When I got serious about taking care of my relaxed hair, I saw growth that I didn’t think I could ever achieve. Gone were the days of dry, dull and lifeless hair. With trial and error, I found a bunch of products and hair care tricks that helped my relaxed hair thrive.
Of course, with trial and error comes setbacks. I want to share these relaxer no-nos with you so that you can put yourselves on the road to healthy, relaxed hair success. So, here is my list of the worst things you can do to your relaxed hair. Avoid them and you’ll start to see some real gains!
Abusing Heat Tools
Using heated styling tools on your hair regularly is detrimental to its health. Direct heat from curling irons/flat irons/blow dryers saps the hair of moisture and hydration, leading to dry, damaged hair. It is also the main cause of excess breakage (those short, broken pieces of hair you’ll see all over your clothing when you wear your hair out).
Not Deep Conditioning Your Hair
Deep conditioners and hair masks are concentrated conditioners that you apply to your hair after washing. They infuse hair with moisture, bringing it back to life, along with shine and better manageability.
When I started deep conditioning my hair weekly, the breakage stopped. Pro tip: coat your damp hair with deep conditioner and leave on for 30 minutes to an hour. Go one step further and wrap your hair with cling wrap or a plastic bag. This creates a bit of heat which causes the deep conditioner to penetrate hair even further.
Saying No To Protective Styling
Protective hairstyles are styles where your ends are tucked in. These hairstyles require minimal styling and keep your hair from getting dried out.
Protecting your ends is very important as they are the oldest and most fragile part of the hair. Everything we do to our hair eventually weakens the ends. Wearing your hair off your shoulders, away from brushing up against clothing or getting blown around in the elements will result in more consistent growth.
Examples of protective styles are buns, updos, twists, braids, wigs, etc. Not only are protective styles incredibly beneficial for your hair, they are great for changing up your regular look.
Too Many Hair Treatments At Once
The relaxer process is a tough one on hair. The treatment itself breaks down the disulfide bonds in hair therefore permanently straightening it. If you care for your relaxed hair well, this treatment is fine, but once you start permanently colouring and/or bleaching your hair, that’s a double whammy that even the strongest of hair does not take to well.
If you want to colour your hair, try semi-permanent dyes that are much gentler on your strands. Consult with a hairstylist you trust who can guide you on whether or not colouring is right for your relaxed hair. And lovelies, I’m afraid bleaching your relaxed hair is out if you want to keep the hair on your head.
Not Wrapping Your Hair Before Bed
Wrapping your hair at night in a silk or satin scarf protects your hair from the friction of tossing and turning while you sleep, which can lead to breakage. Furthermore, cotton pillowcases can suck the moisture out of your hair leaving it feeling dried out and brittle.
When you wrap your hair, it also keeps lint from sticking to your tresses. You can also use a satin or silk pillowcase, but I really love wrapping my hair in a scarf as it protects from both friction and loss of moisture. A silky pillowcase does protect your facial skin too, a lovely added bonus!
Not Seeing The Value In Moisturizing and Sealing
Moisturizing your hair with a water-based hydrator and following up with sealing your ends with a good oil is the key to healthy hair. Trust me! When I adopted this hydrating method, my hair bounced back faster than anything else.
This two-step process locks in moisture, bringing back strength and glossiness to neglected hair. A moisturizing lotion, spray or leave-in conditioner is applied to the length of your hair, followed up by applying a little oil to your ends (last two-three inches of hair).
Moisturizing and sealing is best done at night before bedtime. This gives the product a chance to work its magic without having to fight evaporation and manipulation that occurs during the day.
Opt for a moisturizer that is free of harmful ingredients like mineral oil and petroleum/pertrolatum. And again, a water-based moisturizer is best, because water is the best hydrator and most easily absorbed by hair (water should be listed as the first ingredient in the products list of ingredients).
Some of my favourite moisturizers are:
- Luster’s S-Curl No-Drip Activator Moisturizer
- Creme of Nature Creamy Oil Moisturizing Lotion with Argan Oil
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner
As for oils, try to find oils that have been cold-pressed. Cold-pressed oils have been derived from a more gentle, heat-free process, therefore retaining all of the great properties of the oil.
Some of my favourite oils are:
- Argan oil
- Jojoba oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
You may use heavier oils to seal your hair such as shea butter and castor oil, but mix them with lighter oils such as olive oil. This will prevent your hair from feeling overly greasy or weighed down.
Abusing Protein Treatments
Routine protein treatments are wonderful for boosting the strength of your hair. Use them too frequently though and you will end up with crunchy, brittle, dry hair.
Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that so many more hair products contain protein. If you’re not carefully reading the ingredient list of your hair products, you can end up overloading your hair.
I suffered this exact problem. I was using shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner and a leave-in treatment that each contained protein. Protein overload soon occurred and I my hair felt terrible. Once I discovered the problem and went back to basics, my hair recovered, but it took months.
Protein can sometimes be difficult to find in a product’s ingredient list. The following list are some common protein ingredients found in hair products:
- Hydrolyzed keratin
- Hydrolyzed silk or wheat protein
- Hydrolyzed collagen
Trying Too Many Products
When you find products that work for you, stick with them! Having a core set of hair products that you can rely on is a must for the happiness of your hair.
As a beauty blogger, I sometimes find this really hard to do. When I started paying close attention to a product’s ingredient list and looking out for things that don’t agree with my hair (mineral oils, sulphates, too much protein, etc.), it helped me decide whether or not a product is worth trying.
I cannot stress the importance of sticking to a hair product regimen that you know works for your hair. Don’t mess with it too much!
Other Things That Are Bad For Relaxed Hair
- Not using a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair
- Brushing or combing your hair while it’s wet
- Not using a heat protectant before using heated styling tools
- Flat ironing wet hair
- Using heat tools on hair that you’ve applied oil too (it’s like deep-frying your hair)
- Blow-drying soaking wet hair
- Not air-drying your hair
I hope this list helps you! Once you stop these bad habits and stick to a healthy hair regimen, you will start to see positive results faster than you think.