Reader Mail: Should Relaxers Be Applied From Root to Tip?

Taiff asks:

Hi Jen, my cousin always applies the relaxer to all my hair… like from root to tip, so new growth + hair that is already relaxed. My hair is constantly thinning and breaking off. I watched your self-relaxing video and saw that you only apply the relaxer to your new growth. I told her about this and and she said when relaxing your hair (for touch ups), you should apply the relaxer from root to tip. But I have a feeling this is wrong because your hair is healthy. Is she right?

Hi Taiff, very sorry to hear your hair cousin is applying your relaxers this way. She is incorrect 🙁 By applying the relaxer to hair that is already relaxed, the relaxer is over-processing your hair. The relaxer should only be applied to your new growth and the portions of your hair that are relaxed should be protected (by applying conditioner) to prevent over-processing. Try talking to her again about over-processing, find YouTube videos of proper application techniques and watch them with her. If you feel comfortable doing so, self-relax your hair. If your cousin is unwilling to apply your relaxers correctly, please find another person to apply your relaxers for you.



  1. I've heard women say they're relaxer is applied from root to tip each application. It may come from the myth that you can wash out your relaxer.

  2. Great post Jen. Women ask me this all the time and I'm not sure where this idea has come from x

  3. This is so #YES because this is such a common mistake. I remember getting my own hair relaxed when I was younger, by a well meaning relative in this same way. Once I started getting it done professionally, and reading up on it, I realized that my length set backs were due to over processing. People would be surprised how commonly this is done, and that it could be the root of their hair woes! Thank you!

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