Corrective Relaxers: What, How, & Why

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Corrective Relaxers: What, How, & Why

Hi all! There were many PYB questions on corrective relaxers so I decided to do one post addressing the topic… figured it would be easier/more helpful.


As the name suggests, a “corrective relaxer” is still a touch up done to correct your results if they aren’t to your liking. A corrective relaxer will only do one thing: further process your hair, so only do one if your hair isn’t as processed as you’d like, i.e. if you want to loosen the texture of your hair a bit more.


[1] Wait at least a month before doing a corrective relaxer.
It may seem silly to list waiting a month as the first step but being patient is to your benefit. Even when done correctly, relaxers should not be done frequently.

[2] Practice on shed hairs.
Before doing a corrective relaxer, collect strands of shed hair and do strand tests to figure out how much time it will take to apply + smooth your hair to achieve your desired result. Apply relaxer the shed hair and smooth. Apply neutralizing shampoo to the shed hairs and then rinse.

I suggest doing the test more than once to account for any changes you’d like to make and to get a feel for your application and processing times. Once you’re done, assess which texture you’d like to do with.

[3] Strengthen your hair.
Relaxers straighten hair by weakening the bonds between the protein molecules in our hair (the more bonds that are weakened, the straighter the hair becomes). Applying protein conditioner to your hair after you rinse out the relaxer, but before you neutralize is a great way to restore much needed strength to your hair.  This is commonly referred to as the “mid-step protein treatment” or “mid-relaxer protein treatment.”

If you don’t already do this step, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. Where’s why: relaxers have high pH levels (between 9-14 (lye, 12-14; no-lye, 9-11)) and therefore open the hair cuticles in order to enter the hair shaft to process the hair. Doing a protein treatment while the hair cuticles are still open = maximum penetration. Once I started self-relaxing, I never, ever, ever skipped this step and my hair loved me for it. My favorite protein conditioner is Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus. It’s a protein conditioner that contains ceramides… y’all know how much I love ceramides.

[4] Protect the hair you are not correcting/relaxing.
Why is protecting your previously relaxed hair important? Coating your hair with conditioner will reduce the risk of overprocessing your hair if you happen to apply relaxer past your “cut off” mark (the line separating the texture you want to keep and the texture you’re correcting). It will also protect your hair from relaxer run off.

As you rinse the relaxer from your hair, the run off will travel through your previously relaxed hair. By coating your hair before hand, you reduce the risk that your previously relaxed strands will be processed by the run off.

I liked to coat my hair with a thick moisturizing conditioner + Roux Porosity Conditioner. The Roux PC lowered the pH level of my hair and sealed my hair cuticles. As previously mentioned above, relaxers have high pH levels and therefore open the hair cuticles in order to enter the hair shaft to process the hair. By coating my hair with Roux PC, I protected my previously relaxed hair from processing.

[5] Relax your hair as you normally would, BUT keep in mind that your processing time will not be as long as the first time you relaxed those sections.
This is where practicing on shed hair is super helpful. After you’ve tested out different processing times on shed hair, stick to it! You do not want to over-process your hair.

Here’s how I self-relax my hair. If I were doing a corrective relaxer, I’d follow the same steps (except with shorter processing times. Hope the video helps!


Acidic and Alkaline pH Levels & Why They Matter
Achieving Consistent Texlaxed Results

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