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.
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
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.
A Consistent Relaxing Schedule
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m here to help…