Relaxers are available in a variety of strengths, intensity, ingredients. No matter the composition, each includes chemicals that alter hair composition to create a straighter ‘more relaxed’ look. The chemicals also leave your hair vulnerable to easy damage. Relaxed hair needs special attention. A gentle hand, proper tips and tools will help you maintain the integrity of your strands and prevent against damage from heat styling, manipulation and products. Take a moment to peruse these eleven tips for relaxed hair care. Your strands will thank you for the love.
1. Professional Application
Relaxer application is serious business. This curl-loosening/strand softening product contains chemicals that can cause permanent damage if done incorrectly. Consult a professional for the best results. If a stylist is not an option for you, there are many affordable, easy to use boxed application kits. If you use an at-home product please be sure to enlist the help of a friend. Never underestimate the helpfulness of a second set of eyes and hands.
2. Regular Trims Are a Must
You already know that trimming your hair is important to maintaining its health. The ends are the oldest part of your strands. They are also the driest and most prone to damage. Treat them with care. Trim the ends as much or as little as you want. As long as you keep those split ends at bay all will be well.
3. Condition Well, Regularly
Relaxer chemicals strip away your natural oils and dry your scalp. You can counter this effect by using extra moisturizing products to cleanse and condition your hair; deep condition at least once a week. Consider giving the extra moisturizing reverse shampoo method a go. You will be happy for the extra effort when you see the difference.
4. Moisturize Well, Regularly
Your relaxed hair needs as much moisture as it can get. Moisture retention should be at the heart of everything you do to care for your hair. Use moisture rich products from beginning to end. Finish your style with a shine serum to add gloss and seal strands. Apply a lightweight natural oil light coconut oil between styles, focusing on the ends.
5. Use Minimal Heat
Flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers get the job done in little time. Choose ceramic ionic tools with temperature control. These tools give you the best results at lower temperature settings. Use your heat styling tools at minimal temperature in conjunction with heat protection spray/serum to save your strands from heat damage.
6. Gentle Coloring
You like to change up your hair when the mood strikes. Coloring relaxed hair is absolutely possible and should be done with great care. If you want to change your hair tone go with a temporary hair color. The subtle color change is gentler on your strands. Consult a professional for a permanent color change, especially if it lightens your strands.
7. Protective Styles
Give your hair a break from daily manipulation – opt for a protective style. You are probably already doing the protective style thing without even realizing it. A bun here, braid there or updo are all you need to stylishly tuck away your ends and preserve your hair health.
8. Wrap for Maintenance
Straight styling takes time and you want to preserve it as long as possible. Instead of doing the daily heat tool touch-up wrap your hair at night, each night. The style is pretty quick and easy to install - minimal time commitment for maximum results. Brush hair in a circular motion, pin in place and cover with a satin scarf, comb in the morning.
9. Protect at Night
Your hair experiences its longest period of rest, free of manipulation while you sleep. Overnight your hair is still vulnerable to damage and excessive dryness as we toss and turn in our sleep and are surrounded by dry air. Cover your hair with a satin bonnet or sleep on a satin pillowcase to protect against breakage, knots and dryness.
10. Strengthen with Protein
Protein treatments reinforce hair strength, restoring much of the bond that was broken with relaxer chemicals. Some relaxed ladies wait 72 hours after relaxer application to do a protein treatment while others incorporate a “soft” protein treatment into the relaxer process. Consult your stylist about which protein treatment is right for you.
11. Sun Protection
Relaxed hair is vulnerable to heat damage of all kinds, including sun damage. Cover your tresses with a hat, scarf or umbrella to protect against sun damage. Yes, sometimes your style is too fly to cover up. When this happens apply a little UV spray or an all-natural UV protector like coconut oil to shield your strands. Small amounts go a long way.
Being a naturalista is not for everyone. Many use relaxers while many others move between being one or the other from time to time. Nevertheless, relaxers are serious business. We cannot stress enough the serious nature of relaxers and relaxer application. Please consult about which relaxer is best for you, even if you have been relaxing for a number of years as products can change slightly over time. With proper attention, tools, and tips relaxed hair can be super healthy and grow as long as you want it to. Pamper it. If you already follow similar steps then you are well on your way. How do you care for your relaxed hair?