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What to Do Before Relaxing Your Hair: the 5 Key Steps to Prep Your Hair for a Relaxer (2024)

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what to do before relaxing hairLocking in that sleek, straight style? A relaxer can help, but there’s prep work involved.

  1. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo.
  2. Deep condition your hair.
  3. Apply a heat protectant.
  4. Section your hair.
  5. Apply the relaxer according to the package directions.

Key Takeaways

  • Wash hair with clarifying shampoo.
  • Deep condition hair.
  • Apply heat protectant.
  • Section hair.

The Week Before Your Appointment

The Week Before Your Appointment
The week before your relaxer appointment, deep condition your hair with a protein-packed wash and conditioner.

Avoid scalp irritation by avoiding scratching or tugging your hair.

Seal in moisture by braiding your hair or using a leave-in conditioner.

Deep Conditioning With Protein Packed Wash and Conditioner

To prep your hair for a relaxer, deep condition it with a protein-packed wash and conditioner the week before your appointment. This will help to strengthen your hair and seal in moisture, reducing the risk of damage.

Avoid Scalp Irritation

In addition to deep conditioning, avoid scalp irritation by:

  • Not washing your hair or scratching your scalp for at least 1 week before your relaxer appointment.
  • Avoiding sweating, heat styling, and harsh chemicals as well.

Seal in Moisture

What are some ways to seal in moisture before relaxing your hair?

  • Deep condition your hair.
  • Avoid heat styling.
  • Use oils to protect your scalp.

The Day Of; Before You Go to Your Appointment

The Day Of; Before You Go to Your Appointment
The day of your relaxer appointment, you’ll need to:

  • Section and detangle your hair
  • Protect your scalp with oils
  • Protect your hairline and previously relaxed hair

Section and Detangle Your Hair

On the day of your appointment,

  • Part your hair into 4 or more sections
  • Detangle each section with a wide-tooth comb.
  • Avoid tangles by using a leave-in conditioner and working in small sections.
  • Apply oil to your scalp to protect it from the relaxer.

Protect Your Scalp With Oils

Before you go to your hair relaxing appointment, make sure to protect your scalp by applying oils.

You can use any type of oil, but some good options include coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil.

Apply a generous amount of oil to your scalp and hair, and then part your hair into sections.

Work the oil through each section, making sure to coat your scalp and hair thoroughly.

Let the oil sit for at least 30 minutes before you go to your appointment.

Protect Hairline and Previously Relaxed Hair

Protect your hairline and previously relaxed hair by applying a base cream to these areas before going to your relaxer appointment.

Use petroleum jelly as an excellent base.

Part your hair into sections for better application.

Keep your hair moisturized and avoid harsh chemicals and heat styling.

Reasons to Relax Your Hair

Reasons to Relax Your Hair
There are several reasons why you might choose to relax your hair.

One reason is that it can be a low maintenance option, as relaxed hair requires less daily styling and manipulation.

Additionally, relaxing your hair can reduce frizz and increase shine, giving your locks a sleeker appearance.

Lastly, some individuals may opt for a relaxer to potentially minimize damage caused by heat styling or other chemical treatments.

Low Maintenance

When it comes to low maintenance, relaxing your hair is a great option.

It saves time by reducing the need for daily styling.

With relaxed hair, you’ll experience less frizz and damage while enjoying more shine and effortless beauty.

Less Frizz, More Shine

To achieve less frizz and more shine, relaxers are a popular choice for those seeking low-maintenance hair with a sleek appearance.

  • Less damage
  • More control
  • Easier styling
  • Smoother hair
  • Healthier hair

Potential for Less Damage

Relaxing your hair can help reduce:

  • Breakage
  • Tugging
  • Heat styling
  • Product build-up
  • Styling time
Before Relaxing After Relaxing

More breakage

More tugging

More heat styling

More product build-up

More styling time

Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Relaxing Your Hair

Things You Shouldn
Don’t dye your hair chemically before relaxing it, as this can damage your hair and make the relaxer less effective.

Avoid strenuous activities before relaxing your hair, as this can cause your scalp to sweat and make the relaxer less effective.

Make sure to wash your hair thoroughly before relaxing it, as this will help to remove any dirt or product buildup that could interfere with the relaxer.

Avoid Chemical Dyes

Avoid chemical dyes before relaxing your hair, as they can damage your hair and make the relaxer process less effective.

You should also avoid:

  • Heat styling
  • Strenuous activities
  • Shampooing your hair
  • Brushing your hair too much

in the days leading up to your relaxer appointment.

Avoid Strenuous Activities

Avoid strenuous activities before your relaxer appointment, as these can cause your hair to break and damage the relaxer.

  • Avoid sweating
  • Avoid working out
  • Avoid physical activity

How Often Should You Relax Your Hair?

How Often Should You Relax Your Hair
After prepping your hair for a relaxer, you’ll want to make sure you’re relaxing it as often as needed.

