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How to prepare hair for relaxation

If you have curly or coily hair, a stylist can use a chemical relaxer to straighten your strands permanently. However, these chemicals can be harsh on the scalp and dry in the hair, so it is important that you start preparing your hair at least a week before going to the salon. Also, take care of your hair carefully after it is relaxed so that it becomes healthy and strong when you go for a touch-up.


[[[[Edit]To take care of your hair a week in advance

  1. Remove any extensions or braids. At least seven days before you plan to get your hair relaxed, remove your extensions or take out any tight hairstyles, like braids. These styles can put tension in your scalp, which can make it more sensitive to the chemical relaxer.[1]
    Prepare your hair for relaxation Step 1.jpg
    • In addition to being gentler on your hair, you can remove your braids or extensions so that you clean your hair properly when you wash it.
    • During the week leading up to your appointment, you should avoid wearing your hair in styles that will pull or pull at the scalp. Instead, choose styles such as loose ponytails, braids or buns.[2]
  2. Gently twist the hair. Divide the hair into sections and then use a wide-toothed comb to ensure that your hair is tangle-free from root to tip. If you encounter a tangle, use your fingers to gently remove it, rather than trying to pull the comb through it, as it may break the hair.[3]
    Prepare your hair for relaxation Step 2.jpg
    • If there are any tangles in the hair, it is more likely that the hair will break when you wash it. You may also not be able to shampoo your hair as thoroughly if it is tangled.
  3. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. Once your hair has come loose, go into the shower and wash it thoroughly from root to tip with a clarifying shampoo. This will remove any product buildup, oil, sweat or dirt that may be in your scalp, causing the hair to beep clean.[4]
    Prepare your hair for relaxation Step 3.jpg
    • If there is any buildup in the scalp, it can keep the relaxant from penetrating evenly into the hair, making it less effective.
  4. Treat your hair with a protein conditioner to strengthen it. Use a conditioner or reconstruct protein treatment in the hair while it is still moist and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Then rinse it thoroughly. The protein helps strengthen your hair, but it can actually make your hair brittle if you leave it on for too long or use it too often, so be sure to read carefully and follow the instructions on the treatment label.[5]
    Prepare your hair for relaxation Step 4.jpg
    • You can find protein treatments everywhere where beauty products are sold. But if you do not have one on hand, you can try making your own hair mask from protein-rich ingredients such as egg yolk, yogurt, sour cream or avocado.[6]
  5. Deepen the hair to restore moisture. Both clarifying shampoos and protein treatments can make the hair feel dry. To prevent this, apply a rich deep conditioner to the hair after rinsing out the protein treatment. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then rinse it thoroughly.[7]
    Prepare your hair for relaxing step 5.jpg
    • If your protein treatment was also a deep conditioner, or if you used conditioning ingredients like avocado, you can skip this step.
  6. Do not wash your hair again before your meeting. After washing your hair with clarifying shampoo, the scalp needs about a week to build up its natural oil. These oils, called sebum, help protect your scalp from the chemicals in the relaxer.[8]
    Prepare your hair for relaxation Step 6.jpg
    • It is okay to style your hair as normal, but avoid using products on your hair all week, including dry shampoo.
  7. Avoid activities where you sweat a lot. Try not to train vigorously during the seven days before your meeting, especially the last 48-72 hours. If you sweat, it can leave a buildup in the scalp that can cause itching and irritation, which can make you more sensitive to the relaxer.[9]
    Prepare your hair for Relaxer Step 7 version 2.jpg
    • You do not have to skip training altogether, but try to stick to activities where you do not sweat as much, such as doing yoga, going for a walk or cycling.

