In the beginning of my hair journey, I used to completely depend on salons to get my hair relaxed. Even once, I had a really bad experience where it basically resulted in me getting a horrible chemical burn on my neck. The lady (I’m assuming because I obviously couldn’t see) applied the relaxer in a very sloppy manner (plus the fact that I used to get the relaxer applied from roots to tips didn’t help) and got some on my neck and left it there for about 45 minutes or so. Long story short, I was sporting a ridiculous (and disgusting) big chemical burn for the few following months.
I used to leave the relaxer on my head for such a long time; I thought that the way to know that it was “working” was if it started burning
(Note: you should NEVER feel any burning sensation or even that weird itchy feeling while you have a relaxer on your head. It will NOT give you better results in any way, it will only damage your scalp and hair. Please always use a timer and try not to exceed the suggested amount of time that is on the relaxer instructions. If you start experiencing these sensations, rinse the relaxer out IMMEDIATELY regardless if you relax your hair at home or not).
Now, I’m completley salon-free and haven’t been in one since 2012. Anyways, I relaxed my hair this weekend and I wanted to show you guys how I do it at home:
The week before my relaxer, I shampooed my hair with the ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo (here) and did a hard protein treatment with the Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment (here). The two-step treatment is very harsh (I’ll have a tutorial on how I use it soon) but my hair is not protein sensitive at all, so it handles hard protein treatments well, but I also sometimes use the ORS Hair Mayonnaise (here) which has a lot less protein, so if you feel that the two-step is too much for you, I suggest the hair mayo. This prepares my hair for the chemicals that I’m about to put in it on the following week, by ensuring that it is as strong as possible.
During the week leading up to the day that I will relax, I moisturize and seal every day and make sure to oil my scalp at least twice in order to add a bit of protection to my scalp. I alternate between a protein moisturizer and a hydrating moisturizer, but I make sure to use CHI Keratin Mist (here) and seal with olive oil (here) on the day before my relaxer.
On the day of the relaxer, I put vaseline (here) on my hairline, ears and neck to protect from any accidental spillage of the relaxer. Since I am texlaxed (I don’t relax bone straight, I like to leave a bit of texture in my hair), I also add a generous layer of vaseline to my scalp and ends. If I didn’t texlax, I would use a lighter oil (like olive or avocado oil) on my scalp but I would still put the vaseline to my ends and length of my previously relaxed hair, to protect them when I rinsed the relaxer out.
My hair has been matting a lot lately so I didn’t have the patience to deal with my new growth anymore. I relaxed at 11 weeks post (a little under three months but usually I wait 3 to 4 months) and I used the same relaxer that I have always used, even before my hair journey which is the ORS No-Lye Relaxer in Normal (here). Since Elle’s hair is thicker than mine, she uses the same relaxer in Extra Strength, so decide on which relaxer strength depending on the thickness and resistance of your hair. Before applying the relaxer, make sure to organise all of the tools you will need such as: a timer, gloves, wooden spatula (to mix the relaxer), towels, toilet paper (to remove any relaxer from places that it might have spilled), a protein conditioner and a neutralising shampoo. In my case, most of these (the ones underlined) came in the relaxer box.
Since I’ve never lived alone before, Elle does my relaxer for me but Ci lives alone and she relaxes her own hair, but we still follow the same steps. Divide your hair into four (or more) sections, to keep the relaxer application organised and stress free. I like to start in the back because my hair in the front is of a looser pattern than the back, therefore in order for me to get an even texture throughout my whole head, I need to start with the back.
Try your hardest not to add any relaxer to your scalp, neck or ears and make sure that when you apply the relaxer that you only apply to the hair that has never been previously relaxed; make sure that the ends are visibly free from relaxer. DO NOT use any combs to smooth it out, only your fingers, if you do so, you run the risk of damaging your scalp or even injuring yourself.
Usually I rinse the relaxer out after about 15 minutes (this includes application and smoothing) but this time, since I had such a very thick layer of vaseline on my scalp, I rinsed after approximately 25 minutes (my scalp was not itchy or burning at any point). When I finished rinsing all of the relaxer with water, instead of adding the neutralising shampoo right away, I add a protein treatment to my hair, the Aphogee Keratin 2-Minute Reconstructor (here), to put back the protein that it lost during the relaxing process. I leave the treatment in my hair for exactly 2 minutes.
After I do the quick protein treatment, I shampoo my hair at least 5 times (to ensure that all of the relaxer is out of my hair) with the neutralising shampoo that comes in the box which was the ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo (here again). The first of the 5 times that I apply the shampoo, instead of rinsing it out right away, I let it sit in my hair for about 5 minutes. The other four times (or more) I put it in my hair, work it in for about one minute then I rinse and repeat until the little packet is finished.
After shampooing, I dry my hair with a t-shirt for about 10 minutes, then I add the protein treatment that comes with the relaxer to my damp hair and deep condition with it for at least 1 hour. I always use the ORS Replenishing Conditioner (here) because it makes my hair feel very strong but not hard from protein overload (given that I have used a lot of protein products so far); it has the perfect amount of protein for my hair. After deep conditioning, I dry my hair with a t-shirt again and add my usual leave-in conditioner, the Kinky Curly Knot Today Conditioner (here) and I seal with either coconut (here) or olive oil (here) or even a mix of the two.
After I relax my hair, I never do anything to my hair. I usually just let it air-dry and put it in a bun. If I want to straighten my hair, I wait a week or two after my relaxer to do so, just to give my hair some time to recover from the amount of manipulation and harsh chemicals that it went through during the relaxer process.
I love leaving a little bit of texture because it makes my hair appear thicker than it actually is. These are the pictures before and after I got with my relaxer:
I love relaxing my hair because I get to see how much length I was able to retain in the 3 months or so, that I’ve been stretching my relaxer. When my hair is a lot of weeks post relaxer (8 weeks +), I tend to leave it alone and not manipulate it very much (i.e.: straighten it), so I always get a little surprise on relaxer day.
I hope you guys learned something from the way that I relax my hair. Hopefully you realize (like we did) that you don’t need to depend on a salon to get the relaxer results that you want; trust me, your wallets will thank us. For more information on what we do to our hair when we are not relaxing click here or if you want to know a little bit about our hair before our journey, click here.
As always, if you have any requests or questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below!