Relaxed Hair Health: How to Care for Relaxed Hair All Year Round

Alyssa François | 03 July 2017

Your go-to guide to maintaining the health of your relaxed hair.

Processed hair has the ability to thrive and be nourished. But that only happens when you have a great relaxed hair health regimen set in place. We love that feeling after a fresh relaxing process when our hair is as sleek as ever, when our fingers can effortlessly glide from the root-to-tip, and wrapping our hair at night only takes five minutes since as our comb easily glides through our strands. Yes, that’s great and all, but as you know, it doesn’t last. However, there are few steps that you can take to keep the health of your hair in check, and looking fab! Read on to discover some relaxed hair health tips to maintain and how to care for relaxed hair no matter the season or your lifestyle.

How to Care for Relaxed Hair During Workouts

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with the gym. Hurts so good or hurts so bad, sometimes the real pain dealing with our hair. Working up a sweat gets the blood pumping, but this same sweat is also a way of saying buh-bye to our fab hairstyles (side eyeing you hot yoga!) as it leaves our hair looking like an untidy mess. And this is why most of us skip the gym altogether. For many, maintaining relaxed hair is a priority, getting a hefty set of abs isn’t worth sweating out a perfect hairstyle (actually it might be). Here is how to care for relaxed hair while getting your workout on at the gym without worrying about a bad hair day.

how to care for relaxed hair health: workout protective style
Looking for a way on how to care for relaxed hair while working out? Box braids are a great protective style option for an avid gym goer. Tie them up into a bun and get those workouts going!

1. Protective styling.

Buns and braids are ideal styles for hitting the gym. Not only does it keep your hair out of your face when you gather it up into an updo, it keeps the ends of your hair secure and away from rubbing against your sweaty skin, which causes frizz. If you’re wearing long braids, simply tuck them in like a bun. Once your hair is dry after your workout, you may proceed to remove the protective style and style your hair as usual. Or leave it as is, boxer-inspired braids are having a moment these days and bun hairstyles are classy and transitional (perfect if gym class is before office hours).

2. Work out on wash day.

If preserving your straight strands throughout the week is your main priority, try hitting the gym on the day(s) you plan to wash your hair. This way you don’t have to worry too much about sweating out your fresh perm. When it’s time to wash make sure you clarify with a shampoo to get the sweat and dirt trapped in your hair completely out. Try out Suave Essentials Daily Clarifying Shampoo and Conditioner. The shampoo helps remove residue without stripping moisture, and the conditioner is oil-free and won’t weigh your hair down.

3. Use dry shampoo.

If you haven’t done so as yet, place your dry shampoo into your gym bag now. You really shouldn’t be leaving home without it. Dry shampoo helps to revive your hair in between washes, and in your case, this is after an intense workout. After your workout, spritz dry shampoo at your roots and let your hair air dry. Dry shampoo, like Dove Detox + Purify Dry Shampoo will remove oil from your roots without leaving any visible residue on the hair. By the time you get home you should be able to carry out your nightly maintenance routine whether it’s wrapping your hair, pin curling or placing into a bun.

4. Wear a swim cap.

If your choice of cardio involves laps in a swimming pool, do your strands a favor and protect it from the chlorine and prevent it from getting wet by wearing a swim cap. The chlorine can be drying to relaxed hair, and dry hair leads to breakage if it isn’t handled with care. If you happen to slip up and not wear a swimming cap, be sure to follow up with a conditioner to replenish the moisture in your hair on wash day. If you feel that your hair needs something much deeper, opt for a hair mask instead.

5. Switch up your workout routine.

Gotta’ give it to you if you’re truly dedicated to your gym membership. If you have no other options but to get your heart pumping on a daily basis, switch up your workout routine when you really need to save your hairstyle. Walking exercises are great and your body doesn’t work up too much of a sweat. Do a 10-minute crunch session in the morning. Anything to keep your blood pumping without sacrificing your hairstyle.

Summer hair care routines should be so simple and easy that you won’t need a to break a sweat. Caring for processed hair during the summer months shouldn’t feel like a chore, especially when you want to spend more time outdoors having fun and less time indoors treating your hair. However, in order to get the most out of your summer and spend less time worrying about your hair (all while keeping it healthy looking), you’ll have to make a few minor tweaks in your relaxed hair care regimen. Nothing over the top, we promise! And plus, this summer is all about creative hairstyles, some of which may actually also contribute to the overall health of your relaxed hair (more on this later)! From fighting frizz, protective styling with fun hairdos, and accessorizing your hair to minimize damage, read on to discover how you can care for your relaxed hair this season.

