment on your hair at a time can cause more severe damages than normal.

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About a year ago, I suffered a hair setback. For about three years, my relaxed hair was thriving, growing to a length I had never achieved. Towards the end of lat summer though, my hair gave up on me. It was limp, dried out and completely lost its glossiness. It was right then where I decided to try Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector to breathe some life back into it.

How to apply a hair relaxer

What Is Olaplex?

Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector is a bond-building treatment that claims to reduce breakage and visibly strengthen hair. Not a conditioner, but a “wash out” cream that improves the look and feel of hair, protects the hair’s structure and restores healthy appearance and texture. That’s all I needed to know and ordered up a bottle immediately.

It’s worth mentioning that Olaplex No. 3 relinks broken disulfide bonds in the hair caused by chemical, thermal and mechanical damage, three things I was guilty of. The relaxer process is a harsh one and couple that with my abuse of the flat iron and curling iron, I felt that this could really help me out.

How to apply a hair relaxer

How To Use Olaplex No. 3

Directions on the bottle state to generously apply the product to unwashed, towel-dried hair, from root to tips. Leave on for 10 minutes or more, then rinse, shampoo and condition hair as you normally would.

Olaplex can be used as frequently as you wish, but I suggest once a month. At $30 CAD a bottle, once a month doesn’t hit the pocket as hard.

Lastly, I didn’t feel that “applying a generous amount to hair” was necessary. I used just enough to coat the hair; therefore, a bottle can last be about three months if used accordingly.

What I Did Instead

During my online research, I discovered that apparently, Olaplex No. 3 works better on hair when “wetter” than towel dried. So, I hopped in the shower, wet my hair, gave it a quick squeeze with a microfibre towel (gentler on hair than regular terrycloth towels) and proceeded to apply the product.

I left it on for about 15-20 minutes instead of only 10. I would have left it on longer, but had visions of it destroying my hair and me becoming a meme. Sigh.

How to apply a hair relaxer

The Result

After rinsing, washing and deep conditioning, my hair felt amazing…truly soft, silky and incredible. The difference was almost immediate. When I rinsed the Olaplex No. 3 out of my hair, my hair felt instantly silky. There were zero tangles and I ended up using less conditioner.

I then air-dried my hair, brushing it out with a Wet Brush occasionally throughout the drying process to keep it straight. Again – my hair felt incredible. Moisturizing and sealing then followed, and I whipped it up into a bun.

The Verdict

This product is a huge recommend for all hair types, including relaxed hair. It left my hair feeling wonderful. The dry, “crispy” ends were replaced with silky, glossy strands. I am really happy with the results!

The best part about using this product was the slip it gave my hair when I rinsed it out in the shower. Olaplaex No. 3 Hair Perfector gave my hair a great slip, leaving it completely tangle-free. I was so impressed, that I ordered another bottle from Sephora.

Have you tried Olaplaex No. 3 on your hair? What did you think?

Dominique is a Canadian-based fashion and beauty influencer with a strong voice in Ottawa’s black community. Since launching her blog Style Domination in 2015, she has amassed a global fanbase. Dominique shares her life through beautiful imagery and compelling story-telling that speaks to her fans on a personal level. She’s been featured in The Guardian, Flare, The Kit and Cityline. She also hosts events for Dress for Success, the Gem Conference, and has been named a United Way Person 2 Know for the past three years.

Naturally coiled or curled hair is beautiful, but sometimes it’s nice to change things up.

One of the ways to do this without constant upkeep is with a relaxer – a cream or lotion designed to permanently straighten hair.

Many people leave this sort of thing to their stylists, but it’s entirely possible to do it yourself at home.

How relaxers work

Scientifically speaking, relaxers break the disulfide bonds that are found deep inside your hair fibers, reforming them while the hair is held straight; essentially, they work by reshaping your hair fibers directly.

This means they need to be pretty powerful, so it’s worth taking the time to use them properly.

How to use relaxers at home

First off, make sure you’ve done an allergy test, including testing the relaxers both on your skin and on a couple of strands of your hair. This is to make sure there aren’t any adverse effects.

You’ll also want to make sure your scalp is in good shape – and already irritated scalp can be subject to unpleasant burning if you’re not careful. If you have any scalp problems, deal with these first.

For instance, if you have dandruff, give yourself a couple of weeks on a good anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner.

You’ll then want to take another week without washing your hair, to ensure that there’s no irritated skin on your scalp.

This is because you’re more likely to experience an unpleasant burning sensation on irritated areas of your scalp.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll want to protect your skin: use the protector included with your relaxer, or petroleum jelly, around your hairline, parting, ears and the back of your neck to do this. Make sure every exposed area of skin is covered.

