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Hair Relaxers: Everything You Need To Know

Last updated Sep 14, 2023

Do you hate dealing with your frizzy, wavy hair every day? Do you wish you could get rid of it all and just have straight, sleek hair without having to use a flat iron? If so, then you should definitely give hair relaxers a try! This guide will take you through everything you need to know about relaxers, including what they are, and how to use them safely. Whether you're considering using a hair relaxer or just interested in this hair care method, read on for all the info you need!

What Is A Hair Relaxer?

hair relaxers

A hair relaxer is a chemical product applied in the hair care industry to straighten and manage kinky or curly hair. It is composed of chemicals such as sodium hydroxide (commonly referred to as lye), calcium hydroxide, and guanidine hydroxide. These chemicals are used to break down the protein bonds that are responsible for natural hair curl or wave patterns, thus making hair straightening and styling easier.

What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Hair Relaxers?

After knowing what hair relaxers are, next, are you wondering what the benefits and drawbacks of hair relaxers are? Next, we will tell you the hair relaxers' pros and cons, Please read carefully.

The Pros Of Hair Relaxers

reduced frizz

Straightening Effect: The main advantage of hair relaxers is that they can straighten and loosen kinky or coiled hair, which makes it easier to style and manage.

Reduce Frizz: Hair relaxers are a great way to get rid of frizz and make your hair look smoother and easier to take care of. This is especially helpful if you have naturally curly or coarse hair and want to look sleeker.

Longer-Lasting Style: With hair relaxers, you can keep your hair looking straight or sleek for weeks or even months at a time, meaning you reduce the need for frequent restyling.

Time-Saving: Managing relaxed hair can be quicker and more convenient for some individuals, as it often requires less daily styling compared to natural, curly hair.

The Cons Of Hair Relaxers

hair weakening

Chemical Damage: Hair relaxers have powerful chemicals(like sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide) that can cause harm to your hair and scalp if you don't use them properly or use them too much.

Scalp Irritation: The chemicals present in hair relaxers may cause scalp irritations, burns, and pain during application. Additionally, an allergic reaction or chemical burns may occur if the relaxer is not applied correctly.

Hair Weakening: Using hair relaxers frequently can damage the protein in your hair, making it more likely to break and damage over time.

How Long Does A Hair Relaxer Last?

straightening effect

How long your hair relaxer will last depends on a few things, like what kind of hair you have, what kind of relaxer you're using, and how good of a hair care routine you're following. Most relaxers will last around 6-8 weeks, and then you'll start to see some new hair growth at the root, which is your natural hair texture.

How To Use Hair Relaxers Safely At Home?

Using hair relaxers at home can help you achieve straighter and smoother hair if done correctly. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use hair relaxers at home:

Step 1: Read the instructions

Before you get started, make sure you read the directions that come with your hair relaxer kit carefully. Depending on the brand and product, you may have different application times and wait times.

Step 2: Prepare your workspace

Set up a clean, well-ventilated area to work in. Lay out all your materials within reach.

Step 3: Protect your skin

Place a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a protective base (also included in some kits) on the scalp, hairline, and ears to stop the relaxer from touching your skin.

Step 4: Divide your hair

Divide the hair into sections with hair clips, ensuring that all parts of the head are accessible.

Step 5: Mix the relaxer

Mix the relaxer according to the instructions in the kit, either in a plastic bowl or a glass one. Wear your plastic gloves while you're at it.

Step 6: Apply the relaxer

Apply the relaxer using a brush or comb to one part of your hair. Begin at the root of your hair and work your way down the length of your hair. Be careful not to overlap with previously relaxed hair, as this can lead to over-processing and damage.

Step 7: Smooth and comb

Apply the relaxer evenly over your hair using the applicator brush or use a toothcomb. Make sure all of your hair is coated.

Step 8: Wait for processing

Check the instructions for the suggested processing time. Generally, it's approximately 10-20 minutes, but this can vary based on the product. Avoid leaving the relaxer on for longer than recommended, as it can cause excessive damage.

Step 9: Rinse the relaxer

Rinse your hair thoroughly in warm water to get rid of the relaxer in your hair. You may have to use a special shampoo that neutralizes the relaxer to get rid of it. Be sure to follow the directions for the shampoo.

Step 10: Condition your hair

Use a deep conditioner on your hair and leave it on for the advised time. Deep conditioning helps restore moisture and strength to your hair after the chemical treatment.

Step 11: Rinse and style

Rinse your hair well with cold water after conditioning. Now you can style your hair as desired. Do not use heat-styling tools right after relaxing to avoid damage.


Hair relaxers can be a game-changer for those seeking smooth, straight hair. However, they must be used with caution and proper post-care is necessary to maintain hair health. If you are uncertain about the procedure or worried about hair damage, it is recommended to consult a qualified hairstylist for advice or assistance.

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