Caring for Relaxed Hair: Summer Hair Regimen

1. Humidity resistance.

Hello, summer, and hello frizz. One weather condition that we all despise during the summer season is humidity no matter our hair type. Once humidity enters the hair shaft, we can basically say good-bye to our hairstyle. But you can definitely change the way you style your hair (more on this later), or switch up your products to help prevent frizz from happening to you. Try a hair care system that works to keep frizz at bay. We like the Dove Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy Shampoo and the Dove Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy Conditioner. This formula works to help get rid of frizz, while keeping your hair nourished.

2. Try protective styling.

As mentioned above, another way to combat frizz, and to protect your strands from the harsh UV rays is by wearing your hair in protective styles. Hearing the term “protective styling” may have you imagine the most boring hairstyles ever. However, there are so many fun hairstyles that you can try like, French braids, donut buns, fishtail braids and more. If your hair has been exposed to the sun for a prolonged amount of time, the UV rays can damage the cuticle, so be sure to find ways to prevent damage by changing up your hairstyles. Have fun with the vast selection of creative styles out there and give your strands a much-needed break at the same time.

relaxed hair health: summer hair care
Need help caring for relaxed hair during the summer season? Build a no-sweat relaxed hair care regimen.

3. Use hair accessories.

Hats, scarves, and headbands are fun accessories to add to your everyday look. What’s more, these hair accessories also serve as a major savior for your hair. Hats and scarves, help keep your hair protected from the sun. Headbands help absorb sweat that can leave your hairstyles feeling clammy and greasy at your roots. Don’t forget hair accessories for fun summer activities like swimming. Chlorine can wreak havoc on chemically treated locks, opt for using a swimming cap to protect your strands. If you chose not to use a swimming cap, drench your hair with a conditioner or coat with an oil like olive oil before swimming. This can help lessen the damaging effects of chlorine since there’s a protective barrier over the hair shaft. Post swim, wash your hair with a shampoo, condition your strands, then style as usual.

4. Use dry shampoo.

If this isn’t already a staple in your relaxed hair care regimen for summer, it’s time to add it in now. During the summer months, the hot and humid weather conditions can leave your hair feeling oily. The last thing you want to do when you get home is to wash your hair, especially when you probably just washed it a day or two ago. Dry shampoo like Dove Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo can help keep your hair refreshed, feeling clean and allow you to skip a hair wash or two.

relaxed hair health: half-up hairstyle
Relaxed hair has different treatment needs during the summer. Photo credit:

Just as dry or color-treated hair needs extra TLC, relaxed hair needs its own share of proper care and attention. Common summer-season culprits such as harsh UV rays, salt water and pool water can wreak havoc on chemically processed hair. They can make strands overly dry and brittle, and even lead to breakage.

The good news? There are measures you can take to ensure that you maintain your relaxed hair and that it’s properly taken care of during these months. A few tips to help you this summer:

3. Don’t overwash.

Bummer, we know—it’s too hot to skip your head showers, not to mention you’re sweating so much more and straighter hair is more of a grease trap. But just as you’ve been extra-careful when you washed your curls or that ‘fro back in the day, relaxed hair needs that same love and attention too, seeing as it’s also as fragile, or even more so. Try to aim for every other day, and choose a nourishing wash and care system that protects against breakage as well. We love the fortifying formula of Suave Professionals Biotin Infusion Strengthening Shampoo and Suave Professionals Biotin Infusion Strengthening Conditioner, as they do a gentle (but thorough!) cleanse, while helping reduce hair fall due to breakage by 95%.

4. Pre-poo.

Water swells up the hair shaft, which can lead to a fraying of the cuticle layer. Coating your hair in a moisturizing hair oil or primer before wetting it reduces this friction and helps keep your strands silkier. Products formulated to help shield hair from color leeching, such as Nexxus New York Salon Care Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer, are also excellent in repelling water and locking in shine. Bonus: It has Argan and coconut oils, which have serious moisturizing benefits that can help to repair your damaged hair.

5. Co-wash. 

Co-washing, or “conditioner-only washing,” entails washing hair, you guessed it, only with a cleansing conditioner and with no shampoo. There’s been a surge in this movement recently, as fans of the product claim it to be much gentler on your strands. Cleansing conditioners are not a 2-in-1 shampoo and do not lather, so be prepared for a noticeable “slip” on hair with every use (which can lead to buildup). However, it’s a great shampoo alternative, or if you want a silkier look and feel on your relaxed hair.

