If you’ve naturally curly hair as I do, and prefer wearing it straight, you know a hair relaxer is pretty much the only solution for styling your hair straighter and cutting your styling time in half.
Now, if a relaxer sounds great to you, here’s everything you should know about relaxers.
What Is a Relaxer? How Long Does It Last in Hair?
how long does a relaxer last
A relaxer is a hair treatment solution, available in either lotion or cream, and it makes it easier to straighten and manage curly hair.
It’s a great hair care option, especially for women with overly curly hair, as it allows them to straighten hair without any frizz.
While the results will depend on the hair type, a relaxer will generally leave your hair straighter.
However, unlike most straightening techniques, the effects of a relaxer last for about six to eight weeks, and during this period, you’ll require occasional touch-ups.
What Does Relaxer do to Hair?
Relaxers chemically alter the hair structure, leaving your hair smooth and straight for about six to eight weeks.
Typically, relaxers have a strong alkali as the active agent, which makes hair easier to straighten by chemically “relaxing” the natural curls.
Relaxers provide a perfect alternative for users who don’t want to deal with hot tools or a super long-term commitment that comes with treating your hair at the salon.
However, relaxers are admittedly pretty powerful, and so must be cautious when using one, and you should ensure you get a solid product, too.
How long after relaxer can I get braids?
2 to 3 weeks.
Most hairstylists and beauticians recommend waiting for 2-3 weeks after braiding. After getting a relaxer, your hair is in a state of “fragility” and doesn’t need manipulation with tight styles like braids or twists.
See, exerting tension on newly relaxed hair might break off the delicate strands and ultimately damage the root.
How long after the relaxer can I get highlights?
2 to 3 Weeks.
Ensure your hair is healthy before coloring it. Ideally, wait for two to three weeks after getting a relaxer before you do any highlights on your hair.
See, hair normally goes a lot with a relaxer, with the internal protein structure getting broken down for reactiveness.
If you highlight your hair immediately after getting a relaxer, you might over-lighten and make your hair more susceptible to damage. It’s recommended you wait for two or three weeks for the hair to regain its strength before getting highlights.
How long after the relaxer can I color my hair?
You should wait for one week after getting a relaxer before applying color to your hair.
The one-week timeline will ensure that you don’t suffer from scalp sensitivity or even discomfort after applying the color.
At the same time, it’s always recommended that you evaluate the elasticity and porosity of hair with a relaxer. If it shows signs of breakage, then permanent hair color isn’t recommended.
How long after the relaxer can I wash my hair?
Wait for 24 hours before washing after getting your hair relaxed. You can technically wash your hair the day after getting a relaxer, but if you need to give it time to adjust to the chemical treatment, you should give it at least a week before washing.
Remember, a relaxer washes your hair with neutralizing shampoos, and so giving it more time is the best way to make the effects last.
How Long After Relaxer Can I Bleach My Hair?
2 to 3 weeks.
Most stylists recommend waiting for at least two or three weeks before bleaching after getting a hair relaxer.
While bleaching is “generally safe” on hair, it can be damaging, when not taken with care. Before bleaching, you must ensure the relaxer hasn’t damaged your hair, and that it’s in reasonably good condition.
How long after the relaxer can I perm my hair?
Most hairstylists recommend waiting for at least two weeks after getting a relaxer to perm your hair.
Perming your hair immediately after relaxing treatment can easily over-process, over-lighten, and make your hair susceptible to damage.
What to do Before Relaxing Your Hair?
1. Letting your Hair Rest
- Prepare your hair tresses for relaxation by getting rid of the extension, such as braids, a week before treatment.
- This gives your hair and scalp adequate time to recover from the stress that might have been caused by wearing and removing extensions.
2. Protecting the Scalp and Hairline
- Depending on the type of relaxer and your skin type, a relaxer can irritate your skin.
- To prevent irritation, apply a base cream on your scalp before relaxing. Also, don’t forget to apply the cream on your hairline and around your ear as well.
3. Detangle and Comb your Hair
- A week before applying the relaxer, ensure you comb and detangle your hair carefully.
- While at it, refrain from scratching or tugging your scalp or hair.
- And if you’re a fitness enthusiast, avoid workouts that make you sweat heavily on the scalp, especially in the last 72 hours before relaxing your hair.
4. Skimp the Shampoo
Cleansing your hair, including wetting or shampooing may result in a burning sensation because the relaxer has strong chemicals, and your scalp has not had enough “resting” time.
How often Should You Relax Your Hair?
The recommended time frame to go between relaxer touch-ups is eight weeks.
Unfortunately, some people are impatient and seem not to wait for that long. Understandably so, eight weeks is just a general guideline on the frequency of touchups.
Ideally, the frequency should depend on the length of your hair and how quickly it grows.
For example, if you’ve short, tapered hair, then you might require touch-ups more frequently than the recommended eight weeks to get your hair looking uniform.
For the short, tapered hairstyles, you might find you need a touch-up every three to four weeks.