How to do a corrective relaxer

I’m dedicating this whole post to corrective relaxers.  A corrective relaxer is done to correct any under processing from a previous relaxer.  Under processed hair can lead to breakage because you are dealing with two different textures.  The hair becomes breakage prone especially where the two textures meet on the hair shaft (known as the line of demarcation).

The first step to a corrective relaxer is to determine why the hair was under processed in the first place.  There are many reasons why this could happen.  This can be because the relaxer was rinsed off too soon, too little relaxer crème was used or that you had applied something to the hair that slowed down the chemical process of the relaxer.  Often we have under processed hair in the nape because we cannot see the back of our heads when self-relaxing.  Once you determine why the hair is under processed, it will help you avoid repeating this when relaxing again.

Make sure to wait at least six weeks before doing a corrective relaxer.  In that time look after your hair i.e. wash and deep condition at least weekly and moisturise daily.  Pay particular attention to moisture to keep breakage at bay.

After six (or more) weeks you should have enough new growth to relax your hair again.  Apply the relaxer to your new growth as usual.  In the last five minutes before rinsing off the relaxer, apply relaxer crème to the under processed parts / the parts that need ‘correcting’.  This will prevent the under processed parts from becoming over processed which is also damaging to the hair.   Remember that when it comes to the under processed parts, you are picking up from where you left off at the last relaxer – the hair has already been processed the previous time round.  Do not apply the relaxer to all the hair, just the parts that need correcting.

As a final note, if you are not experiencing breakage, tangles or shedding and you don’t mind the different textures then you don’t need to worry about doing a corrective relaxer.  The hair will eventually be trimmed off in time.

Do you sometimes get under processed hair when you relax?  How do you deal with it?


  1. says

    How often should I relax my hair,I use organic root….its long but I noticed putting hair food that’s petroleum jelly like quickly makes it kinky by the roots,what can I do???
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  2. Palesa says

    hey Tee! i totally larv wat u do for ppl who previously thot hair is an undercoat for weaves and anything BUT their own hair (ME). im on my journey and have big goals! thing is iv been using Revlon relaxer since i was a kid, and my hair comes out luking divine! for da past two years i suffered in silence as it began to becum an inferno during application, i finally decided enuf was enuf and switched to Ladene on my last touch up (April) im due to retouch later today…….and my loyalties are killing me, im not quiet sure of Ladene but Revlon is killing me?! wat shud i do? duz da switch from mean i cant switch back??

    • says

      You can safely switch relaxers but make sure you hae lots of new growth to prevent overlapping. You need to remember though that your hair can react differently to different relaxers and the relaxer results may not be the same. You may end up with different textures on your head!

  3. Palesa says

    ThAnx A mil!! Went for da touch up and the horror!! Lol had to fake a burning scalp cauz da gal was about to COMB my hair in da midst of all dat chemical…… I face da issue of severe (according to me) unequal lengths of hair at da back of my head…so wen can I put on my box braIds? My hair is quite soft and supple by nature….

  4. soso says

    self-relaxed my virgin hair this afternoon and unfortunately my rookie methods resulted in underproccessed hair. waiting 8 weeks to do a corrective relaxer. can anyone recommend a good hairstylist in cape town?

    • Louise says

      @soso, have you looked into crotchet braids? Its meant to be less stressful on the hair than the usual extension braids…

  5. Mimi says

    I self relaxed my natural hair and my entire head of hair is under processed. The first time I left it in for 10 minutes.How much time should I leave it in the next time I relax?

    • Tendayi says

      There is no proper answer because it depends on your hair and also how you want it to look. Everyones hair is different and someone with thick coarse hair would need more time than someone with fine / thin hair. I would suggest you follow the directions of the particular relaxer you are using.

  6. Kattie Mcfarlin says

    I stretched relaxed for six months. Started to break off so relaxed to make all one texture. Got relaxer twice after that didn’t take. Recently got corrective relaxer at home. Now have texlaxed hair with three different textures. Frustrating. Back of hair to dry frizzy mess. I moisturize it but nothing seem to work. What to do until can relax again? Plz help. Ready to just chop it off.

