How to Touch Up a Hair Relaxer

by April Khan ; Updated September 28, 2017

Hair relaxers are made to straighten hair for four to six weeks. Touch-up relaxers are usually used every three to four weeks to straighten new hair as it grows from the scalp. If you go any longer than this time without relaxing your hair, you will have to use the relaxer as directed for the full head application. Touch-up relaxers can be found in small kits at some beauty supply stores, or you can buy a full crème relaxer kit and use it in the same manner as the touch-up kit.

Items you will need

  • Cream relaxer kit
  • Wide tooth comb
  • Plastic or latex gloves
  • Hair dressing or grease
  • Hand towel
  • Four medium-sized hair clips

Prepare Your Hair

Step 1

Apply hair dressing or hair grease to the skin around your hairline and all the way around your head, including the tips of your ears. If your cream relaxer kit comes with hair protectant dressing, use it as directed after applying the hair grease or dressing.

Step 2

Section the hair into four parts (two pigtails in the front, two in the back). Clip each of these sections with hair clips.

Step 3

Remove one clip from the back and section the hair horizontally. The section should start about one inch above the neckline. Clip the remaining hair up. Put on gloves and wrap the towel around your neck and shoulders to protect your skin from the chemicals in the relaxers.

Apply the Touch-Up Relaxer

Step 1

Apply the relaxer to the root of the hair; do not apply the relaxer to the ends. The relaxer should extend about halfway down each section of hair so that all the roots are covered. When you've finished with this section, part another section of hair from the same clipped area. Make sure that each part is about two to three inches from the last. Apply the relaxer until every clipped area is covered. This should take no longer than 10 minutes.

Step 2

With both hands, smooth the hair as if you are brushing it up into a ponytail for about five minutes. Make sure you follow the instruction manual's time guidelines for how long the relaxer should stay in your hair.

Step 3

When the relaxer has been in your hair for the allotted time, use the neutralizing shampoo to wash the relaxer out, being careful not to get it in your eyes, mouth or ears. If the shampoo is a color-signaled neutralizing shampoo, wash until the lather is white and no longer pink.

Step 4

Condition, rinse and style as normal.


  • Test a strand of your hair 24 hours before full application to make sure the relaxer is suitable for your hair type.


  • Do not use the touch-up relaxer more often than three weeks from the last application. Do not apply the relaxer directly to the scalp. Do not scratch the scalp before applying the relaxer; this can cause a chemical burn and hair loss.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.