1) For those who have long length, make sure that the relaxer residue gets shampooed out of the ends as well as the roots. Many times, I have focussed mainly on making sure the roots are free of relaxer residue. I am thinking that since I only put the relaxer application at the new growth at the roots, I should not need to focus on the ends of the hair. However, to the contrary, we do need to focus on the ends because they are getting hit with all the runoff water from the relaxer. Those long ends will also soak up the relaxer water in the shampoo bowl as we thoroughly rinse, rinse, rinse. Just make sure that you work neutralizing shampoo vigorously through the hair ends with each lathering; otherwise, if relaxer get trapped in the hair ends, then it will begin "creeping oxidation." The client will experience split ends, frizziness, breakage, and some hardness in the ends. How to correct this? At home, client can use a lot of moisturizer to keep the pH from elevating until she can make it into the salon for a deep cleansing shampoo in order to clarify the residue out of the ends. After clarifying the ends, then another neutralizing shampoo lather can be used through the ends for pH balancing.
2) Keep some NuExpressions Super 10 in 1 Conditioner on hand. I believe it is the only conditioner on the market with a color indicator in it to identify relaxer residue and begin to neutralize it. At the nape, sometimes I am uncertain if I see suds or diluted residue, I spread some of this 10 in 1 in that area, and if it turns HOT pink, then I need to rinse and shampoo again. So at any time, you question anything potentially relaxer related, just squirt the NuExpressions 10 in 1 and the truth will be revealed. Clear or White means that no relaxer is present. Again, Pink means relaxer is present. Many neutralizing shampoos have color indicators which is good, but what if you have white lather after testing an area - with the conditioner you can leave it on and add their main conditioner to the rest of the head without having to worry about rinsing shampoo out. The 10 in 1 conditioner saves time when everything is all clear.
3) Breakage points are at every turn in your natural curl pattern. The less natural curl that you have, then the less break points and the least amount of relaxer penetration points. The more curl to the hair, then the more breakage points to be concerned about. In addition, even after the relaxer seeks out all the di-sulfide bonds and smooths them out, as one of my clients pointed out, the breakage points are hidden because they are relaxed straight, but they are still there. This particular client never cuts her hair. Two years without a haircut so far, but with swimming and her active lifestyle, her length seems to just maintain a medium below shoulder length. She still gets relaxer touch-ups every three months, but she realizes that it seems that her length stays close to stagnant. Actually, this reminds me that I need to ask her to come in for a protein treatment a week before her relaxer service. I only would see her when she calls for her chemical appointment. I need to push to get more people either doing their own protein treatment at home every couple of months or they should come into the salon for the treatment. The protein treatments will reinforce the integrity of the strands to prepare them for a chemical service.