Thursday, 15 August 2013

How to Relax (Retouch) Hair Properly

A lot of ladies go to get their hair relaxed without actually knowing what they should be watching out for, there are also some ladies who relax their hair themselves and do not do so properly – hence this post. Please note that there are certain precautions to take before actually relaxing your hair and I have covered that in a previous post here.  For how to relax your hair properly please keep reading:

Base your scalp (optional): It is important that you base your scalp to prevent the relaxer from accidentally getting on your scalp. You can use a heavy butter to do this or a light oil, it really just depends on what works for you. I now use a light oil on my scalp because using a butter left my hair slightly under processed. Separate and part each section of your hair until the entire scalp is covered with the oil or butter. I however have to state that basing your scalp is an optional step.



Protect the perimeter around your head: It is very important that you apply some petroleum jelly or the protective jelly that comes with box relaxers on your hairline, nape, top of the ears and edges to prevent any chemical damage when relaxing your hair.

Protect your previously relaxed hair (optional): This step is optional but it is for those who want to properly protect their hair. Apply a heavy cream, conditioner or light oil to your previously relaxed hair to protect the hair better and to stop any relaxer that might actually get onto the hair from fully penetrating the hair shaft. I now mostly just use an oil on my previously relaxed hair.



Apply the relaxer: Divide hair into four or more sections, you can use some clips to hold the sections in place. Make thin parts and apply the relaxer to the new growth only using a relaxer brush (sprush), wooden spatula that comes with box relaxers or the back of a small comb. This is where a lot of people make mistakes because most hairstylists apply the relaxer over the entire hair including hair that is already relaxed. Please note that it is very important to only relax the new growth or you will end up with hair that is severely over processed which will eventually lead to acute breakage. I therefore need to stress again - Never relax hair that has been previously relaxed. The exception to this rule however will be in a case where some parts of your hair are under processed (in this instance you may apply relaxer to previously relaxed hair) this is known as a corrective relaxer or when relaxing natural hair for the first time.  Make sure that in applying the relaxer it does not get on your scalp, as a relaxer is meant to be applied on the hair alone. Continue applying the relaxer section by section and so forth until everything is done. After you have applied the relaxer to the four sections of hair, reapply and gently work the relaxer through the sections of hair.

You may choose to very gently comb through each section of new growth at this point to ensure that the hair is properly relaxed, please note that this step is completely optional. The texture of your hair will determine how long you can leave the relaxer on. You may refer to the product instructions for more details.


Rinse relaxer off with warm/lukewarm water: Next rinse your hair with warm/lukewarm water ensuring that you remove all visible traces of the relaxer.

Wash the hair with a neutralizing shampoo: The next step is to use a neutralizing shampoo to wash your hair, an example of a neutralizing shampoo which is easily available is the Organic Root Stimulator Creamy Aloe Shampoo. It is important that you use no other sort of shampoo except one which will actually neutralize the harsh effects of the relaxer. Leave the neutralizing shampoo on the hair for five minutes at a time without rinsing off to ensure that the hair is completely neutralized and the relaxer process is stopped. Repeat the wash at least twice or thrice making sure that the shampoo is left on the hair for at least five minutes each time. This is also one of the important steps in the relaxer process and one where a lot of people make mistakes. Hair breakage, and damage are some of the consequences of not leaving the neutralizing shampoo in for long enough, a colour indicating neutralizing shampoo will also help in this regard.



Mid step Protein Treatment (Optional): Since this is a hair blog it is important that I indicate every method out there. This is an optional method I used in the past when I relaxed my own hair myself. In my opinion I do not think this process makes any real difference to the hair but it is an excellent method to try out if you want to. After rinsing the hair thoroughly, you can do a mid step protein treatment (by applying a protein conditioner) to strengthen the hair after the relaxer process and before the neutralizing stage. Please note that to do this treatment you should leave the protein conditioner for no longer than two – five minutes so that your hair does not become damaged. A good conditioner to use in this instance is the Aphogee 2minute Reconstructor. Apply the conditioner throughout your hair, cover with a plastic cap for about 2 minutes, rinse and follow the step above by using a neutralizing shampoo to wash the rest of the relaxer off.

Deep conditioning treatment: It is important you use a deep conditioner(s) with both protein and moisture. I usually just mix a protein and moisturising conditioner together however you might want to do a protein deep condition first and then follow up with a moisture conditioner. Ensure that the deep conditioner is applied to all parts of your hair, leave on hair for the amount of time desired and then rinse.

You can use a neutralizing shampoo again on your next wash day following the relaxer treatment to be sure that any trace of relaxer is washed off the hair. Please be sure to wait at least six to eight weeks before your next relaxer treatment; however it is recommended that you stretch your relaxer to at least eight weeks.

Hope this post has been beneficial, kindly leave any comments or questions you might have and I will gladly respond.

