5 basic dos and don’ts of using relaxers

These are the most basic dos and don’ts to keep in mind when using relaxers. Some may seem rudimentary and obvious but they are worth mentioning because many people know about them but don’t necessarily understand the importance of doing them or staying away from some.


  1. Do condition your hair

It is important that you condition your hair every time you wash it and especially on the day of using a relaxer.Conditioners help to strengthen and nourish hair.

  • Do use a neutralizing shampoo

Neutralizing shampoo is needed to stop the relaxing process. So, after you’ve used a relaxer and the time specified for application has passed, you have to rinse out the relaxer. You then have to use a neutralizing shampoo so that all the relaxer can be removed from your hair. Do2-3 washes with the neutralizing shampoo after every time you relax your hair.

  • Do section your hair

Dividing your hair into small sections will ensure that you apply the relaxer evenly throughout your hair. It will also prevent you from using too much of the relaxer. Sectioning hair will make the application process easier and quicker.

  • Do use a protein treatment

The protein in hair gets striped once a relaxer has been used. Hence the need to use protein treatments, they work to replace the proteins removed by relaxers. Balance this by doing moisture treatments so that you don’t have protein overload.  

  • Do base your scalp

Base your scalp and hairline with an oil,Vaseline or hair food to protect your scalp. This is due to the fact that the relaxer is (or rather should be) applied from the roots of the hair till where the new growth stops (and the previously relaxed hair begins). By basing your scalp, your assisting in preventing scalp burns.


  1. Don’t wash your hair before using a relaxer

Washing or simply wetting your hair before applying a relaxer will lead to burning once the chemical has been applied. Do not shampoo or wet your hair for at least one week before using a relaxer. On the day of using a relaxer, do not use any hair products before applying the relaxer; the only exception is basing your scalp.

  • Don’t leave the relaxer on for too long.

The time recommended on the relaxers is there for a reason. Failure to adhere to the time stipulated time will result in scalp burns and thinning of hair. Do not wait for the relaxer to start burning. If you feel a burning or tingling sensation before the recommended time has lapsed; wash it out immediately and leave it in for a shorter period the next time you relax your hair. Leaving the relaxer on for too long will not make the relaxed hair “last longer” before you’re due for another one.

  • Don’t comb the relaxer through

Combing through the relaxer will cause severe breakage. The chemical only needs to be smoothed and worked through the hair with your hands. Protect your hands by wearing a pair of latex gloves.

  • Don’t overlap chemicals

When its time to relax your hair again, make sure that you don’t apply the relaxer over the relaxed hair. This is called over-processing which will cause damage and breakage. Apply the relaxer only onto the new growth

  • Don’t relax your hair too often

Spread out the frequency of doing a relaxer so that your hair can recover from the harsh chemicals found in relaxers.Relaxing hair too often thins it out causing breakage, which may lead to hair loss. Aim to relax your hair no sooner than 8 weeks after using it; that’s roughly relaxing your hair 2-3 times a year.

The dos and don’ts mentioned above are only the most basic ones, the list can go on forever. Look out for more topics of relaxed hair in articles to come which go into more details.


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