By : Audrey Davis-Sivasothy - Source
Performing a chemical relaxer takes quite a bit of skill, especially if you are doing the relaxer on your own. In the wrong hands, chemical relaxing can cause a number of hair and scalp problems including irritation, burning, hair breakage and worse-- permanent hair loss. This article will go over the 8 common chemical relaxing mistakes that many self relaxers make and how these mistakes can be avoided.
Common Chemical Relaxing Mistakes that Self Relaxers Make
Relaxer Mistake 1: Improper neutralizing.Improper relaxer neutralizing is perhaps the most common chemical relaxing mistake. In the relaxer rinsing rush, most people quickly apply the neutralizing shampoo and rinse it out within a minute or two. But neutralizing is a pH change game. You need to give the shampoo a chance to actually get into the hair fiber and return the hair to its normal, low pH level of about 4 or 5. In order to properly neutralize the hair, neutralizing shampoo must remain on the hair fibers for at least 5 minutes undisturbed prior to rinsing.
Another common chemical relaxing mistake is using a neutralizing shampoo without a color indicator or alarm. It's always best to have some indication of whether the relaxer is being appropriately taken down in pH, and there's no way to know that without a good pink, lathering color alarm.
Relaxer Mistake 2: Not basing the scalp.Neglecting to apply a petroleum barrier to the scalp can cause serious trouble for delicate scalp skin. While relaxer creme is never to be placed directly on the scalp, it is nearly impossible to avoid at least some of the relaxer crème making its way back onto the skin. This is mostly due to our warm body temperature and its ability to melt or liquefy relaxer crème that is placed on the new growth. This crème, which is close to the scalp, easily melts and can come in contact with the skin. Always base your scalp to give your delicate skin a buffer against the chemicals. If you still elect not to base your entire scalp, then simply base the delicate hairline, nape and temple areas to avoid potential scalp damage.
Relaxer Mistake 3: Not protecting the length of the hair.It's easy to focus efforts on protecting the new growth and scalp, but the length of your hair should also be protected during chemical relaxing. Remember, when you go to rinse your hair you are rinsing relaxer back down the length of your hair. When the chemicals pass back down the length of your hair, some of your hair may experience additional processing time leading to extra porosity near the ends of the hair. Always coat the length of your hair with a bit of the base or oil you are using for your scalp.
Relaxer Mistake 4: Relaxing the hair too soon.For people who rock super short styles, relaxing the hair every few weeks may be necessary to maintain a certain hair style. But for the majority of us, relaxing more often than every 8 weeks can lead to hair damage over time. It's best to relax your hair when you have at least 1 inch of new growth to avoid overlapping onto previously relaxed hair. Though it may be tempting, try to keep your relaxers stretched to at least 8-10 weeks apart.
Relaxer Mistake 5: Relaxing the same section FIRST each time.All of us have a certain relaxer ritual and pattern we like to use with our standard 4 part sections. Some of us like to start in the back, while others have other resistant areas we like to tackle first. While working with a certain relaxer strategy and routine can make it easier to deal with hard to process hair sections, relaxing the same hair section first each and every time can lead to thinning and breakage of that section. The problem occurs because this section of hair regularly processes longer than the other sections of your hair. Try alternating your starting section with each relaxer service. Or simply make sure that the section you hit first with relaxer is the first section to be rinsed and neutralized.
Relaxer Mistake 6: Combing Relaxer Through to the Ends.Too add insult to injury, the comb of choice is typically a rat tail comb! Never, never, never comb a relaxer through the hair!
First, the scalp is extremely sensitive and can become irritated if it is touched by the comb's teeth. The hair's disulfide bonds are also being rearranged and broken down during the relaxer process. Understandably, the hair is very fragile at this point. Any extra stress or unnecessary tension placed on the hair fiber can seriously weaken it to the point of irreparable damage and eventual breakage. Only use your fingers to smooth the hair and encourage a loosening of your natural curl. Never comb a relaxer through the hair.
Relaxer Mistake 7: Relaxing the hair until you feel the burn.Another common relaxer mistake is simply allowing the relaxer to process on the hair until the scalp begins to tingle or burn. This tingle is often understood by some to be an indicator that the hair is "done" or a sign that the hair has processed thoroughly. Unfortunately, this is NOT the case. Tingling is a sign that you are too late. You've waited entirely too long and the relaxer has now breached your protective hair barriers (base/grease/oil/sebum) and is now proceeding to process the skin of your scalp.
Relaxer Mistake 8: Relaxing your hair when you know you ain't got no business!Okay, so I went there! Self relaxing is not for everyone. If you're new to relaxing or if you struggle with getting the relaxer applied in a certain amount of time, leave the relaxing to the professionals.
Relaxing when you "ain't got no business" can also apply to people who are relaxing their hair when they haven't reigned in a breakage problem or recently had permanent color put in. Never relax breaking or recently permanently colored hair! If you have another chemical process or henna product on your hair, check with a hair care professional to make sure that your hair is still compatible with chemical relaxing in the first place.
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Have a Good Hair Day and remember to Love Your Hair!!!