Should I Relax Edges Or Hair Before Braids? Read This To Avoid Damage!

Are you thinking of relaxing your edges before getting your hair braided but aren’t sure if it’s the right thing to do?

You can relax your edges before getting braids as long as you wait 3-6 weeks after the treatment to braid your hair. This is because relaxed hair is a lot weaker than natural hair, even weaker than dyed hair, as the relaxer lifts the cuticle layer of your hair to process it. That said, it’s a lot easier to lay edges that have been relaxed.

Although hair relaxers are a controversial topic in the natural hair world, they can’t be written off completely! Keep reading to find out when the best time to relax your hair is and some handy tips on how to prepare for a hair relaxer treatment.

Should You Relax Your Hair Before Getting Braids?

Relaxing your hair, in general, is still a topic of debate amongst the natural hair community. Many women choose to relax their hair to get more versatility when styling and make their hair more manageable; it is still a permanent and strong chemical procedure.

Whilst braids are an amazing protective style for natural or relaxed hair, dermatologists do not recommend relaxing your hair before braiding it. This is because relaxers actually stretch your hair’s elasticity and alter your hair’s pH balance, thus making it more fragile and easier to damage.

If you add braids to that mix, the additional weight on your hair can cause breakage at your roots. Stylists recommend that you wait for your hair to grow out before getting it braided if you still insist on relaxing your hair, 3 to 6 weeks, to be exact.

Now that we know that relaxing your hair before getting braids is not ideal let’s look at how long you need to wait after braids before relaxing your hair.

How Soon Can You Relax Your Hair After Braids?

You should be waiting at least 2 weeks to relax your hair after having braids. If your hair was relaxed prior to braiding your hair, you should wait 3 weeks after braids before relaxing your hair again.

This will allow your hair to breathe and recover from being in a protective style before undergoing a strong chemical treatment such as a hair relaxer.

If you’d like to learn more about how to prep your braided hair for a relaxer, then take a look at some tips below:

How to prep the hair before a relaxer after taking braids down

How To Prep Braided Hair For A Relaxer

Tip 01: Avoid scratching your scalp

Scratching your hair or scalp disturbs the scalp and makes it more vulnerable to being burnt by your relaxer. Ideally, your relaxer should not be anywhere near your scalp or even burn you, but there are times when it does come into contact with your scalp. If you’ve been scratching at your scalp, your scalp will feel like it’s on fire!

Suppose your scalp starts to itch when your hair is braided within a week when you’re planning to relax your hair, either pat or rub your scalp instead of scratching. I also recommend using hair oil on your scalp 3-5 times a week to ease the itching.

An amazing hair oil to try is the Silky Regrowth Oil by L. Jones. It consists of ten different oils that help with regrowth and itching.

Tip 02: Keep your scalp moisturized

Keeping your scalp and hair moisturized is important as it limits shedding and hair breakage when you take your braids out. The last thing your want is to apply a hair relaxer to damaged hair!

I highly recommend using a leave-in conditioner at least twice a week to absorb and lock moisture in your hair. A great leave-in conditioner is the SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-in Conditioner from Amazon for only $8.99.

Tip 03: Avoid brushing your hair

You’re probably thinking: how do you brush braided hair? This tip mostly refers to brushing your edges when applying your edge control. When you brush your hair, you are essentially making your scalp vulnerable the same way scratching does.

Avoid brushing your hair or edges at least a week before you take your braids out to avoid a burning scalp when relaxing your hair. A burning scalp can cause a chemical burn, which is the last thing you want!

Tip 04: Avoid Shampoo

Avoid shampooing your hair if you plan on getting it relaxed within the same week. The reason for this is that when we apply shampoo to our hair, we are stripping it of its natural oils, which actually keep your scalp protected from the chemical burn caused by relaxers.

This also includes washing your hair after taking your braids off. If you are planning to relax your hair, don’t wash it till you’ve done the treatment. The dirtier and oilier your scalp is, the better.

If your hair is hard to manage then, you can apply a detangling conditioner and detangle your hair rather than washing it. Try Aunt Jackie’s Knot On My Watch, Instant Leave-in Detangling for great detangling and moisturizing results. You can purchase it from Amazon for only $6.97.

Tip 05: Make sure you have 2-inches of re-growth

This tip applies to women who have gotten their hair relaxed before braiding it and want to get their hair relaxed again.

Insider Tip: Ensure that you have at least 2-inches of new hair growth before undoing your braids to relax your hair again; this will protect your hair from breakage. If you do not have any regrowth, it is too soon since your last treatment to relax your hair again.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the dos and don’ts of relaxing your edges as well as your hair before and after braids, you are well on your way to keeping your hair healthy and free from damage!

That being said, you should always get your hair relaxed by a professional or trained hairstylist to avoid any chemical burns and to also avoid damaging your hair in the process as relaxers are harsh chemical treatments.

Related Questions

How often should you relax your edges?

Hairstylists recommend waiting at least 8 to 10 weeks between relaxing treatments for your edges. This is because the hair on your edges is quite thin and vulnerable, which means it can easily break off if over-processed by hair relaxers.

What is a better alternative to hair relaxer?

If you’re looking for an alternative to hair relaxers with similar results, try a Brazilian blowout. This is a smoothing treatment as opposed to a chemical relaxer; it gets rid of any frizziness as well as damage. It is not permanent like hair relaxers, which means you may need to get the treatment redone every 10 weeks, but this means that you aren’t damaging your hair.

How can you treat a burned scalp while relaxing your hair?

A quick and effective remedy to ease relaxer burns on your scalp is to apply aloe vera gel on the affected area. Do not use Vaseline. Gently rub aloe vera gel on your scalp daily to see quick results and avoid relaxing your hair or applying other chemical treatments or heat on your hair until the burns have completely healed.


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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