Are you looking for tips on caring for relaxed hair? You are in luck. Here are 9 tips that you can easily implement at home that will help you achieve long, healthy relaxed hair.
Change Relaxers When Yours Stop Working
I am salon relaxed by a professional stylist and she uses
Design Essentials Regular Naked by Essations. I was relaxed with Design Essentials for a very long time but over course of time, it started causing scalp irritation and dryness, thus we moved to a relaxer system that is gentler to my hair and scalp – Naked by Essations. This brings me to my first point, you should monitor not only your hair but also your scalp and communicate your observations to your stylist. Companies change formulations all the time and aside from that, our hair and scalp needs change over time as well. When your relaxer stops providing the desired results, it’s time to move on.
Relaxer Stretching Isn’t for Everyone
Many ladies are able to stretch their hair for long periods of time which is great. However, I am not one of them. I normally touch-up my hair every 10-12 weeks because my attempt at long-term stretches caused more harm (breakage) than good (retention & thickness). You too must know what timeframe is best for your hair and you should end your stretch when you can no longer effectively manage the new growth. [Edited to Add: I have learned how to successfully stretch my hair. Visit 15 Tips to Stretch Your Hair without Breakage for some really awesome tips!]
You should remove all product build-up and mineral build-up from your hair to ensure the relaxer can penetrate the new growth during the relaxer touch-up. On the wash day prior to your relaxer touch-up, you should clarify and chelate your hair, do a protein treatment, deep condition and style your hair. Clarifying and chelating removes product and mineral build-up. A protein treatment gives the hair strength and builds it up so that it is less impacted by the relaxer breaking down protein bonds. Deep conditioning restores moisture to the hair post protein treatment.
SEE ALSO: Know the Difference: Clarify vs. Chelate
Let Your Scalp Rest Before Your Relaxer
The pores of the scalp can remain open for up to 72 hours after you wash your hair and/or perspire during workouts. Are you aware that having open pores during relaxer touch-up may cause burning or tingling? You should refrain from washing your hair or engaging in high impact workouts for 3-5 days before your relaxer touch-up to give your pores time to close up.
Base Your Scalp Really Well
You need to base your scalp at home before arriving to the salon to protect your scalp from chemical irritation. I have a super sensitive scalp that is prone to burning and irritation. Therefore, I base my scalp the night before my salon visit because the stylist never seems to base my scalp to my liking. I like a thick coating on my scalp to slow down processing and to protect my scalp from chemical irritation. I use Summit Sensitive Scalp that can be purchased from your local beauty supply store. I part my hair vertically and base my scalp really well. I then go back through my hair with using vertical parts to ensure I cover every square inch of scalp possible.
Heavily Coat Your Hair with Vaseline
Coating your hair with Vaseline provides a barrier against relaxer runoff and protects the hair from over processing. Over the years, I have used a variety of oils and have suffered setback because it didn’t protect my hair from relaxer runoff. Vaseline is thickest and the best option for protecting the hair.
SEE ALSO: Relaxer Runoff Damage
Properly Detangle & Stretch Your Hair
You need to ensure your hair is properly detangled and free of shed hairs before arriving for your touch-up. New growth that is compacted and full of shed hairs can:
- slow down the stylist’s ability to navigate through the new growth
- lead to uneven processing and,
- cause breakage during application
I opt to air dry or roller set on the last wash day before my relaxer touch-up. Roller setting ensures the hair gets properly detangled and stretches the hair so that it’s easier for the stylist to navigate through.
When I air dry, my roots are thick, compacted and coarse. I know for a fact, having my hair in this state makes it hard for my stylist to work with. Therefore, I flat iron my roots only about 3-4 days prior to relaxer touch-up. I flat iron the new growth with one pass on the lowest temperature setting on my flat iron. Flat ironing the new growth just ensures my hair gets properly detangled and is easy to navigate during relaxer touch-up. Note, I do not flat iron my hair for straight results. Instead, I flat iron to simply knock out some of the kink/bulk and release shed hairs.
SEE ALSO: Flexi Rod Tutorial
Post Relaxer Regimen
You should complete the same regimen post-relaxer as you do pre-relaxer for the very same reasons! Clarifying and chelating removes the build-up deposited to the hair during relaxer touch-up. No lye relaxers deposit calcium onto the hair which can cause the hair to appear dull and feel dry, thus chelating is a must! A protein treatment gives the hair strength and builds it back up after having the protein bonds broken down during relaxer touch-up. Deep conditioning restores moisture to the hair post protein treatment.
One of the most frustrating things is waiting for the moment to get your relaxer touch up to then realize the relaxer did not take. You are then left with under processed hair. For some, this can lead to breakage. Should you find yourself in this situation, you have two options, get a corrective relaxer or wait until your next relaxer to address the issue. I have done it both ways and my hair responded best to waiting.
When doing a corrective relaxer, you have to be extremely careful because over processing can happen if you or your stylist are not careful with application. My hair stylist always opted against corrective relaxers. Instead, she recommended waiting until the next relaxer to limit the potential for overlapping.
On the next relaxer touch up, she would apply the relaxer to the new growth as per the usual. She then would apply the relaxer to the under processed areas 5 minutes before rinsing out the relaxer. The rationale here is the hair shouldn’t need the full processing time since it had been exposed to chemical on a previous occasion.
As with any chemical related service, use your best judgment and do what is right for your hair based on your hair properties.
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