Whether you do your own relaxer treatments at home or go to a salon, the number one rule is that you don't wash your hair or scalp beforehand. Following this rule helps prevent burning, pain, breakage and hair loss.
Your hair and scalp produce natural oils that help protect the skin and hair from the harmful chemicals of a relaxer. If you wash your hair too soon before a relaxer it opens the pores of the scalp and removes the natural protective oils, which can lead to burning your scalp and hair.
While recommendations vary, the general rule of thumb is to avoid shampooing for three to four days before a relaxer. If you have oily hair or a dry scalp, opt for a ponytail, head scarf or hat to make it through the days leading up to the treatment.
There are other things you should avoid before a relaxer. These include vigorously brushing or combing your hair, scratching or manipulating your scalp, trying new hairstyles that may pull the scalp, swimming in chlorinated water and coloring your hair.
There are many types of relaxers, in varying strengths, but all of them contain dangerous chemicals that will permanently change the structure of your hair. Anything that changes the basic chemical composition of your hair has the propensity to damage it, so make sure to take all the necessary preventative measures. Don't ignore the application tips, which advise a strand test and an allergic reaction test 24 hours before applying the relaxer.
After a Relaxer
During the relaxer process your hair will be washed with a neutralizing shampoo and then styled. Some say you can wash your hair with your regular shampoo as soon as the next day while others advise waiting at least three days for your scalp to replenish its natural oils and allow the hair to recover. Consider shampoos and conditioners made for relaxed hair because they will nourish and help replenish your hair, as well as help keep the hair straight and smooth.