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How To Relax Your Hair

Need a break from the kink? Try these easy steps to soften your strands and give them that soft, loose look.


  • Step 1: If you are using sodium hydroxide, rinse it out with cool water for five minutes. If you are using ammonium thioglycolate, do not rinse the chemical out.
  • Step 2: Leave the relaxer on for 15 minutes, occasionally checking the progress by running a wide-tooth comb through the hair and seeing how much of the curl comes back.
  • Step 3: Shampoo twice only if you are using sodium hydroxide. It is important to make sure all chemical relaxer has been rinsed out.
  • Step 4: Condition the hair, and do not rinse the conditioner out. This will soften your hair and nurture it from the serious alteration it just endured.
  • FACT: The main bonds found in our hair are hydrogen and polypeptides; hair relaxers break down the polypeptide bonds.
  • Step 5: Enjoy your new de-stressed do.
  • : Make sure you do not apply relaxer where the roots meet the scalp -- leaving relaxer on the scalp for too long can burn and cause temporary hair loss.
  • Step 6: Once you finish the entire head, go back and apply the relaxer to the roots.
  • : Do not mix the two types of relaxing agents—sodium hydroxide-based and ammonium thioglycolate-based.
  • Step 7: Choose your relaxing agent. For people with serious kink in their hair, sodium hydroxide is the way to go. It’s stronger that ammonium thioglycolate, which should be used for hair that is fine and not super kinky.
  • Step 8: Shampoo the hair with a high-alkaline shampoo. This will strip the hair of all natural oils and enable it to absorb the chemicals in your relaxing agent more easily.
  • Step 9: Section your hair off into four parts with hair clips: the two sides, the crown to the back, and the front.
  • TIP: Apply the relaxer from the roots to the tips, working in one-eighth-inch sections for each stroke.
  • Step 10: Apply the relaxer with a color brush or comb while the hair is still wet. If you’re using sodium hydroxide, start a half-inch from the scalp. If you’re using ammoninum thioglycolate, start a quarter-inch inch from the scalp.
  • : Don’t relax your hair if it’s been bleached, unless the bleach has grown out or been cut off.

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