My name is Darlene Matthews, and I am a licensed cosmetologist for almost 30 years.
Chemically processed hair becomes dry and must be fully nourished to have a silky, shiny and smooth texture. Though brushing hair off your shoulders and watching it fall into your bathroom sink is an awful reality, it is, unfortunately, the norm for many people that have relaxed hair.
Dry, damaged and neglected hair cannot give you the shine that you seek. Neither will coating your hair with heavy products that ultimately just attract dust and debris, causing dull hair.
Hair has to be fully clean and nourished to enable the hair cuticles to relax and lay smoothly, giving you a natural shine when straightened. When the cuticles are malnourished, they sit up causing hair to look damaged and dull.
After good conditioning and treatment from your stylist, your hair looks amazing and has the silky feel and shine you always wanted. To maintain it, the foundation of your hair has to be intact. How? By nourishing and caring for it daily. Taking care of your relaxed hair doesn't stop and start at a salon. Caring for relaxed hair is a daily responsibility.
Once you have made the decision to chemically relax your hair, you have just made a permanent choice. That is, of course, until the relaxed hair has broken or cut off. Our intention is to grow long, healthy relaxed hair.
This article will cover the following topics:
- the importance of a hair relaxer
- how to establish healthy hair
- healthy hair tips
- how to improve your hair's shine and volume
- how to wrap your hair at night
- conditions and tools to avoid while growing out your hair
A Great Relaxer and Conditioner Is Only the Beginning
After chemically relaxing your hair, your hair cuticles are forced to lay down and are smoothed and nourished further by conditioners to maintain the shine and feel of healthy hair.
However, if not properly maintained by replacing the natural oils that the chemical process removes, you will experience dull, dry and shedding hair.
A hair relaxer is a chemical process that removes or relaxes the natural hair pattern or curls. This process should be done by a hair care specialist to prevent application mishaps and under or over-processing.
No-lye relaxer should be shampooed with de-calcifying shampoos (ex. Organics Moisturizing Shampoo) to break down drying calcium that is deposited in the hair during the relaxing process.
Not doing this can result in dryness due to the calcium in the no-lye relaxer.
Most professionals will use a lye relaxer because it will give the hair a smoother texture. Any product that can straighten your hair texture can be harmful if misused. A professional will analyze your hair and choose an appropriate relaxer strength, conditioner, and home care treatment for you.
To accomplish a nice texture, you or your stylist must use chemical products correctly as well as maintenance products. Always ask your professional "How can I maintain my hair at home?"
Healthy Hair Is Not Grown; It Is Established
To enjoy beautiful, relaxed hair you first want to understand that healthy hair has a balance. It must have oil and moisturizers to stay supple, hydrated, and elastic (with a degree of stretch in it before the hair breaks).
Please understand that every hair is not created equal but works with the same principle. You can have Asian hair that has a strong natural straight bond and full of natural oils. If not moisturized properly, however, it can be very dry and brittle.
Since African American hair has very little natural oil, it will break if oil and moisturizers are not added to supplement the inadequacies. This does not mean you should your coat hair with heavy oils.
Moisturize your hair regularly with treatments and maintain healthy hair with light shine drops while wrapping hair at night to seal in moisture.
10 Healthy Hair Tips
Healthy hair is not heredity, it is a decision. To assure that your relaxed hair grows and stays in great shape and health you must:
- Condition weekly
- Do not over condition
- Use an appropriate shampoo
- Trim every 6-8 weeks
- Use daily moisturizers
- Use heat protectors for styling tools
- Use loose styles
- Wear a satin head wrap at night
- Use minimal styling tools (low temp)
- Do a professional moisture treatment bi-weekly
How to Have Bouncy, Smooth, and Shiny Hair
- Set your hair with a conditioning and setting lotion
- Dry your hair with medium-high heat. It is important to allow your hair to cool before putting (gloss) grease-less shine drops through relaxed hair.
- Wrap your hair with a medium comb and then brush to lay all stray hair down.
