How To Care For Relaxed Hair

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The natural hair movement has taken over the world and positively changed the narrative within the black hair industry. Gaining speed and popularity, black women are choosing to let their hair do its own thing to gorgeous results.

There are still a few of us out there who relax their hair for whatever reason. After years of trial and error, I’ve finally learned how to care for my own relaxed hair resulting in over 8 inches of growth in the past four years alone.

Chemical relaxers are treatments that permanently or semi-permanently straighten hair. Many women still choose to relax the natural haircare regime doesn’t work everybody due to the increased daily maintenance, issues with frizz, etc.

How To Care For Relaxed Hair | Style Domination by Dominique Baker

Those who relax think that this process will lead to an easy and carefree hair routine. WRONG. Hard work and dedication are required to keep your relaxed hair healthy and strong.

I have a YouTube channel where many videos are dedicated to relaxed hair health. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/c/styledomination. In the meantime, I’m going to share with you a few helpful tips to keep your hair luscious and healthy throughout the relaxer process.

Understand The Process

How To Care For Relaxed Hair | Style Domination by Dominique Baker

When you undertake any sort of chemical treatment for the hair, it’s now compromised and more prone to damage. Learn how to care for your hair, including what products will keep it healthy and hydrated. Also, if you are uncertain of how to relax hair, find yourself a great, knowledgeable hairstylist to do it for you. He or she can also educate you on how to maintain healthy, relaxed hair.

https://youtu.be/VCTNcOreb68

A Consistent Relaxing Schedule

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Once you relax your hair, it is ideal to relax new growth every 8-10 weeks. Wait too long and hair can start breaking at the line of demarcation (where new growth meets old growth). Relax too soon and you run the risk of overprocessing your hair.

https://youtu.be/tgh4XFa10M0

Embrace Texture

How To Care For Relaxed Hair | Style Domination by Dominique Baker

You don’t have to go bone straight when you relax your hair, in fact, keeping some texture strengthens your hair. You will also notice better growth due to increased hair health when you refrain from going to straight.

Relaxers were always intended to simply “relax” the hair to make it easier to style and maintain, not beat it into straight submission. My wonderful hairstylist only keeps the relaxer on my hair for a few minutes, allowing me to achieve more manageable hair. Bone straight hair isn’t better hair.

Love Your Scalp

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If you have a dry, itchy scalp, moisturize it with a little oil. Also, cleanse it regularly. Healthy hair cannot grow out of an unhealthy scalp, and a clean scalp is conducive to good hair growth. If you suspect you may have a health issue leading to scalp dryness, visit your doctor.

Also, massage your scalp. This leads to increased blood circulation which nourishes your hair follicles making them nice and happy.

Trim Those Dead Ends

How To Care For Relaxed Hair | Style Domination by Dominique Baker

If your ends are weak, dried out and thin, chop them off. Stop focusing so much on length. What is the point of long hair if it’s dead?

Trim off the damaged ends and start focusing on your hair’s health instead. And people…if you choose to trim your hair yourself, use shears made for hair, not kitchen scissors! Hair shears are balanced properly and extra sharp, allowing for haircuts that are precise without shredding your strands.

Wash Your Hair Regularly

I’m always shocked when I meet people who rarely wash their hair or wash monthly. It’s true that this can work for some people, but for most, it doesn’t. You cannot expect to grow healthy hair if you do not care for it. Regular washing rids the hair of excess oil, sebum and hair products.

Hair products must be washed from hair because they can eventually lead to dryness, especially those that are alcohol or silicone-based.

Hair definitely sheds and breaks less when it’s clean, so find a schedule that works well for you. I wash my hair weekly and that works really well for me.

Deep Conditioner Is Your Best Friend

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I have been relaxing my hair since I was 15 years old. It was only a few years ago that I discovered that a weekly deep conditioning treatment was CRUCIAL to my hair’s health.

My hair was always a little dry and suffered from a lot of shedding. The shedding made retaining length virtually impossible. I was stuck with hair just a little past shoulder length for years.

https://youtu.be/L09WxHbQSV8

When I incorporated deep conditioning into my hair routine (I wash my hair weekly, always deep conditioning afterwards), my hair thrived.

I asked my hairstylist to recommend a great deep conditioner and she suggested Schwarzkopf Bonacure Repair Rescue Treatment. This has been a lifesaver for me. My hair started to flourish, and I gained six inches of new growth in a year. In addition, my hair became really shiny and soft. It was so much easier to manage thanks to routine deep conditioning.

Moisturize Daily

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A fave leave-in conditioner of mine

Mositurizing my hair daily is the other hair care tip I implemented that saved my hair. My ends were dry, split and thin. I got a good trim (also crucial to hair health), and started applying a little coconut oil to the ends of my hair on a nightly basis. This greatly assisted with retaining length!

Just be careful with the oils! Do not aply oils to your hair then use heat tools. Oils + Heat = Fried Hair.

Minimize Manipulation

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Me, playing with my hair, not taking my own advice

No more combing your hair like a maniac. No more brushing your hair while wet and girls…stop twirling your hair around your fingers.