Because each product is different, it’s important to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely – this isn’t the place for experimentation.

Wear gloves throughout the process and pay close attention to the amount of time you spend applying the product and leave it on your hair.

You will usually need to combine two products (the cream and the activator) within your relaxing kit to produce the final mixture needed to relax your hair.

When you get around to using the relaxer, work in sections. This gives you better control and allows for more even coverage.

When it comes time to wash the relaxer out, be thorough: rinse out as much as possible first, before using a neutralizing shampoo.

This bit is important – you don’t want to leave any of those chemicals on your scalp.

The neutralizing shampoo will change color (usually from pink to white) to indicate that all of the chemicals have been washed out of your hair. It will also return your hair to its natural pH.

Finally, a deep conditioner will help replace moisture that’s been lost during the process which will give you a head start back to healthy (and now straight) hair. Some relaxing kits include these, or you can purchase them separately.

Base relaxers require the application of a protective base cream to the entire … haircolors, before applying either thio or hydroxide relaxers to the hair. … Do not worry if the protective base cream touches the hair shaft when performing a relaxer … to that for relaxing virgin hair and the same precautions apply, only the product …

Explain the difference between a sodium hydroxide relaxer and a thio relaxer. … the three basic steps in Chemical Hair Relaxing Demonstrate procedures for a virgin relaxer … They are not “lye,” but their chemistry and performance is identical.

Virgin Hair Philadelphia Indique Virgin Indian Hair is the only company that produces hair extensions at the source. Indique’s remy hair extensions are unparalleled because the virgin hair

Start studying Chapter 20: Relaxers. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. … -virgin hair, apply to mid-shafte and leave 1/2″ at scalp and ends, apply to the hairline last … -application of a thio relaxer or the perm will not properly relax or curl hair and may cause extreme damage.

Start studying -Relaxer Retouch/Virgin Relaxer Procedure ONLY-. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. … (thio ) hair relaxer … • start with the chemical application slightly off scalp about 1/4 – inches from the scalp, and out 2 inches …

Do not forget to perform an analysis of the client’s hair and scalp. … P 20-8 Applying Thio Relaxer to Virgin Hair … Perform tests for porosity and elasticity. 2.

Okay, you have already applied relaxer to all the areas of your head. How long do you leave it in?

If possible for which kind of results-straight, bonestraight, texlaxing, texturizing?

Do you smooth? With a comb, fingers, or both?


Well-Known Member
  • Jun 29, 2006
  • #2


Well-Known Member
  • Jun 29, 2006
  • #3

The only relaxer I have self relaxed with that has not underprocessed me is TCB Naturals (not the economical size).

I normally leave it in for 6-10 min, but sometimes less, because if I have lots of naughty new growth it takes me longer to apply it.

I smooth with the same brush that I use to apply it with and I get straight hair, but not bone straight.


  • Jun 29, 2006
  • #4

I am so scarred of overprocessing and since I dont care for bone straight hair, I rinse out in 5 min. after applying.

Sometimes stylist are so gung ho on gettin it super straight, I lie and say I am feeling a tingle on the scalp so they gear me up for a rinse out. I dont want them gettin any ideas like “Let me let her sit here, while I wash out the next client,etc.” It gets me so paranoid that they overlook the amout of time the relaxer is on my head.

I figure what does not get straight this time will be straightend with the rinse out of perm over the next 3 years of permimg.


New Member
  • Jun 30, 2006
  • #5


Well-Known Member
  • Jun 30, 2006
  • #6

Candy_C I would have to do that with many relaxers. Some don’t even texlax me in the time suggested by the manufacturer. My new growth does nothing!

But, the TCB must have a higher pH, because it gets me STRAIGHT in way less time.


New Member
  • Jun 30, 2006
  • #7

Candy_C I would have to do that with many relaxers. Some don’t even texlax me in the time suggested by the manufacturer. My new growth does nothing!

But, the TCB must have a higher pH, because it gets me STRAIGHT in way less time.


Active Member
  • Jun 30, 2006
  • #8

I am so scarred of overprocessing and since I dont care for bone straight hair, I rinse out in 5 min. after applying.

Sometimes stylist are so gung ho on gettin it super straight, I lie and say I am feeling a tingle on the scalp so they gear me up for a rinse out. I dont want them gettin any ideas like “Let me let her sit here, while I wash out the next client,etc.” It gets me so paranoid that they overlook the amout of time the relaxer is on my head.

I figure what does not get straight this time will be straightend with the rinse out of perm over the next 3 years of permimg.


