To permanently straighten your hair, you must weaken the hair bonds by chemically altering them. Chemical treatments such as lye and no-lye relaxers use sodium or potassium hydroxide to destroy your hair’s chemical bonds, which causes your hair to permanently straighten. Once your hair has been chemically altered, it isn’t possible to reverse the process. It requires weekly maintenance to keep the hair healthy and strong. Although it is possible to straighten your hair at home, it is highly recommended to have a professional stylist straighten your hair to avoid damaging your hair or burning your scalp.
Things You'll Need
Apply petroleum jelly to your scalp. This is called basing, as the petroleum jelly soothes the scalp and protects it from the chemical relaxer. Spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the back of your neck and around your hairline.
Mix the activator solution with the relaxer creme. Most at-home relaxer kits require thorough mixing before applying it to the hair. Follow the relaxer kit’s instructions for proper mixing to avoid damaging your hair. Use latex gloves before handling any chemicals to protect your hands. Cover your shoulders and neck with a towel to protect your clothing and skin from the relaxer creme.
Separate your hair into six sections. Part your hair down the middle, starting at the crown to the back of your neck. Part the hair again horizontally until you create six to eight sections, as this will make the application process easier. Dip the application brush into the relaxer mix and apply the creme to the new growth only.
Set your timer. A timer helps you keep track of the application and setting time, and is necessary to avoid chemical burns. Read the relaxer kit’s directions for the appropriate time for application, as coarse hair will require longer setting times than fine or thin hair.
Wash the relaxer out of your hair. Use warm water to remove the creme from your hair, followed by gently massaging a neutralizing shampoo into your hair to normalize your hair’s pH balance. Wash the shampoo out of your hair. Rinse it with warm water twice to make sure there is no residue.
Apply protein conditioner to the hair. A moisturizing protein conditioner adds moisture, which is lost during the relaxing process. Saturate your hair from roots to ends and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse your hair with warm water and then cool water. Cool water closes your pores and adds shine to your hair.
Use a wrap-set lotion. A wrap-set lotion bases your hair, which allows you to style it easily once it dries. Dispense two pumps of lotion into your palm and spread it evenly over your hair.
Do not scratch or wash your hair for three days before relaxing. Scalp irritation can occur if the creme gets into any scratches. Recently washed hair is depleted of your hair’s natural oils, which protect you from chemical burns.
References and ResourcesBeautiful Black Hair: Real Solutions to Real Problems; Shamboosie; April 2002