Healthy Relaxed Hair Maintenance Tips
Proper Care When Using Hair Relaxers
Mostly because the alkali chemicals will break down the afro textured hair giving it a smoother appearance.
I personally wore a hair relaxer for many years before going natural.
I will share my experience with using various no-lye relaxer kits.
One of the misconceptions about black women not being able to grow long hair is that many people do not realize that from a very young age women of color have been using some type of chemical in their hair to make it straighter.
This process causes breakage and damage to the natural curl pattern.
The use of high heat styling tools such as pressing combs, flat irons, blow dryers and curling irons on a daily basis weakens the hair causing breakage.
Heat can be just as damaging as chemicals and when used on permed hair it makes it harder for African American women to retain length.
You will notice when new growth starts to come in after several weeks have passed from getting a relaxer the kinky or tightly coiled roots will start to show.
The best way to explain it is that the natural curly hair pattern is stronger than the permed straightened hair.
When this happens anytime the hair is combed, brushed or styled the hair will begin to break from damage.
If you are unable to retain length then it will look as if your hair is not growing.
Keep Relaxed Hair Moisturized to Avoid Breakage
One thing that stands out to me the most when I used to wear my hair relaxed is that I would always use some type of hair grease to keep my hair slicked down or to provide shine.
The interesting thing about using hair grease is that most of the product have mineral oil or petroleum in the ingredients.
Studies show that this type of oil causes the hair to dry out and prevents moisture which is basically the opposite of what is needed to maintain healthy relaxed hair.
It is important to educate yourself and learn which hair products will be best for your hair type. Kinky curly hair or tightly coiled tresses needs water based products to thrive.
Mineral oil keeps the water from absorbing into the cuticle and when alcohol based hair products are used the hair gets stripped of oils causing more breakage and damage.
Permed hair must be handled with care and the best way to do this is to use natural hair products that have purifying ingredients such as Jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil or tea tree oil.
Many of these types of natural hair oils will keep the hair shiny and healthy and preserve the ends of the hair allowing your relaxed hair to grow longer.
The First lesson in how to maintain healthy relaxed hair.
Keep your hair maintained regularly at the salon or if you are doing your own hair make sure to develop a schedule for when you are going to add more cream relaxer to your roots.
Avoid overlapping the chemical on already processed hair.
Some women find that their hair grows out faster than others, if you can keep track of your hair growth pattern it will be easier to know when you will need a touch-up.
Best Hair Care Products for African Americans
I have found a few products that works really well on my hair and you will have to try different products until you find the right ones for your hair type.
These are some of the more popular hair products that work well on afro textured chemically processed hair.
- Luster's Pink Oil Moisturizer Hair Lotion
- Ampro Pro Styl Protein Styling Gel
- Ultra Sheen Hair Food
- ApHogee Pro-Vitamin Leave-In Conditioner
How to wrap straight hair with a satin scarf
Wrap Hair up to Protect Hair Ends
Once you pick the right type of products for your hair it is time to have a hair care regimen, starting with how you will care for your hair at night.
A tip for retaining moisture in your hair is to wrap your hair up at night with a satin bonnet.
Keep the hair wrapped by brushing it in a circular motion all the way around your head and then secure with a silk or satin scarf before you go to bed to make sure the hair stays straight.
I like to use a large scarf that can be folded in half because it is easier to wrap twice before tying it at the ends. Check out the video tutorial for further instructions.
Relaxed hair can be healthy regardless of the fact that chemicals are used to make it straighter it just will take extra effort to preserve the hair for maximum growing potential.
Hair Relaxers for African American Women
Types of Hair Relaxers:
1. Lye Relaxers: usually are a stronger formula works quickly and uses sodium hydroxide also known as alkali relaxers.
2. No-Lye Relaxers: usually works for those with sensitive skin and uses calcium hydroxide which can cause product buildup requiring a clarifying shampoo.
How to Protect your Hair from Damage
Using a hair relaxer can cause hair thinning, hair loss, scalp irritation, hair dryness and breakage, that is why it is very important to know which hair shampoos and conditioners to use on your hair along with essential natural oils.
Depending on your hair type and how fast your hair grows you will need to touch up your new growth every six to eight weeks.
Try not to overlap to avoid over processing your hair. Olive oil deep conditioning treatments will help restore your hair after each application.
The Difference between Texlaxed Hair and Relaxed Hair
One of the interesting things about black hair is that there are many different techniques and methods to styling from natural to straight to in between. I will discuss another way to wear your hair relaxed.
How it works is that when you get ready for your touch up, pick a mild cream relaxer such as one by Motions or TCB and leave it in for less time, this will create a wavy texture and leave the hair under-processed.
The results is a texture that is not completely straight but not all natural either. Some women prefer this method because it allows them to have thicker and fuller hair that is manageable.
I have read reviews about black women who tried texlaxing to get more defined curls after a wash and conditioning.