All of these things lead to breakage and split ends. The same goes for using rubber bands for ponytails and too tight hair elastics.

Protective Hairstyles

How To Care For Relaxed Hair | Style Domination by Dominique Baker

OK – take one look at my Instagram or blog and you’ll see me with my hair down all of the time. In actuality, my hair is always up with my ends tucked away in a bun. This protects my hair from the friction of rubbing against coat collars, scarves, etc. which causes breakage.

Wigs, weaves, twists, bantu knots and other protective styles save your hair. Wigs are fun too, allowing you to test out new looks and hair colours. Weaves, if done properly, protect your hair allowing it to grow.

I also like to keep my hair covered from the rain and cold (I truly believe cold, dry weather is detrimental to hair health).

Good Hair Tools

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Arm yourself with a wide tooth comb which is great for detangling hair with little manipulation. If you use heat hair tools such as curling irons and flat irons, choose ceramic versions as they are more protective of hair. Oh yeah – arm yourself with a good heat protectant too. These products protect your and minimize heat damage.

Don’t keep your hair tools for years and years either. Combs can get knicks that pull and break hair, along with old, worn out hair brushes. The same goes for the above-mentioned heat tools.

Protein Treatments

How To Care For Relaxed Hair | Style Domination by Dominique Baker
(Photo courtesy of http://thestylinglounge.co.uk)

Protein treatments are great for restoring hydration and keratin to your hair. Try using a protein treatment each time you use heat tools on your hair (these treatments can be in the form of Olaplex, keratin-based deep conditioners, or even coconut oil treatments).

If you already have healthy hair, protein treatments are still advised. I use a protein treatment monthly to repair any damage from heat tools and styling.

That being said, if you hair is very dry, I would stay away from protein as it can make it feel worse. Don’t overdo protein treatments either as they can leave your hair feeling dry and stiff.

Conclusion

If you are struggling with your relaxed hair, seek help! If you feel you have a scalp issue, visit your doctor to determine if there is indeed a problem. Don’t forget to that healthy hair starts from the inside out, so eat well, drink a ton of water, and don’t forget those vitamins!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at styledomination@gmail.com. I’m here to help…

22 Comments

  1. February 7, 2019 / 1:58 pm

    I wish I had this info 5 years ago. Great tips.

    • Dominique
      Author
      February 7, 2019 / 2:13 pm

      I get comments like this all of the time. I also wish I knew what I was doing when I first relaxed my hair. It would be so much longer! LOL! Thanks for reading, Sandy!

  2. Cheryl
    February 7, 2019 / 2:16 pm

    I agree with everything said here! I’ve worn my hair relaxed for decades and have had breakage seasons but I learned to bounce back from this by using oils and very little to no manipulation to my hair. After seeing a professional stylist 2 to 3 years ago, my hair began to break, thin and become way to silky straight with each visit. I stopped going and worked hard on getting my hair BACK to my back over the last 2 years. It is amazing the results so unfortunately, I do not trust stylists who do not follow instructions and do what they think it best for my hair. Not every “great treatment” works on all hair types. I learned that the hard way. Now, I have healthy long hair that still isn’t wear it used to be in length but I focus more on health rather than growth and it just started to grow back nicely.

    Thank you Dominique!!

    • Dominique
      Author
      February 7, 2019 / 2:36 pm

      Hi Cheryl! Jeez – I’m so sorry that happened. I am hearing so many nightmare stories from people “abused” by stylists. I’m glad you found a routine that works for you. I find that deep conditioning and no heat works wonders for my hair. I like to mess with my hair too (playing with it, twirling it, etc), and when I learned to stop that bad habit, my hair started growing in places that it refused to before. Anyways, as always, thanks for reading!! xoxoxo

  3. Jai S.
    February 7, 2019 / 4:02 pm

    I recently started a new hair journey with a big chop. You have been very inspirational in that journey. A lot of these tips I wasn’t aware of until I started watching videos like yours on YouTube. I still feel very confused about my hair as to what works and what doesn’t, what’s necessary and what isn’t but I am learning. I know persons have been suggesting stretching relaxers for more than 6 six weeks but after the 6 week mark my hair starts breaking off (like now) with one side of my hair dryer, shorter etc than the other side. I am trying to stretch to 8 weeks (I am 7 wks post), deep conditioning every week, moisturizing and sealing, applying no heat and all that good stuff but it still breaks. Love my hair when it was relaxed and healthy so I am fighting to get back to that point. Not ready to give up

    • Dominique
      Author
      February 7, 2019 / 4:21 pm

      Jai – I’m honoured that I can inspire you. Thank you so much. Kind comments like these keep me going everyday.