TONKABELLE, xoxo



When it was dark, you always carried the sun in your hand for me - Sean O'Casey, Three More Plays: The Sliver Tassie, Purple Dust, Red Roses for me


24 comments:

  1. Great tips! I've never done a mid step protein treatment before but I have some Aphogee 2 min Reconstructor that I don't use any more (it has mineral oil) so I think I will give it a try on my next touch up since its going to get shampooed out anyway.

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    1. Thanks dear, definitely give it a try. It actually strengthens the hair.

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  2. Love the tips Tonkabelle. I've never tried the mid protein step but always hear good things about it x

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    1. Thanks for commenting Lesley love, xx

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    2. Thanks for your comment, Lesley dear, xx

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  3. Thanks for this blog Tonkabelle. It is quite informative. Saw it first at Nairaland and followed it to your blog page. What kinds of moisture conditioner are there? How can I identify a moisture conditioner?

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    1. Hey dear, I actually have a post on deep conditioners here is the link to it:
      http://wurassecrethair.blogspot.com/2012/10/deep-conditioning.html

      To identify one look out for ingredients such as water (aqua), humectants like glycerine. The label might also indicate it is a moisture conditioner.

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  4. This is a very informative post. I wish all stylists could come here and learn how to properly relax hair. Well done girl.

    www.stylefash25.blogspot.com

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  5. Very nicely done. I love it when a process, such as relaxing one's hair, is broken down to its simplest parts, especially considering the number of ladies starting to do their own hair instead of relying on a stylist is increasing. Personally, I do all of the "optional" steps, except the midprotein. I am waaaaaayyyyyyy too paranoid about the relaxer not being neutralized. Speaking of neutralizing the relaxer, am I the only one that shampoos my hair about 6-7 times with the colour signal shampoo and the foam STILL looks a little pink???? It drives me crazy!

    therandomphoenix.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks you dear Phoenix for your lovely comment dear Phoenix, xx

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  6. Very stylist post! I will apply this later on my hair.

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  7. I jst relaxed ♍y hair usin d steps xcept d optional n mid protein kind of stressful 4 me #smiles# bt i can say u ve done a gud job in ur xplanatns n 4 d 1st tym am Lovin d way my hair looks.tnks u ar a darlin. Thexana

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    1. I am glad dear, thanks for your comment, xx

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  8. Hmmm....I have been so wrong for so long,thank you!

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    1. You are welcome dear thanks for your comment, xx

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  9. I went to professionals to relax my hair and unfortunately this has cost me more damage than good. When I was doing diy my hair was thin but at least it wasn't breaking and it was also growing. Since changing from dark and lovely as recommended by my hairstylist to Mizani, my hair is thick which is good but in the middle it's under processed. I've stressed this during my last visit bit I found after one wash, my hair goes back to frizzy and hard and in the middle looks and even feels under processed.combing it is not even an option as the amount that comes off is heart breaking. I brush it with a big brush and tie it up cover the middle part. I'm definitely going back to dark and lovely but my concern is how long I should wait before switching relaxers again as I'd waited for 3 months before this switch that ruined my hair. Ps, I haven't changed anything as far as the oils and moisturisers so I'm thinking it can't be that. Please please help.

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    1. I am sorry about your stylist, you can try switching to a new stylist to see if your hair will be handled better. If you are sure it is only the relaxer that has changed I will advise that you wait at least 2 months before going back to Dark & Lovely, the longer you can stretch the better. Hope I have been able to help, xx

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  10. I do treat my hair with all kinds of oil and my has under growth and I am planning to retouch my hair maybe next year or so. My question is after retouching can I use apple vinegar to rinse my hair

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  11. Do we hv to apply the nutrializer to the early relaxed hair also???

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  12. Do we hv to apply the nutrializer to the early relaxed hair also???

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  13. Thanks for the info dear. I want to transition from natural hair to relaxed but the thoughts of how my hair was before i transitioned to natural hair makes me shudder. It was brownish and the strands were so thin and they cut too bad. I'm thinking of doing a very light relaxing, probably mixing the relaxer with oil.. Is it okay, will it being under processed affect my hair later, considering what u said that one should not relax already relaxed portions of hair??

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    1. Hey dear, apologies for my late response. You can definitely texlax your hair this is what would happen when you mix some oil with your relaxer, your hair will be left slightly under processed. This is fine as having texlaxed hair means your hair is not relaxed bone straight. I currently texalax my hair so do refer to previous posts to find out more and I have a blog post on texlaxing - please search for it on the blog using the search bar. However if you do decide later on that you want bone straight relaxed hair, then you can do a corrective relaxer. A corrective relaxer is only needed in exceptional cases. As long as you care for your texlaxed hair properly you should not have any problems wash, deep condition, moisturise and seal and you should be fine. Hope I have been able to help.

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