Hair relaxer application rules


Our beauty editor Lerato Seuoe speaks to ORS lead educator and stylist Pamela Pelema about all the crucial rules you need to know when relaxing your hair.

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Thoroughly read through the instructions as well as the warnings of the product. To process a relaxer you will need: protective base for scalp, hairline, top of ears, nape of neck, relaxer base, activator, neutralising shampoo, conditioner and styling products. Other tools include towels, a mixing bowl, spatula or applicator brush, gloves, a comb and clips.


It’s important to protect your scalp with a petroleum base before you start applying the relaxer. This helps prevent the relaxer from causing premature irritation to the scalp.


Section the hair into four quadrants. Twist the hair and clip it in place to have clean sections to work with. When doing a new-growth application (touch-up) apply the relaxer to the new growth only. When relaxing the hair for the first time (virgin relaxer) apply the relaxer to the entire section from scalp to ends.

It is best to start the application at the center of your head and apply the relaxer very close to the scalp, but not on the scalp, focusing on the new growth only and pulling through to just under a centimeter away from the ends – saving the very ends until last (for virgin relaxer). You may apply the relaxer with an applicator brush or the back of a comb

*NB:Do not let the relaxer get onto your scalp. The heat will automatically draw the relaxer applied nearest to the scalp towards it. If you accidentally get some product on a piece of the hair you don’t mean to, just wipe it off immediately.


You need to start calculating the time from the moment you start to apply the relaxer. The processing time depends on the texture and density of your hair.

If your scalp starts burning before the recommended processing time has lapsed, you need to rinse the relaxer off immediately followed by shampoo and conditioner. It is a myth that a relaxer must burn to be effective.

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