    • Tendayi says

      I think until your next relaxer just make sure to deep condition and moisturise. For your next relaxer go to a professional and see what they say and if they can correct any of the relaxers.

  7. Danielle says

    you can try stripping your hair. removing all build up. it could be the cause of why your hair isnt taking anything

  8. marta says

    I used dark and lovely relaxer at home, unfortunately I mix the relaxer cream with the silky keratin serum (pre nutralizer) instead of the activator. I realized after finishing the application so what will happen to my hair?

    • Tendayi says

      I don’t think there will be any adverse effects Marta. The base needs the activator for the chemical process to take place.

  9. sue says

    The thickness of my hair is now literally cut in half!!!! After self relaxing 6 months ago I waited 3 months before I visited my hair salon. I decided to not self relax my hair as it was severely under processed and breaking. Some areas of my hair actually felt stiff and I knew those would be the parts to break off first. I immediately kept putting Carlson sheen curl activater in it to keep it most and only needed to wash it once a month which was difficult as I have very thick long hair (past mid back) needless to say my attempts to save my hair failed miserably!!! :-\ my hair dresser did her thing but before she did I told her about my under processing so after having my 3 to 4 inch of new growth with relaxer she then smoothed over the under processing which was another 3 to 4 inches. Well after washing I noticed long handfuls of hair being lifted from the sink by the girl who washed my hair I then asked her if a lot of hair came out and she said ‘yes but it was normal’ now I know my hair was falling out plus I had gone three months without a relaxer so I know I would have stuffed some breakage but what I saw in the mirror after I wasn’t prepared for. I now have large patches upon patched of 2 inches of broken off hair making my hair so stringy. I can’t wear my hair open any more and now have long and short hair. The only reason I haven’t chopped it all off is because for what ever reason the back if my hair want affected. Which made me start questing the quality of the soft & beautiful I used. I have been using this relaxer for years whenever I don’t want to go to the hair dresser and it always works for me but as some as I rinsed the relaxer out I noticed the top of my head felt course while the back felt like it was relaxed. Which has me thinking that one of the boxes I used was bad. I used one box for the back of my head then I used the second for the top. I really don’t think that under processing can do the amount of damage I had I think it was the bad box relaxer and not even waiting 3 months to re-relax and fix the under processing helped. Does this sounds like the result of under processing or a box relaxer that probably sat on the shelf to long?

    • Tendayi says

      Hi Sue

      Sorry for what you are going through. It sounds terrible.

      With regards to under processing, many people, including myself deliberately under proceed our hair intentionally to keep it as thick as possible when relaxed. We also go through long periods without relaxing. I’m already at 16 weeks since my last relaxer. I will probably go to 32 weeks or so before I relax.

      I’m not sure what could be causing your issues.

      • sue says

        Thanks for telling me your story! :-) well I am trying to deal with it the best I can. Since a lot of people like yourself do this with out breakage or extreme breakage like me I’ll have to say it was probably a bad box relaxer :-/ I used for the top of my head. My hair grow two inches every 3 months which is the longest I can stand that kind of thickness for. I’ll just have to let time do it’s thing now and wait for regrowth. Also no more box relaxers for me.

  10. nina says

    Hallo Tendayi,i relaxed my hair with Dark & Lovely,it was 3 weeks ago.the texture is so rough,and my hair is shedding,also the roots of my hair is all fresh like it was never relaxed,would you help me,since its even so difficult to comb,also advice me on which hair oil,is good,,and can i use olive spray,on my hair,,please help on how to do it home made,,Thanks

    • Tendayi says

      Please follow the article and wait 6 weeks before attempting the relaxer again. If its difficult to manage you can get your hair braided or wear some other protective style. In the 6 weeks make sure to look after your hair and keep it moisturised.

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