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  • Jun 30, 2006
  • #9


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  • Jun 30, 2006
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  • Jun 30, 2006
  • #11

My hairdresser attempted to texturze my hair with Elucence by processing it for about 10 minutes.

When I came out of braids 4 months later it looked almost completely natural. I bought some Elucence myself and tried to process my whole head again (temporary insanity) so it would be straight. It took a bout 5 minutes to apply it all over my head and left it in for another 15 minutes, smoothing the whole time.

My hair was still curly and still has mad shrinkage. after all that. So I attempted to relax, and came out texturized. That’s okay because I like it better then when my hairdresser did it.

For my next touch-up, I have no idea what I will do.


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  • Jun 30, 2006
  • #12


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  • Jul 10, 2006
  • #17

I am so scarred of overprocessing and since I dont care for bone straight hair, I rinse out in 5 min. after applying.

Sometimes stylist are so gung ho on gettin it super straight, I lie and say I am feeling a tingle on the scalp so they gear me up for a rinse out. I dont want them gettin any ideas like “Let me let her sit here, while I wash out the next client,etc.” It gets me so paranoid that they overlook the amout of time the relaxer is on my head.

I figure what does not get straight this time will be straightend with the rinse out of perm over the next 3 years of permimg.

I feel bad because I do this too. My aunt does my touch ups and she is from the old school. She says “let me know when it starts tingling so I can rinse it out.”
The reason I feel bad is because she is my Pastor too, but I’m trying to save my hair

Although hair relaxers can be a cause of damaged hair, some feel that with a relaxer their hair is straighter and thus more manageable. Fortunately, there are gentle relaxers available that have conditioning botanicals and can be used on damaged hair, however, they can still cause damage if used incorrectly. Damaged hair is typically brittle, porous, split and very fragile, so great care must be taken when using a relaxer.

Deep condition your damaged hair one week prior to relaxing it. If your hair is particularly porous, use a conditioning treatment that contains protein or keratin–these ingredients will strengthen and help protect your hair.

Purchase a relaxer that is gentle yet effective. These typically cost a bit more than normal relaxers, but they are the best option for damaged hair. Good choices include Phytospecific Phytorelaxer (use Index 1, which is for delicate hair), Elucence Gentle Relaxer and Soft & Beautiful Botanicals Relaxer. No matter what the texture of your hair is, do not get a relaxer formula that is for “coarse” hair, also known as a “super” formula–it is too strong for fragile hair and will cause further damage.

Thoroughly read the instructions on your relaxer, and check the box to insure that all of the elements, including the relaxer base, activator, shampoo, gloves and mixing stick, are included.

Perform a hair strand test as per the instructions for the relaxer you are using. Those with damaged hair cannot afford to skip doing a strand test–this will determine whether your hair can tolerate even a gentle relaxer.

If your hair does well with the strand test, proceed to apply the relaxer. Leave the relaxer on for two to four minutes less than the shortest recommended time. For example, if your relaxer suggests leaving it on your hair for 12 to 15 minutes, only leave the relaxer on for eight to 10 minutes.

Wash as much relaxer from your hair as possible with lukewarm water after the allotted time has passed–do this before shampooing. Gently shampoo your hair, and then use the included reconstructing conditioner. Do not skip this step, as your damaged hair will need the conditioning.

Roller set or allow your hair to air dry. If you plan to blow dry your newly relaxed hair, apply a heat-protecting serum, blow-dry cream, or split-end protectant while your hair is still damp. If you are going to flat iron your hair, apply a heat-protecting or flat-ironing serum while your hair is still damp.

Avoid relaxing your hair again for at least eight weeks. You should use a deep conditioner at least bi-weekly until your hair returns to a healthy state.

How to apply a hair relaxer

Up until I was about 16, I used to get my hair chemically relaxed about once every six weeks. At that point, I started wearing my hair in weaves and other protective styles, which is why I held off on the relaxers for about two years. I only ended up relaxing my hair one more time after I graduated high school before deciding to go natural in college thanks to a little bit of influence by a few of my classmates at the time.

For as long as I can remember, hair relaxers have been a debated topic in the Black community, though they’re still pretty popular to this day. If you’ve never had a relaxer but are considering getting one, read ahead to get a few tips on what you should know before getting the treatment.

What Is a Hair Relaxer?

A relaxer is a creamy product that is professionally applied to people with curly or coily hair as a way to chemically straighten their hair. It’s called relaxer because it essentially “relaxes” the curls and loosens them if they’re tighter. People who tend to want this treatment are looking for a sleeker style instead of tightly curled.

What’s in a Relaxer?

