These days, it’s all about saving money—making your own lunches, do-it-yourself home repairs and even at-home beauty treatments. If you’re considering adding a hair relaxer session to your fully-booked mani, pedi home spa day, here are few tips from AOL’s Black Voices:

Don’t gamble on a brand you don’t know. While cheapie home relaxing kits can be found at almost all beauty supply stores and on the Internet, remember you get what you pay for. Check out message boards, product reviews and ask around to ensure you get a brand that consistently receives good ratings. These brands are AOL Black Voices-recommended for getting mostly positive reviews: Dark and Lovely Moisture Seal, Affirm, Soft and Beautiful, Protectiv Ant-Damage No-Lye Relaxer, and Dr. Miracle’s Thermalceutical Intensive No-Lye Relaxer.

Always protect your scalp. Relaxers can be hard on your hair and skin. At home, follow salon guidelines and apply a scalp-protecting base, such as Vaseline or castor oil, before slathering on relaxer, or buy a kit with a base included. If you’re unsure what to buy, AOL Black Voices suggests this Long Hair Care Forum favorite: Protectiv Root Health. It’s available at most Sally Beauty Supply stores.

Follow product directions. Even if you’re an at-home relaxer pro, read and follow product directions precisely. Relaxers contain ingredients, which if used improperly can cause hair and scalp damage. Always wear gloves, part your hair well, apply a base and don’t rush the process. Also, avoid following a relaxer session with applying color or heat to hair. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner and wrap hair with a silk scarf before going to sleep (or opt for a satin pillowcase).

Did you know there are all-natural relaxers? Click here to learn more.