I recently had my second relaxer touch up of the year and over time I've discovered a touch up is more involved than just the day of the touch up. To help retain my hair's length and health there is some preparation my relaxed hair needs that takes place several days before the touch up. Here's my preparation blueprint for my relaxer touch ups:
1. DetangleSince I stretch my relaxers I tend to have several weeks of new growth which can mean some serious tangling. To start the detangling process I section my hair and slather my hair with conditioner using as much as needed to get through the tangles. I then use my fingers to work through the tangles and finish up each section with a pass or two from my seamless wide tooth comb.
Additionally after fully drying my hair, I lightly flat iron my new growth. This makes it easier to finish detangling and keep my hair from tangling between my wash and touch up. I've found that if I need to go through the detangling process a day or two before my touch up my scalp becomes agitated and doesn't make for a fun relaxer day.
2. ClarifyAt least a week before my touch up I clarify my hair to start with a cleaner slate. Clarifying helps rid my hair and scalp from product buildup. My current clarifying shampoo is SheaMoisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo.
So my scalp isn't agitated during the time of my touch up I try to wash my hair no less than three to days beforehand.
3. Deep conditionI deep condition to make sure my hair is moisturized and has elasticity. This happens either as a prepoo for detangling or after clarifying.
4. StrengthenI use some type of protein product whether it's a conditioner or treatment to amp up the protein in my hair since it loses some during the relaxer process.
5. ProtectLeading up to my touch up I avoid agitating my scalp. I do this by not scratching, rubbing or touching my scalp. As mentioned earlier I also avoid detangling and washing my hair a few days before the touch up. Additionally the night before my touch up I base my scalp with Vaseline or a petroleum based product which helps to protect it.
The day of my touch up I apply Vaseline or heavy oil to my relaxed strands to protect them from relaxer run-off. When the relaxer is rinsed from your hair it can touch the parts of your strands that are already relaxed causing the strands to weaken even more. I like to pay special attention to my ends because they are the oldest part of my hair and most prone to damage.
How do you prep for your relaxer touch ups?