So you want to chemically alter your curls and you are wondering what you should do before you relax your hair. Relaxing your natural hair is a big step to take; it is also very permanent solution to getting straighter hair. Which means, if you decide to change your mind tomorrow then you might have a problem because the results are lasting. There are only two ways to get rid of relaxers, chop off your hair to your natural hair growth otherwise called the big chop or to let your hair grow out and clip off the relaxed parts gradually. Here are some things to consider for newbies and other experienced ladies who have or about to get a relaxer:
1. Find a reputable hair care professional and do a consultation. This consultation should include a ‘strand test’ to determine what is the best type and strength of chemical to use on your particular hair. The test will also determine the elasticity and strength of your hair and the condition of your scalp. Additionally, people who are relaxed for a while can do a strand assessment at home before relaxing.
2. If you are given the go-ahead to relax your hair by the professional, avoid scratching, brushing or combing the hair before your session because this agitation may leave little cuts on the scalp and when the chemical comes into contact with these cuts it can burn.
3. Avoid wearing hats or tie-heads or anything that will be too tight around your hair edges. This will also create tender spots around your head that may be prone to getting chemical burns.
4. Do not wash or wet your hair at least two days before getting a relaxer. Relaxers are best applied on dry hair. If you agitate the scalp by washing your hair, the stylist may not relax your hair on that day.
5. For ladies who are going to do touch-ups it is best to do a hot oil treatment the week before with a mild protein before relaxing hair. There will be a difference in hair shedding. Hot oil treatments can be done at home with a combination of a carrier oil (coconut, castor or olive) and an essence oil (peppermint, rosemary or lavender).
6. If you had your hair in braids or had a weave in your hair, give your hair at least two weeks before you relax your hair. The two-week period is a breather for your hair and will give your scalp a chance to rest. In this time, you can treat your hair to a protein and moisture infused treatment.
7. Do not under any circumstance, allow your hair stylist to relax hair that has already been relaxed, this includes overlapping already processed hair and touching up your ends, if you are not sure that you have enough new growth to warrant a session at the hairdressers wait until you do.