So you’ve marked your calendar to count down the days to your next relaxer service at the salon. But you should know that waiting for your next appointment isn’t simple and passive. Do you know what to do before relaxing your hair?
The truth is, you can’t just be reckless with your hair for weeks and then walk into the salon and sit pretty for the next couple of hours, crossing your fingers that nothing goes wrong.
A lot of work goes into preparing for your big day.
You need to pamper and care for your hair in the weeks and days leading up to your relaxer session to minimize hair damage and chemical burns on your scalp.
Going the extra mile to make sure your hair is ready for the process ensures that you go out of the salon with sleek, beautiful, straight locks and not a dreaded (or worse, painful) hair malfunction.
Why You Should Prep Your Hair Before Getting It Relaxed
It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, relaxing is a chemical process.
And like all chemical treatments, your hair will be susceptible to damage when you undergo it.
Relaxers contain lye, a harsh chemical that penetrates your hair shaft to loosen up and straighten your curly texture.
Lye can end up damaging your hair, leaving it stiff, dry, and fragile.
If you have a sensitive scalp, it can even cause serious burns on your scalp.
These burns can lead to scarring and hair loss which is difficult to reverse.
While relaxing your hair isn’t as damaging as other, more intense procedures like bleaching, it’s still wise to take extra precautions.
Protect hair against damage
Proper prep is worth it, lest you face weeks and months of dead hair that you can’t seem to bring back to life.
Mentally preparing yourself for the possibilities is important, but it’s better to take a proactive stance on it, too.
Do this by prepping your hair with as much love and attention you can give.
Prepping for relaxer day all boils down to two things: ensuring your scalp is stress-free and your hair is strong, healthy, and ready to withstand most of the damage it will face during the treatment.
Protect scalp from chemical burns
Sensitive scalps are prone to burning when there are harsh chemicals involved.
If your skin gets burned, it hampers healthy hair growth.
It can even lead to scarring so severe that hair will stop growing out of it.
So your scalp mustn’t be so sensitive before you come in for your appointment.
And as for your hair, you’ll have to fortify and build it up as much as you can so that it maintains its integrity after your relaxing session.
The short of it is that you need to nourish it sufficiently so that it can stand a chance against your harsh relaxer.
What To Do Before Relaxing Your Hair
To make sure your hair is ready for relaxing day, keep it strong and nourished.
That way, your locks can be ready for anything.
Here are some of the things you can do before your treatment to give your hair the best chance at staying healthy:
Know when to schedule your appointments
You should schedule your appointment at least two months after your last.
If you’re going for a relaxer touch-up for your roots, make sure your last relaxer service was at least two months ago.
It’s crucial to stretch the time between your sessions so that your hair doesn’t fall victim to overprocessing, which may result in hair fall, breakage, and super weak hair.
You also should never book your appointment alongside another chemical process, like coloring or adding highlights to your hair.
Your hair can only take so much damage from these salon treatments, so you need to space them out as much as possible.
Moisturize and condition your hair often
In the days leading up to your relaxer service, use light leave-in conditioners to keep your hair nourished and hydrated.
You could also use an intensive deep conditioner the week before your treatment.
Relaxers tend to dry out the hair, so it’s essential to prepare your mane by feeding it all the moisture it needs to compensate for that.
This is especially important for hair that is already damaged, to begin with.
Moisturizing your hair often throughout the week will boost your hair’s elasticity.
The stronger and more elastic your hair, the better it can take relaxer without incurring severe damage.
It will also quickly bounce back from the tension of the treatment.
Strengthen your hair with a protein treatment
One week before you get your hair relaxed, fortify your strands with a high-quality protein mask in the shower.
Chemical processes break down the natural proteins in your hair, so it’s good to prep your tresses by doubling down on protein.
This helps your locks become more resilient against the incoming damage from your relaxer.
Detangle your hair throughout the week
Make sure you don’t have any tangles and knots in your hair days before your session.
If your stylist has to detangle your hair minutes before putting relaxer in, it adds stress to your scalp.
This increases sensitivity and your chances of incurring chemical burns.
Relaxers will only work properly if they are evenly distributed across your hair.
Smooth, sleek, tangle-free hair is key to achieving this uniform application.
So in the days leading up to your treatment, detangle your locks with a detangling cream or hydrating oil once a day.
Use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb so brush your locks, starting at the bottom and working your way upwards from there.
Give your hair a break from intricate hairstyles
If you’ve been keeping your hair in box braids or have pretty extensions clipped in, make sure to remove them at least a week before your relaxer service.
These styles add stress and tension to your scalp, making it more sensitive.
your scalp time to breathe and recover once these tight hairstyles are taken out.
Coat your hair in your favorite oil
If you’re only doing root touch-ups, add some coconut, almond, or castor oil to your previously relaxed hair the night before your salon appointment.
This protects your hair from relaxer run-off so that the length of your hair won’t be double-processed.
You can also massage a bit into your scalp to protect your skin in that area from burns.
Things You Should Avoid Doing Before Your Salon Appointment
You now know what to do before relaxing your hair.
It’s also important to tell you what NOT to do before your salon appointment.
There are a couple of things you want to stay away from in the days leading up to your treatment.
Here are the most vital ones:
Don’t shampoo 3-4 days before your appointment
The natural oils in your dirty hair can help protect your scalp from chemical burns.
So if you have delicate skin and are prone to burning, you may want to skip washing in the days leading up to your treatment.
Plus, washing or even just wetting your hair can make your scalp sensitive because of the tension of working the shampoo into your hair.
This is a big no-no when it comes to avoiding burns.
Don’t excessively brush your hair or tug at your scalp
Don’t stress out your scalp before your appointment by tugging and pulling at it unnecessarily.
Avoid brushing too rough or scratching the skin on your scalp with your fingernails.
If you need to detangle your hair, do so very gently.
The same goes for tight ponytails and hair clips that tug at your scalp.
Opt instead for a loose braid or bun the days before your relaxer treatment.
Switch from rubber elastics to gentle silk scrunchies that won’t pull at your hair, too.
Don’t work out at the gym the day before
Exercising or doing any strenuous activity can raise your body temperature.
This opens up your pores, increasing your chances of getting a chemical burn during your relaxer service.
Avoid saunas, jacuzzis, and hanging out in hot, open areas, especially during the summertime.
Stay in air-conditioned rooms and skip your usual workout the day before your treatment.
Avoid heat styling
Your hair is about to go through a tedious chemical process, so it’s best to keep damage to a minimum right before it.
Heat styling can make your hair more fragile and vulnerable to severe damage during chemical treatments.
Lay off the flat iron and blow dryer for a couple of weeks so your hair can be healthier right before your relaxer service.
If you really must heat-style, spray a generous amount of heat protectant first.
Whether you’re getting your fave stylist to get your relaxer in or doing it yourself at home, relaxing your hair can be scary, especially if you’re relatively new to it.
But with the proper preparation and tender love and care for your hair, you can achieve your dream hair that is shiny, sleek, and with minimal damage.
So invest your time in strengthening and conditioning your hair to get it ready for what’s to come.
At the same time, cut down on unnecessary manipulation that only adds stress to the hair.
Remember, a happy, soothed scalp and strong, moisturized locks are the key factors to getting the least damage possible when relaxing your hair.
Put in the effort to achieve these leading up to your appointment date, and all will be swell.
The closer you get to the date, the more excited you get about finally getting your much-awaited touch-up or eliminating frizz from your coily hair.