It also works for "stretching" a hair relaxer out so straightening with a blow dryer will make the process of flat ironing and pressing the hair easier.
Comparing Texturizers with Texlaxers
You can compare texturizers with texlaxers and they are pretty much the same thing. The only difference between the above mentioned and a relaxer is the amount of time lye or no-lye mixture is left on the roots of the hair, the less time will result in a wavy texture and the longer time period will cause the hair to be straighter.
Understanding the Hair Type Classification System
It is important to note that everyone who tries the texlaxing will get a different result based on their natural curl pattern.
Your hair type could be classified as: 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b which was developed by Andre Walker to describe each texture as being either wavy, spirals, curly, or kinky.
Basically your hair pattern in most cases will fall into one of these classifications so if you decide to texlax just remember your results may not be the same as someone else due to the difference in hair shape, density, length and healthiness.
My Experience with Texlaxing
This being said early on in my natural hair journey I tried to loosen my curl pattern by using a mild relaxer to achieve the texlax look and it was a disaster, my spiral curls disappeared and I had the zig zag looking texture which I did not enjoy at all.
So I cut off the processed hair as it grew out and now I just leave my hair in its own pattern without altering it with chemicals. The choice is up to you and everyone will have a different experience.
Chemical Free Relaxers Are They Safe?
Safer alternative to traditional hair relaxing methods include some called (chemical-free) made up of eco-friendly ingredients such as herbs, clay and flowers.
What is an Herbal Relaxer?
Basically they are treatments for the hair that is free of damaging chemicals and use amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Often times Sodium Carbonate is used to replace Sodium Hydroxide (lye) or Guanidine Hydroxide (no lye) because it is gentler and less abrasive on African American hair types.
There are also temporary straighteners known as a smoothing glaze where wheat proteins are used along with Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract to straighten hair and reduce frizz.
Here is a list of some popular brands:
Hair BodipHier System is supposed to naturally and safely straighten curly hair but the active ingredients is not as strong as lye and will not totally straighten the hair but add body.
Natural-Laxer MIX is a Herbal Hair Relaxer which is made of sun dried herbs and Sahara Clay that elongates the curl pattern smoothing the hair to make it more manageable.
Herbal Tame is a Hair Relaxer by Gold medal that is a gel with aloe vera, sage, nettle and rosemary extract along with Phenoxyethanol an organic chemical compound.
It is best to research a product and its ingredients before using it on your hair, not all hair products that are labeled "natural" or "organic" are necessarily without chemicals in them.
Check the Ingredients before using any "natural relaxers" at Home
Most of the hair straightening systems require heat from a flat iron, blow dryer or steamer to activate the ingredients and will last for up to 3 months providing conditioning and shine.
If you have kinky curly hair it may be hard to find a truly chemical free product to get your hair silky straight, it may reduce frizz, make it more manageable or provide a temporary elongated curl pattern but will not be the solution for a long lasting result of straighter hair.
Perms and Hair Relaxer Guide
Although this hair guide is discussing perms and relaxers for afro textured hair it is important to note that hair straighteners can be applied to all ethnic groups.
There are different types of hair relaxers to choose from that will chemically alter the texture of hair no matter if your hair is loosely curled or moderately curly or tightly coiled.
Is Black Hair un-manageable?
Another misconception is that black hair is unmanageable and needs to be tamed and this is just not the case, more than anything there needs to be more education on the proper methods and techniques needed to take care of our hair whether it is naturally curly, straightened with chemicals or heat trained.
I personally find that black hair is easy to manage with the right hair products, the key is to keep the hair moisturized as well as minimizing the use of damaging hair styling tools.
Reasons to go to a Hair Salon
If you choose to use a professional hairstylist they will have the proper training necessary to help your hair grow but if you decide to do your own hair at home with a hair relaxing kit it will take practice to avoid unnecessary breakage.
I recommend that you go to a licensed hair professional because they will know which hair straightening system will be best for your hair type and texture.
Is There a Safe Hair Relaxer for Children?
Taking care of children's hair requires using the right products, the safety of chemical hair relaxers depends on the brand and ingredients.
Kids Hair Relaxers
It is important to do your research for potential harmful side effects. No-Lye relaxers are considered safer because of having less chemicals but can cause breakage, scalp burns and hair loss.
Consult a licensed hair stylist who specializes in children hair care, because it is recommended that children under the age of 13 not use hair relaxers until they are old enough to make an informed decision about permanent hair straighteners.
Hair relaxers for kids
There are several types of products made by Softsheen-Carson Dark n Lovely Beautiful Beginnings Kids, Organic Root Stimulator Girls Olive-Oil No Lye Conditioning Relaxer, and Afri ca's Best Kids Organics No-lye Conditioning Relaxer that can be bought at retail stores and online.
Read reviews and ask other moms what they have noticed while using these products on their childrens hair. Detangling, and softening the hair can be achieved with all natural products with homemade ingredients, look for products that will not burn the scalp the skin or damage the hair.