African Americans like using relaxers in straightening their hair. Relaxers contain chemicals that aim to break down the hair molecules so that the hair straightens. Unfortunately, some African American hair easily breaks. Using relaxers can easily damage the already fragile hair.
If you want to relax your African American hair but it easily breaks, here are a few tips you will greatly appreciate.
- Buy a mild relaxer. There are many home relaxer kits sold in beauty supplies stores and other retail shops. Select a relaxer without lye (sodium hydroxide), a thio (ammonium thioglycolate) based relaxer or a non-chemical relaxer. These are less caustic. It would be best to look for a relaxer that already has a conditioner in the mix plus other hair strengthening ingredients. Nutrients like chamomile can help nurse chemically weakened hair. You can also opt for a relaxer specifically for African American children. The idea is to choose the lowest strength relaxer first and see how well it works for your hair.
- Do some testing. Before you start using the whole box of relaxer on your fragile locks, make sure to test it first on a few strands of hair. By testing the product you can discover for yourself how long you have to leave the relaxer on your hair. The less time you leave it on, the better for your hair.
- Use the relaxer according to the package directions. Some home relaxing kits require pre-treatment of the hair. Perform the steps for pre-treating your hair. In mixing the relaxer, follow the directions of the manufacturer. The color should be even. When applying the relaxer, do so gently following the instructions provided. Section your hair with a comb so you can apply the relaxer properly. The number of minutes you leave the relaxer on your hair should be based on the test you did earlier. Never leave the product on your hair beyond the maximum time indicated in the directions.
- Rinse your hair well. Use a neutralizing shampoo when washing off the relaxer. Shampoo your hair thoroughly and rinse with water. You may need to shampoo and rinse several times just to make sure that no chemical residue is left on your hair. Otherwise, the chemicals left in your hair may continue to do damage to your already fragile African American hair. If necessary, you can apply conditioner to your hair as well as hair lotion.
- Use the tools provided in the home kit in mixing the relaxer.
- Wear gloves to protect your hand and a smock to protect your clothes. You should have a towel for your hair and one for wiping your hands with.
- Before you apply the relaxer, make sure you don’t have any scalp irritation present. Otherwise, the chemicals can further aggravate the irritation.
Many African Americans use hair relaxers in straightening their hair. There are different levels of strength to choose from depending on your hair texture. For African American hair that easily breaks the mildest should be used. Relaxers are made from chemicals that can do more damage than good when used on fragile hair. A bit of experimentation needs to be done to find the right relaxer to use in this case. If you can’t find a good product on your own, seek the help of a professional.