This is the important question, as the chemicals in relaxers are a major reason they’re often debated in the Black hair community. “Sodium hydroxide is the most active chemical used in some chemical relaxers because it provides the most long-lasting and dramatic effects,” Whitney Eaddy, owner of Her Growing Hands, told POPSUGAR. “However, this same sodium hydroxide is found in drain cleaners, which clearly can testify to the strength of this chemical. This chemical also penetrates the cortex layer of the hair and loosens the natural curl pattern.”

Sodium hydroxide is often found in lye relaxers, which are relaxers that work and take to the hair quickly. No-lye relaxers, on the other hand, typically use calcium hydroxide. The pH in these relaxers is normally lower, though these also tend to be more associated with dry hair.

Are Relaxers Safe For Your Hair?

That’s debatable. “This process produces the desired effect of straighter hair, but at the same time leaves hair weak and extremely susceptible to breaking and further damage,” Eaddy said. To add to that, the chemicals in relaxers are really strong, so if you’re thinking of getting one for the first time, you’d be better off going to a professional than using an at-home kit.

As Eaddy also pointed out, the effects are of these treatments are irreversible, meaning that if you chemically relax your hair and decide after wearing it straight that you’d like to go back to curls, you’d pretty much have to wait until the relaxed hair grows out.

With that said, there are ways for you to maintain your hair after getting it relaxed or chemically treated, and if you’re getting it done professionally, chances are your stylist can tell you your best option based on the condition of your hair.

Hair relaxers are used for straightening curly and kinky hair. A hair relaxing treatment usually lasts anywhere between six to eight weeks.

Hair relaxers are used for straightening curly and kinky hair. A hair relaxing treatment usually lasts anywhere between six to eight weeks.

How to apply a hair relaxer

How to apply a hair relaxer

How to apply a hair relaxer

A hair relaxer is basically a lotion, cream or serum that alters the structure of curly hair to relax the natural curls, making hair straight or less curly. The active agent in most hair relaxers is a strong alkali while in some it is ammonium thioglycolate. The hair relaxer works on the hair to make it straight and more manageable and the results are permanent. However, new growth have to be touched up regularly, which is usually done every 6 to 8 weeks. It is best to get your hair relaxed by a professional in a salon. But, there are many hair relaxer kits that are available in the market which you can try at home. If you follow the instructions properly, you can get very good results.

How Do Hair Relaxers Work
There is nothing like relaxers that are specially meant for white people. A relaxer will work on any type of hair, regardless of whether the hair is that of a Caucasian, African or Asian. The ethnicity of a person has nothing to do with the usability or effectiveness of a hair relaxer. However, hair texture plays a decisive factor on what strength of hair relaxer one should opt for. If you are a Caucasian with frizzy, dry and curly hair, and wish to use a hair relaxer, you need to opt for a relaxer with a lower strength. Your hair stylist can better guide you on what strength of relaxer is suitable for your hair structure.

How to Apply a Hair Relaxer
Once you purchase the right strength of hair relaxer kit, it is time to proceed with its application.

  • First comb or brush your hair to remove any knots and tangles.
  • Next, apply the get that comes in the kit around your hairline. If your kit does not come with the gel, then apply petroleum jelly around the hairline.
  • Section your hair into four equal sections and wear the protective gloves that comes with the kit.
  • In a plastic bowl (or any non reactive bowl), mix the relaxer cream and activator until it is smooth and properly combined.
  • Next, apply this cream to your hair with a hair brush, starting ¼ th inch from the root.
  • Once you are done applying the relaxer on one section, start with the other sections.
  • Take a rattail comb and use it to smooth and work the relaxer through your strands.
  • Leave the relaxer on your hair for the time prescribed on the back of the kit. Make sure that you do not exceed the time limit or you could ruin your hair.
  • During this period, the active ingredients in the hair relaxer alters the normal structure of hair to make it soft and straight.
  • Next, rinse your hair well with warm water until all the cream relaxer is washed out.
  • Shampoo you hair with a neutralizing shampoo and moisturize your strands with a conditioner. The conditioner restores the moisture content and improves hair texture.

It is very important that you follow all the instructions carefully while applying hair relaxer at home.

Using Homemade Hair Relaxer
Hair relaxers contain chemicals that changes the structure of kinky curly hair to give you poker straight hair. No concoction that you make at home, using ingredients from your kitchen can give you the same results. The hair treatment mentioned below can help you to condition and moisturize your hair, making it shiny and less dry.