  • Your hair type:
    • If you have fine or thin hair, you may need to relax it more often than someone with thick or coarse hair.
  • Your lifestyle:
    • If you exercise or sweat a lot, you may need to relax your hair more often to prevent it from becoming frizzy.
  • Your hair growth rate:
    • If your hair grows quickly, you may need to relax it more often than someone with slower-growing hair.
  • Your personal preference:
    • Some people prefer to relax their hair every 2-3 months, while others may only need to do it every 4-6 months.
  • The advice of your stylist:
    • Your stylist can help you determine the best frequency for relaxing your hair based on your individual needs.

Maintaining Your Hair Between Treatments

Maintaining Your Hair Between Treatments
To maintain your hair between relaxer treatments, there are several key steps you should follow:

First, limit the use of heat styling tools to minimize damage and breakage.

Second, timing is important – avoid touching up your relaxer too frequently to prevent overprocessing and weakening of the hair.

Third, deep condition regularly to restore moisture and nourishment to your strands.

Fourth, opt for a gentle shampoo that won’t strip away natural oils or disrupt the pH balance of your scalp.

Lastly, consider incorporating protein treatments into your routine to strengthen and fortify chemically treated hair.

Limit Heat Styling

Limit heat styling between relaxer treatments by:

Trim split ends regularly.

Timing of Touch-Ups

In addition to limiting heat styling, space out your touch-ups every 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 weeks to maintain the health of your hair.

Deep Conditioning

To maintain the health and strength of your hair between relaxer treatments, regularly deep condition your hair using a heat protectant and protein treatment.

Avoid harsh chemicals and heat styling.

Gentle Shampooing

Wash your hair gently using a sulfate-free shampoo to maintain the health of your relaxed hair between treatments.

Avoid harsh chemicals, use lukewarm water, deep condition, and use a wide-toothed comb.

Protein Treatments

For maintaining your hair between relaxer treatments, it’s important to incorporate protein treatments into your routine.

What Does a Relaxer Do?

What Does a Relaxer Do
When you apply a relaxer to your hair, it chemically alters the structure of your curls or waves, allowing them to become straighter and more manageable.

A relaxer breaks down the disulfide bonds in your hair, which are responsible for maintaining its natural curl pattern. This process opens up the hair cuticle and removes the curl pattern, resulting in straightened strands.

The chemical composition of a relaxer changes the texture of your hair by permanently altering its natural state. By applying a relaxer, you can achieve smoother and sleeker tresses that require less maintenance and styling time.

However, it’s important to note that relaxing your hair also requires proper care post-treatment to maintain its health and prevent damage.

Types of Relaxers

Types of Relaxers
There are different types of relaxers available for achieving straight, smooth hair. When choosing a relaxer, it’s important to consider your hair type and desired results.

Here are three common types of relaxers:

  1. Permanent Chemical Relaxers:

These contain thioglycolate or lye and permanently alter the structure of the hair bonds to achieve straightness.

  1. No-Lye Relaxers:

These alternatives to lye-based relaxers use other alkaline ingredients like guanidine hydroxide or calcium hydroxide.

3.Keratin Treatments:

While not traditional chemical relaxers, keratin treatments work by infusing keratin into the hair shaft, reducing frizz and making it easier to manage.

Each type has its own benefits and considerations, so consult with a professional stylist who can recommend the best option for your specific needs.

How to Care for Relaxed Hai

How to Care for Relaxed Hai
After your relaxer, it’s important to take good care of your hair to keep it healthy and looking its best.

  1. Avoid heat styling as much as possible.
  2. Deep condition your hair regularly.
  3. Use sulfate-free products and trim regularly.

By following these tips, you can help keep your relaxed hair healthy and looking great for longer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a relaxer and a texturizer?

A relaxer straightens your hair, while a texturizer adds waves or curls.

A relaxer is a chemical process that uses strong chemicals to break down the bonds in your hair, making it straighter.

A texturizer is a milder chemical process that uses weaker chemicals to add waves or curls to your hair.

How long does a relaxer last?

A relaxer can last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, depending on your hair type and how often you wash it.

What are the side effects of a relaxer?

Relaxers can cause:

  • Hair loss
  • Scalp irritation
  • Allergic reactions.

It’s important to follow the aftercare instructions carefully to avoid these side effects.

Can I relax my hair if I have color-treated hair?

You can relax your hair if it’s color-treated, but it’s important to do so carefully.

Use a mild relaxer and follow the directions carefully.

You may also want to do a patch test before applying the relaxer to your entire head of hair.

What is the best way to care for relaxed hair?

To care for relaxed hair, you should:

  • Condition your hair regularly.
  • Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.
  • Avoid heat styling tools.
  • Protect your hair from the sun.
  • Get regular trims.


By following these 5 key steps, you can help ensure that your hair is properly prepped for a relaxer and that you get the sleek, straight style you want without any damage.

  1. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo.
  2. Apply a deep conditioner to your hair and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Rinse out the deep conditioner and towel-dry your hair.
  4. Section your hair into four quadrants.
  5. Apply the relaxer to your hair, starting at the nape of your neck and working your way up.
  6. Follow the relaxer manufacturer’s instructions for processing time.
  7. Rinse out the relaxer thoroughly and shampoo your hair.
  8. Apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair and style as desired.
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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.