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Are At-Home Hair Relaxers Safe?

Are At-Home Hair Relaxers Safe? We Asked a Celebrity Hairstylist

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Photo taken in Staryy Oskol, Russia

So, you got your hair relaxed and are now in need of a touch-up. You're likely not the only one. Like cuts and colour services, it's recommended that relaxers — pro-grade cream products that are applied to curly or coily hair as a way to chemically straighten it — are better when they're handled in the salon, though getting touch-ups every four to six weeks can be costly and time-consuming for some. You can always wait until it's convenient for you to see a stylist, though letting a relaxer grow out might mean taking care of two hair textures at once.

That's why makes sense if you want to give yourself a relaxer at home, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before you do.

First, make sure you explore all other options. "I never recommend doing a chemical service at home because you can cause long-term damage to your hair and scalp if you're not careful," celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen told POPSUGAR. "Instead of relaxing your hair yourself, you should try using a moisturising treatment that will help to soften the new growth until you can get your routine relaxer service."

Stephen recommends using the Dove Amplified Textures Moisture Spa Recovery Mask ($US7). "The creamy formula is infused with honey and strengthens the hair shaft from within, reducing breakage and letting you easily comb through your hair," she said.

If you do choose give yourself a relaxer, consider which kind you're using. A lye relaxer's main ingredient is sodium hydroxide, while a no-lye relaxer contains calcium hydroxide and is known for being milder and a better choice for people with sensitive scalps. If it's something that can't wait, considering using ORS Olive Oil New Growth Normal Hair Relaxer ($US7) or Revlon Conditioning Creme Relaxer ($US5). Stephen's tip here is to only apply the product to your new growth versus allover.

It's also helpful to make sure you have a neutralising shampoo (these can help restore your hair's natural pH balance and remove excess chemicals) like Isoplus Neutralising Shampoo ($US2) and keep a few moisturising products on hand, since some no-lye relaxers have a drying effect. You can follow up your neutraliser with a hydrating shampoo like Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo ($US36) and Dove Amplified Textures Super Slip Detangling Conditioner ($US7).

Image Source: Getty / Dmitriy Pridannikov
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