Relaxing Your Hair at Home: Tools & Tips
I’ll be honest – there are certain tasks I much prefer to leave in the hands of the professionals. Namely weave installations, color services, and relaxer applications. Relaxing your hair is the focus of this post, we’ll deal with the others another day. At first, relaxing your hair at home may seem like a daunting task, particularly if you have never done it before. It is very easy to end up under or over processed or end up with an uneven application, especially in the areas of your hair that are not visible to you. However, I can fully attest that it can be done successfully at home and after a bit of practice you won’t even be able to tell the difference between a professionally applied relaxer and one you did yourself! One of the major components to relaxing your hair at home successfully is arming yourself with the proper tools, so here is what you will need:
- Relaxer of Your Choice
- Scalp Protector (also known as base): Something thick and impenetrable, whether it is a commercially prepared base like Summit or Organic Root Stimulator or good ole fashioned Vaseline. I prefer to buy bases because they typically are sold in a nozzle tip applicator bottle which makes applying to the scalp much easier and more accurate.
- Conditioner: Apply conditioner or a thick oil like castor oil to your previously relaxed length to protect it from any relaxer which may inadvertently touch it and also to protect it from the relaxer run off when you rinse your hair.
- Latex Gloves: The gloves supplied in most at home relaxer kits are usually polyurethane and very loose and difficult to work with. Purchase a pack of latex gloves in your size from your local pharmacy (provided you do not have a latex allergy) for a much better fit which makes working in gloves much easier.
- Sprush: This handy tool is by far superior to anything else you could possibly be using to apply your relaxer – applicator brushes, tongue depressors, rattail combs (I’ve tried It all). It allows you to place your relaxer much more accurately, avoiding overlapping previously relaxed hair and smoothes the relaxer much better which shortens overall processing time. Sprushes are resistant to the chemicals found in relaxers, keeping them strong throughout the entire process (unlike using the wooden stick used to mix the relaxer) and are reusable so for less than $10 you have a professional tool which makes relaxing a breeze.
- Alligator Clips: I always section my hair completely before beginning to apply the relaxer to ensure that I have made small even sections. I keep these sections separated, I twist the length and use an alligator clip to hold it into place.
- Two mirrors: It is impossible to relax your own hair without at least one mirror, but two or more and you will be able to see areas of your hair that are hidden from using only one mirror. Stand in front of your bathroom mirror and place a second mirror behind you.
- Other tools: Of course you will need the other components to your relaxer such as a neutralizing shampoo and deep conditioner.
After using these tools and methods to relax my own hair I can honestly tell you they make a huge difference; by preparing properly relaxing your hair at home will be a much easier process.