[[[[Edit]Protect your hair when it is relaxed

  1. Detangle the hair gently before your meeting. Comb or brush your hair thoroughly with a wide tooth comb to remove any tangles. Take your time and be careful not to scratch your scalp with your comb. It can leave small scratches on the scalp, which can make you more vulnerable to damage from the relaxer chemicals.[10]
    Prepare your hair for relaxing step 8.jpg
    • Similarly, if your scalp itches, try patting it or rubbing it, rather than scratching.
    • If your stylist has to break your hair at your meeting, it will put extra stress on your scalp, which may make it more likely to burn.
  2. Cover along the hairline with Vaseline. To protect your skin from the chemicals in the relaxer, pull back the hair with a headband or put it in a loose ponytail. Then spread a layer of petroleum jelly all the way along the hairline, as well as the tips of the ears.[11]
    Prepare your hair for Relaxer Step 9.jpg
    • If you have sensitive skin, you can also spread petroleum jelly on the scalp.
  3. Ask your stylist to use a mild or normal strength. Relaxers are typically labeled according to their strength, and you can choose between mild, normal and super strength. Even if your hair is super thick or tightly curled, it is still much better for your hair to use a relaxer with normal strength. It may take a little longer before the relaxer works, but it is less likely that the hair will break and it will leave some of your natural structure, so that your hair will have more body and strength.[12]
    Prepare your hair for relaxing step 10.jpg
    • If you have fine or wavy hair, you can try using a mild relaxer that contains ammonium thioglycolate.
    • Let your stylist know about your wishes at the beginning of meetings. For example, you could say, “I know super strength will make my hair straighter, but I really do not want to use such a harsh chemical in my hair. Is it okay if we use a normal strength instead?”
    • Keep in mind that just because a relaxer is described as “lye-free” does not necessarily mean that it is milder for your hair. Relaxants without lye contain calcium hydroxide, and although they are designed to be less irritating to the scalp, they can dry out the hair more than relaxing agents that contain sodium hydroxide or lye.[13]
  4. Be completely honest with your stylist about your hair history. If your hair has been previously treated with any chemicals, including other relaxers or dyes, it is very important to tell your stylist. If relaxer is applied to hair that has already been chemically treated, it can cause damage and breakage. By talking openly with your stylist about any other treatments you have done, they can determine the safest way to treat your hair.[14]
    Prepare your hair for relaxation Step 11.jpg
    • In most cases, your stylist will still be able to use relaxer on the new growth in your roots. However, in some cases, as if your hair is very damaged by bleach, they may recommend that you wait until your natural hair grows out more.
    • Since it can be very difficult to use only relaxer on your new growth, it is especially important to have touch-ups performed by a licensed professional.

[[[[Edit]Maintain your hair between treatments

  1. Stir up your roots every 8-10 weeks or longer. The longer you can wait between touch-ups, the easier it will be to make sure you do not overlap your relaxer. Wait at least 8-10 weeks before you have relaxed your roots, but if you can wait 12 weeks or longer, it is even better.[15]
    Prepare your hair for relaxing step 12.jpg
    • If the texture difference in your hair becomes obvious, try wearing a cute headdress or turban to stretch the time between salon visits!
  2. Use a sulfate-free shampoo every three days to gently cleanse your hair. Sulfates are detergents that can drain the natural oils from the hair. By choosing a sulphate-free shampoo, you help to preserve the hair’s natural moisture, which makes it healthier and stronger between sessions.[16]
    Prepare your hair for Relaxer Step 13.jpg
    • Try to only wash your hair 1-2 times a week to prevent it from drying out.
  3. Moisturize the hair daily with a residual conditioner or light oil. Relaxes dry your hair, so it is important that you moisturize it every day. Apply a light conditioner or hair oil to your hair every day, focusing especially on the ends, which are likely to dry out.[17]
    Prepare your hair for relaxing step 14.jpg
    • Also, apply a deep conditioner once a week. If you do not have a separate conditioner, use your regular conditioner after washing your hair and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it out.
  4. Avoid heating the styling hair to prevent further damage. Styling your hair with a hair dryer, curling iron or straightener can weaken your hair, making it more susceptible to damage. Since your hair has already been damaged by chemical processing, try to avoid using these tools as much as possible.[18]
    Prepare your hair for relaxing steps 15.jpg
    • If you plan to warm your hair, spray it generously with a heat-protective product. This can help minimize the damage to your hair.


  • Avoid using relaxer at all if your hair is severely damaged or if it has bleached.
  • Do not relax your air if you have sores or skin irritation on the scalp.


  1. https://www.bellanaija.com/2016/10/bnfrofriday-how-to-prepare-your-hair-for-relaxing-or-texlaxing-by-lade-salami/
  2. https://youtu.be/Dk0RG5UtePs
  3. https://youtu.be/wnxxnOIxUQM
  4. https://youtu.be/wnxxnOIxUQM
  5. https://www.essence.com/hair/relaxed/5-ways-thicken-relaxed-hair
  6. https://www.womansday.com/style/beauty/advice/g2276/homemade-hair-treatments/
  7. https://youtu.be/wnxxnOIxUQM
  8. https://youtu.be/Dk0RG5UtePs
  9. https://youtu.be/Dk0RG5UtePs
  10. https://youtu.be/Dk0RG5UtePs
  11. https://www.thefashionspot.com/beauty/598061-hair-relaxers/
  12. https://www.essence.com/hair/relaxed/5-ways-thicken-relaxed-hair/#172966
  13. https://www.thefashionspot.com/beauty/598061-hair-relaxers/
  14. https://youtu.be/wnxxnOIxUQM
  15. https://www.essence.com/hair/relaxed/5-ways-thicken-relaxed-hair/#172965
  16. https://www.thefashionspot.com/beauty/598061-hair-relaxers/
  17. https://www.thefashionspot.com/beauty/598061-hair-relaxers/
  18. https://www.thefashionspot.com/beauty/598061-hair-relaxers/

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