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For all the good relaxers can do for your hair, there's just as many -- if not more -- negative results that can occur when using the product. Relaxers make tightly-curled, otherwise unmanageable hair "relax" or straighten with chemicals. The result is hair that is often smooth and stylish. These chemicals; however, can be quite harsh on your hair and skin, causing damage and burns. Fortunately, you can apply products and perform a few preventative techniques to stop the relaxer from wreaking havoc on your scalp so that you can enjoy your new 'do.
Ride dirty, that is, avoid washing your hair for four to six days prior to applying the relaxer. The natural oils in your skin and scalp form a sort of barrier against you and the relaxer. When you wash your hair, you remove those oils. Allowing the oils to stay can help prevent the burning and irritation the relaxer can cause. Don't go past six days of not washing; however, as the oil will begin to mix with sweat, dirt and other material that can cause small scratches in your scalp.
Deal with the itch. Avoid scratching your scalp as much as possible the week leading up to your relaxer application. Your fingernails are likely sharper than you think they are and using your talons to scratch your head will likely cause small tears. Relaxer and small tears in the scalp equal a result that you don't want to deal with in the form of extreme pain. If you just can't help yourself, apply soothing coconut oil to calm the irritated areas instead.
Brush your hair with a wide-toothed comb or soft-bristle brush the week before you apply the relaxer. Vigorous brushing or touching your hair with sharp objects can cause irritation in your scalp, which can result in serious pain when the relaxer comes in contact with it.
Apply castor oil to your scalp every other day the week prior to putting the relaxer in your coif. The oil will help your scalp to form a barrier and keep that irritating relaxer from touching your skin.
Stay out of the rain a week before you apply the relaxer. The rain will wash the oil out of your scalp and hair, leaving you exposed to the strong relaxer. If you can't avoid the rain, wash your hair after it comes in contact with the wet weather, and then plan to go dirty again for the next four to six days. If you are usually physically active and accumulate a lot of sweat in your hair during exercise, try to chill out the week leading up to the relaxer application. Like the rain, the sweat will strip your hair of the oils and potentially create a dangerous recipe for irritation.