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Hair: Relaxers Done at Home – How to do Them Correctly

As a long time relaxer veteran, I took almost a year off from getting relaxers.  The attempt was to go natural, but with a wedding coming up, the hot weather, and not wanting to looking like I have a mini afro with curly-q’s in parts of my hair, I decided to return to my relaxers and get a jump start on the warm weather at just 41 weeks.

Dark&LovelyI decided to do the relaxer at home (until I can get an appointment to go out to Portland to see my stylist in July) because the weather is starting to heat up and now we have a combination of hot days and rainy/humid days which my hair is no match for, and it is starting to not hold a press or flat iron style.  I have returned to using Dark & Lovely because it’s what I have used before I started using Elasta QP.

Dark&Lovely-ContentsBecause relaxer products are constantly changing, it’s important to understand the process, know what’s in the box, and what you should do to protect your hair and your edges at all times prior to doing a relaxer at home.  Ok…let’s move on.

Next, selecting a relaxer strength is important.  The strengths are based on your individual hair type…regular, mild and super.  Super is designed for those who have super coarse hair.  Mild is designed for those who have medium to course hair, and regular is designed for those whose hair is fine and falls outside of those parameters previously mentioned.  This is why it’s important that you know your hair type before choosing to do a relaxer at home.

NOTE:  Just because they make the products available to do at home does not mean that you cannot suffer some damage.  Be extremely careful if you choose this method.

If this is your first relaxer, do a strand test to make sure there is no negative reactions from the product, and do a skin test to make sure you will not have an allergic reaction to the product.  If you have any negative reactions to the product, DO NOT USE THE PRODUCT and consult your physician and talk with a professional hair care specialist.

The process that goes into doing a relaxer at home is not that long, but should be very well guarded.  I recommend you a Before & After Protein Complex on your hair approximately an hour before you apply the cream relaxer.  Let your hair air dry or use a dryer set on a cool setting or sit under a portable dryer under a cool setting.  Remember to not scratch your scalp to avoid any skin irritation.

If you wash your hair, you should wait 24 – 48 hours before applying a relaxer to your hair.  After the Before & After Protein Complex has completely dried, apply some vaseline or an oil around your head, the edges of your forehead, ears, and nape of your neck to avoid any burning.  Section your hair in four sections.

If the relaxer product you are using calls for it to be mixed, make sure you’ve poured all of the contents into the cream and mix it thoroughly.  Check to make sure it is been mixed thoroughly, scraping the sides and bottom to ensure all cream has been mixed in using the Cream Activator (shown above).

Dark&Lovely-Cream MixedUsing a pair of plastic gloves (I keep box of gloves specifically for this purpose) use the stirring stick or an applicator and part your hair using a rat tailed comb accordingly, applying the relaxer cream to about an inch to two inches to cover the new growth.  You will have to work it through the strands, careful to not scratch your scalp, but pressing enough to get it in.  Do this to all sections of your hair working as quickly as possible and being careful as to not get it on the scalp (but it happens, so don’t be alarmed).  It should take yo no longer than 15 – 20 minutes to apply the relaxer cream to your entire head.  A little longer if this is your first relaxer.

Once you have applied the cream to all of the new growth, wait for about five to ten minutes, or until you start to feel a burn.  At this point it is time to wash it out immediately.

Dark&Lovely-Shampoo and ConditionerI recommend setting up all of your shampoo and conditioning products, using what came with the cream relaxer, prior to applying it to your hair.  This will help you save time in trying to get everything together to prepare to rinse out the cream relaxer and wash your hair.  It will help you cut down on looking for whatever else you need.  Remember to use the shampoo and conditioner and other products that come with your relaxer cream.  These are the moisturizers and conditioning you need for your hair.

What you can also do, too is (if you have not already done so) have your ends trimmed prior to doing the cream relaxer or you can do it afterwards.  In either case, you should always make it a point to have your ends trimmed every to six to eight weeks when it is time to do a relaxer touch up.  In between relaxer touch up get protein treatments to act as an additional defense to maintaining healthy hair.

Key points to remember when wearing relaxers:

  1. Your hair will break off if regular trims are not maintained and you do not develop a regular hair care routine to maintain the upkeep of a relaxer.
  2. You must keep your hair and scalp oiled to avoid dandruff and dryness that can cause your hair to break off
  3. Damage can occur of you do not wash your hair once every week.  If you choose to wash your hair every other week, wear protective styles that will protect your hair from breakage.
  4. Wrap your hair every night using a silk or satin scarf
  5. Use wide tooth combs that will not cause breakage and brushes with soft bristles.
  6. Be careful of products that contain a high amount of alcohol.  They can dry out your hair.
  7. If you try new products be sure to do your research to avoid causing any damage.

Wearing relaxers are a job within themselves just like the upkeep of natural hair and weaves.  You have to practice extremely good hair care management to ensure long term healthy hair.  Don’t second guess yourself if whether or not you feel comfortable doing a relaxer at home.  When in doubt, set the money aside and go to a professional stylist — one who is not scissor happy, not in the industry just for the money, but someone who loves what they do and has and shows compassion in the work they do.

If you have any questions about do-it-at-home relaxers, feel free to post your comment and/or question here or email me at savvyhair101@gmail.com.

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