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If you like to wear your African American hair straight, there’s two ways to do it. You can spend a lot of time with a flat-iron and risk causing heat damage to your hair or by applying a relaxer that offers a more permanent solution. If you choose to go with a relaxer it can be costly to maintain through a salon. There are many at-home relaxer kits that you can do yourself. If you decide to apply the relaxer yourself, there are some important hair care tips to follow to ensure you don’t damage your hair.

Relax Dirty Hair

If you’re going to relax your hair at home it’s not something you can do spontaneously. It takes some preparation to get the best results. The first step is to avoid washing your hair for at least 7 days before applying your relaxer. Also avoid scratching your head or doing a dandruff lift. It’s important to leave your scalp alone for a week before to avoid burning your scalp.

Read the Directions and Get Supplies

Before starting any chemical process, read the directions thoroughly. Have a clear understanding of the process before starting. Follow the directions to the T as well, especially processing time. Also, get all of your supplies together before starting. Take everything out of the box, get a towel and whatever else you need before beginning.

Protect your Scalp

Many relaxing kits come with a petroleum jelly that can protect the scalp from burning. If yours didn’t a simple petroleum jelly will work. Before applying the relaxer, apply the gel to scalp, hairline, neck and ears.

Applying Relaxer

It’s tempting to apply the relaxer to big chunks of hair but that can lead to uneven relaxing. Take your time and apply to small sections of about an inch for a smooth finish. Use your fingers to apply and smooth on the treatment. Avoid using a comb or combing the product through your hair. It can lead t severe breakage of your hair.

Timing & Rinsing

Timing and rinsing are probably the most important steps of the relaxing treatment. Follow the directions on processing time. It may be tempting to leave it on for longer but this will only lead to over-processed and damaged hair. Rinse hair completely after time is up. Get as much of the chemicals off before neutralizing. Rinse for a few minutes to remove the relaxer.

Apply Neutralizer

Your kit will come with a neutralizer that you apply after rinsing off the relaxer. Use the neutralizer at least 3 times to ensure you remove all of the chemicals and stop the relaxing process. Don’t use regular shampoo for this process, it doesn’t work. Use a neutralizer. If you have thick and/or long hair it’s a good idea to purchase a separate bottle of neutralizer because what’s included int he kit may not be enough.

Have Help from a Friend

Enlist a friend to help while you’re applying to help with those hard-to-reach areas like the back of your head.Using an at-home relaxer is an ideal way to straighten your hair while saving money. If you follow these relaxer hair care tips you will have beautiful, shiny, straight hair!