- Go under a medium-high dryer with a clean plastic cap for 7 - 10 minutes to remove roller parts.
- You should always comb your hair with a wide comb that does not snag.
- Part hair on the opposite side of the direction of wrap for lift.
Styling tools such as ceramic irons are great and a lifesaver. However, if your hair is not properly maintained on a daily basis, this simple process can be very harmful and rob your natural oils.
A flat iron that is not ceramic can cause your hair to scorch and later break. Some of the flat irons also have edges that pull hair right out of the hair shaft because of the pressure of holding the tool onto the hair.
How to Wrap Hair at Night
A ceramic iron should not be the only way you straighten your hair. Wrapping your hair at night will make your style last longer between retouches. The process is easy:
- You will comb all your hair down around your whole head.
- Gradually comb to the left or right.
- Combing low around your head so you eventually have all the hair wrapped around your head.
- Finish by brushing every strand in place with a boar bristle brush.
- Wrap with a satin scarf.
- In the morning, only unwrap after dressing away from steam when hair cools. Use gloss for shine.
Wrapping your hair after setting your hair on large rollers is called a Doobie style. This style is the safest for relaxed hair and is also used to straighten out curly hair.
However, maintaining your straight hair is done by wrapping your hair as well. Your hair will be less bouncy but will be fabulously straight and sleek.
How to Avoid Dry Relaxed Hair
Hair can be neglected unintentionally. Even a well-meaning hairstyle such as braiding or weaving can go all wrong if the hair is left to dry out. This is neglect. Breakage will surely happen after wearing a style like this for too long without proper cleaning and moisturizing.
Be sure to remind your daughters and sisters to keep their braiding styles moisturized or it will damage their hair, especially relaxed hair that needs extra care.
You can shampoo braided hair and condition it, so don't neglect your relaxed hair while vacationing or swimming with braids. There may be other ways you style your relaxed hair that may cause stress such as flat twist, braiding, and updos.
Whenever you are putting your relaxed hair in a style, it can cause stress or make it vulnerable because of not being able to receive daily moisturizers. Be prepared to give your hair a before and after style treatment for added strength. A leave-in conditioner and moisturizer are a must.
To maintain healthy hair, moisture balance and daily maintenance is the answer. This hair must always be protected from severe heat with hats, scarfs, and umbrellas. Here are a few things that can hurt relaxed hair.
- Irons or styling tools
- Tight styles
- Drying fabrics
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Ruvimbo on April 29, 2019:
This was really useful because i was looking for tips to consider weather or not to relaxe my hair since its natural state is hard to manage. I have 12" natural hair and im sure its going to be longer than that after relaxing it. Thank you
femaleadda on November 12, 2016:
Nice Hub and very interesting tips.
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on August 29, 2011:
Girls are into beautiful hair so this is truly useful information! Congrats on your Hubnuggets nomination!
To all who would like to vote on the Hubnuggets, this way please: https://redelf.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub/Bermud...
fashion on August 28, 2011:
Hairbiz (author) on August 28, 2011:
Thank you ladies for commenting. I feel honored to be nominated. I guess I am finally on track.
Thanks FloraBreenRobison,@ Sun-Girl-I am happy you enjoyed the hub.Paint sure comes in handy on this computer.
@ prektjr.dc -Great, Thanks. Your daugher can uses treatment oils on her hair at night to prevent dryness and shampoo in the morning.
Debbie Carey from Riverton, KS, USA on August 28, 2011:
Good hub! I have very straight hair, but my daughter has often used relaxers on her hair. I have recommended this hub to her to get tips and caring for her hair in a healthy manner! Thanks for the tips! Voted up, useful and interesting!
Sun-Girl from Nigeria on August 27, 2011:
Interesting and well written article which i so much enjoyed reading from and am pleased with the pics in here. Thanks for sharing.
FloraBreenRobison on August 27, 2011:
Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. Relaxed hair products aren't required for me. luckily.