Heat half a cup of olive oil. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of any moisturizing hair conditioner to the warm olive oil. Mix it well. You can replace the olive oil with jojoba oil, coconut oil or almond oil to get similar results. Apply this mixture on your hair with your fingers. Make sure that you cover each and every strand of your hair well. The best way to do this is to divide your hair into small sections, and apply the warm oil. Leave the oil on your hair for around half an hour. Now, rinse the hair well with plenty of lukewarm water. Allow your hair to air dry. You would find your hair to be less frizzy and more shiny and moisturized.

Whether you treat your hair with hair relaxer at a salon or at home, you need to take proper care of your hair. The alternation in the natural structure of your hair makes it weak, and more prone to dryness, breakage and sun damage. So, you need to condition your hair regularly.

Hair straightening is a technique that involves softening or eliminating curls or waves from the hair. There are numerous ways in which hair may be straightened, such as using a hot iron, straightening brush, or chemical relaxer. Chemical relaxers are a more permanent way to straighten the hair. They act in much the same way as a permanent wave, only instead of curling the hair, relaxers help to straighten it. Chemical hair straightening can be costly if done by a professional. However, there is a cheaper alternative called Easy Straight. Easy Straight is a relatively inexpensive hair straightening system that can be used by non-professionals right in their own homes.

Cleanse the hair to be straightened with a mild conditioning shampoo. Towel-dry the hair by squeezing out the excess moisture using a towel. Squeeze the hair in small sections from the top of the head toward the bottom. This will help to keep the hair smooth and tangle free. Never rub the hair when towel-drying as this can cause the hair to become tangled and frizzy.

Divide the hair into six sections using a comb, and secure each section with a plastic hair clip. Put on a pair of plastic or latex gloves and apply the straightening cream quickly to each section of the hair. Start with the front sections and work toward the back of the head. Apply the straightening cream 1/2 inch away from the roots and work it down to the ends of the hair using a spatula or a hair coloring brush. Let the hair process the cream no longer than 30 minutes. Gently massage and comb through each section of hair to make sure the hair is evenly coated with the straightening cream.

Rinse the hair with tepid water until all of the straightening cream washes out. However, do not use shampoo during this process. Blow-dry the hair from the roots to the ends, using only your hands and a blow-dryer. Do not use a brush or comb at this time. Use a flatiron to further straighten the hair. Apply the neutralizing solution to the hair for the proper amount of time as listed on the product instructions included with the hair straightening system — approximately two to five minutes.

Rinse the hair under tepid running water for three minutes. Apply a gentle conditioning shampoo to the hair and rinse. Repeat this process two more times to make sure the straightening cream and neutralizer are completely washed out of the hair. Apply and massage moisturizing reconstructor into the hair, place a plastic cap over the hair for 30 minutes, and rinse thoroughly with cool water.

Dry the hair by using the towel-drying technique from Step 1. Apply shine sealer to damp hair and work thoroughly through the hair. Blow-dry and style the hair.

Overlapping and over-processing are two of the biggest hair crimes you can commit when you have relaxed hair.

How to apply a hair relaxer

When applying chemicals to your hair, you must take the necessary precautions in protecting your mane, allowing it to grow healthy and look it’s best. Overlapping and over-processing are two of the biggest hair crimes you can commit when you have relaxed hair.

Overlapping is a term used to describe when you apply fresh relaxer on top of previously relaxed hair. This is over kill on your relaxed strands – don’t do it! It’s important to let the new growth grow out to at least 1″ before you do a touch up. Relaxing your hair every 4-6 weeks is simply too short of a time frame for enough new growth to appear. I stretch my relaxers at least 10-12 weeks giving me more than enough new growth for a touch up. This way, I can clearly see where the line of demarcation is to apply my relaxer. For extra measures I like to protect my previously relaxed hair with conditioner or a thick oil to prevent possible overlapping. In the past, my hairdresser used to drench my entire head with relaxer from root to tip every 8 weeks – horrible I know! Due to my stylists’ heavily overlapping, I was vulnerable to excessive breakage.

How to apply a hair relaxer

Leaving relaxer on way too long, longer than the recommended time on your relaxer kits, is considered over-processing. Going past the suggested time frame can make your hair overly straight, harm your scalp and make you prone to breakage. Sitting with relaxer on your hair like its conditioner is not the way to go! Over-processed hair tends to be thin and extremely weak. I apply and smooth my relaxers in 20-25 minutes. I don’t sit with it in my hair. As soon as I’m done, I immediately hop in the shower, rinse thoroughly, and proceed to neutralize. I can always expect straight hair with a little texture left over. The extra texture has improved the strength and thickness of my hair over the years.

Have you committed the hair crime of overlapping and over-processing your relaxed hair? What have you done to correct the issue?