      Sounds like you are doing great so far on your new journey! My hair looks a little crazy and definitely feels drier leading up to a relaxer. I myself, am still trying to find out exactly what works for me. I have a pretty good arsenal of products right now but I definitely notice that deep conditioning and keeping heat out of my hair keeps it really happy. I’m not a fan of stretching. Once, I stretched to about 13 weeks and while I gained some growth, my hair was totally unmanageable and detangling it was a nightmare. No thanks! Thanks so much for reading, Jai. Please stay in touch! xoxoxo

    • sweetnovember04
      March 27, 2019 / 4:55 am

      My hair is dry and even dryer in the winter time. I have a relaxer. I started experiencing too much breakage. While washing my hair, I would see tiny chips of hair in the sink. I don’t use a lot of products on my hair. Keracare to wash/deep condition (under a dryer), leave in conditioner to detangle and Chi serum to flat iron. Near end of week, I wear my hair up. I started using a hair lotion (soft n beautiful) and sealed with an oil or oil product. Thats when I started noticing the constant tiny bits of hair in the sink. It took me a couple of washes to eliminate what could be causing the breakage. I stopped using the hair lotion and the tiny chips of breakage stopped. My hair looked moisterized, but the product was actually drying it out.

      • Dominique
        Author
        March 27, 2019 / 10:23 am

        Hi! I’m so sorry this happened to your poor hair! Some of these products are so loaded with silicones and other naughty products that they have the complete opposite effect of what they promise. At least you were able to pinpoint the culprit and take some corrective action! Good for you! xo

  4. Kim Spry
    February 7, 2019 / 4:33 pm

    Great article with beautiful pictures included! Thanks for the info!

    • Dominique
      Author
      February 7, 2019 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you kindly, Kim!!

  5. Sandra
    February 7, 2019 / 5:56 pm

    Thanks for the tips, by watching your videos and applying your regimen I have noticed great change in my hair.

    • Dominique
      Author
      February 11, 2019 / 10:14 am

      I’m thrilled, Sandra! So glad my tips are working for you!

  6. Belleighair
    February 8, 2019 / 3:11 am

    I wish I knew this way before my hair journey …I got to know about how essential deep Conditioning is for our relaxed hair a year ago but I got to be consistent some months ago. In our part of the world (Africa, Ghana) even our hairstylists do not know how important it is and when you take along your deep conditioner to the salons every week to wash your hair, they will just tell you not to deep condition often and it is only necessary when you notice breakage. And even with that there are only a few salons that have good deep conditioners almost 90% of them use one brand.

    • Dominique
      Author
      February 8, 2019 / 10:12 am

      Oh no!! Jeez. You know, you are paying the stylist….I don’t understand why they don’t do what you ask for!! Clearly, they don’t understand healthy hair. I’m glad that you are learning what works for you. Thank you so much for reading my blog and watching my videos. Please stay in touch!

  7. Miriam
    April 7, 2019 / 8:08 am

    Hi, I just found your YouTube and blog pages!! Wow what a “God send!” I just relaxed my hair after being natural for 12 years. I want to make sure I am doing everything right to maintain healthy strong hair!!
    How soon after a relaxer do you shampoo?

    • Dominique
      Author
      April 9, 2019 / 11:20 am

      Hi Miriam! Wow! How are you adjusting to your newly relaxed hair? Are you enjoying it? I hope so! You should wait at least one week after relaxing to shampoo your hair. Don’t forget to deep condition! Thanks so much for watching and following along. Means the world!

      Dom

  8. Christina
    May 3, 2019 / 2:58 pm

    How often do you straighten your hair? And how/where do you get it straightened? I have relaxed hair and I straighten once a week and my hair looks healthy but I feel like it’s really damaged. I don’t know what to do at this point and I also don’t want to go natural.

    • Dominique
      Author
      May 4, 2019 / 11:02 am

      Hi Christina! I relax my hair once every 8-12 weeks. Usually, every 10 weeks. I go to Hairworld at the Merivale Mall here in Ottawa to get it straightened by Gloria.

      How are you straightening your hair weekly? With a flat iron? If so, I would stop and do some no-heat styles instead. I usually wash and put my hair in a bun. While most of my pics are me with my hair down, I almost always where my hair up. I’ve been going heat-free for a while now and the results are amazing. I also deep-condition like my life depends on it. Lol. Hope that helps!

      xo,

      Dom

  9. Kim
    May 3, 2019 / 11:30 pm

    My goal has been to never buy shampoo since I would prefer to go to a salon, but it is now my shedding season, and I have no idea what the best shampoo and cnditioners are these days? I have long hair with silver and grey threads. I love this chapter for my hair and am eager to embrace the change. I have signed up for your not and eager to hear about the best products. Thank you for doing this!!!

  10. Akilah
    May 5, 2019 / 1:25 am

    Hi I haven’t relaxed my hair in 4 years. I was wondering what is a good perm you use in your hair or would recommend to buy at a local beauty supply store?
    Thank you for the advice!

  11. April
    May 13, 2019 / 4:13 am

    Hello Dominique
    My name is April, I too am Canadian I have been watching your videos, I always had a problem keeping my hair straight after relaxing it, now I know what I need to do. How to moisturize it and have it heathly like yours,I use to have my mother relax my hair , I think I will go to a professional from now on and just use your tips on how to care for it after. I want to thank you for your tutorials, I now know I can have the hair I truly want!🤗

    • Dominique
      Author
      May 13, 2019 / 10:49 am

      Hi April! Thank you so much for your kind words!! Do you feel your mom is overprocessing your hair or is the problem that you hair needs more moisture? Really glad you are finding my videos helpful!

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