6. Air-dry as often as you can.

Hey, one of the best things of having straightened or relaxed hair is not having to deal with hot tools as much as you used to. Maximize this look’s wash-and-wear benefits by simply blotting hair with a towel after you shower and letting nature run its course. For insurance, coat hair with a thin layer of leave-in conditioner such as Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Heat Defense Leave-In Conditioner for added protection against frizz.

7. Invest in a heat protectant.

If and when you do need to heat-style (or at least before stepping out into the sun), a heat/UV protectant can help keep your strands’ integrity intact. One that also guards against the damaging effects of heat styling like breakage and frizz, such as TRESemmé Get Sleek Heat Protection Spray, is a must-have in any hair arsenal.

How to Care for Relaxed Hair Health All Year Round

how to care for relaxed hair health: headband hairstyles
With the proper routine, keep your relaxed hair looking healthy. Photo credit:

1. Protein treatments.

During the relaxing process, protein bonds in the hair shaft get broken down. Hair is made up of keratin, a protein your strands need. Replenish the keratin that’s been compromised with a protein treatment once a month. However, too much protein can lead to breakage, so you’ll need to find a happy medium. The best time to do your treatment is during your next wash day after relaxing the hair the previous week. After shampooing, apply the treatment all over your hair and let sit for about five to 15 minutes. Rinse and style as usual. Try Nexxus Replenishing Masque to moisturize and add balance throughout your hair.

2. Deep condition.

Once a month, good. Once a week, even better! Maintain relaxed hair health by deep conditioning especially on your relaxer touch-up days. Treat your strands with Nexxus Emergencee Reconstructing Treatment. If you want an even deeper condition, add heat. Place a shower cap on your head then use a heating cap or hooded dryer. If you don’t have either you can use self-heat with the shower cap alone.

3. Limit heat styling.

Heat styling can wreak havoc on your strands. Minimize using too much heat by roller-setting your hair after you wash it. If you decide to wear your hair straight, comb it out and wrap your hair after removing the hair rollers. Part hair at the crown from ear to ear, then brush or comb the front section to the right and then to the back of the hair. Continue to wrap the remainder of your hair, working your way back to the starting point. Wrapping your hair will stretch out all of the curls from the rollers and result in straight bouncy strands. To maintain this look all week, wrap your hair at night before bed and secure it with a silk or satin scarf.

4. Trim your ends.

Do you ever wonder why your ends look so frayed and only seem to be getting worse? Well, it’s pretty simple: Split ends worsen as they are left untreated, and can inch up your hair shaft. Nip them in the bud by trimming them every four to six weeks. Remind yourself by setting an alert on your phone. Trust us, it works!

5. Only relax when needed.

Make sure you’re only relaxing your hair when you are due for a relaxing treatment, and not when you feel a little new growth at the roots—and certainly not because you want your roots to be sleek and laid-down. Ideally, you should only be relaxing your hair only once a month. If you can go longer, more power to you! Be mindful of the fragile state of the hair at the demarcation line in between relaxing sessions by keeping your hair moisturized.

6. Moisturize.

You know how the floor is slippery when wet? Well, hate to break it to you, but your hair is also fragile when it’s dry. Your hair shouldn’t feel like straw when you brush it. If it does, you probably have dry hair. Say goodbye to breakage by adding a proper moisturizing routine. Moisturize hair daily when styling with a lotion or cream leave-in conditioner when needed from the root to tip, focusing on the ends since the hair tends to be drier there. Pro tip: Try not to over moisturize! This will cause your hair to look clammy and greasy. Trust us, been there, done that. And now you don’t have to!

Why You Should Add Regular Trims to Your Relaxed Hair Health Routine

Getting regular trims is a universal beauty rule, no matter what hair type you have, scheduling a hair trim every few weeks (or as needed) is vital for healthy-looking hair. However, many of us seek clever ways to cop out of a hair trimming (or two) in order to retain length. Sorry girl, you need to cut it.

With relaxed hair, it’s important to remember that during the chemical treatment process, the bonds within the hair shaft are broken down to straighten the curly texture of the hair. Your hair is essentially left in a weakened state and is extremely susceptible to damage. This is where healthy hair care habits, like deep conditioning to strengthen, keeping hair clean and keeping your ends trimmed comes into play. To emphasize the importance of the latter, here are five reasons regular trims are important to your processed hair care routine.

relaxed hair health: short pixie
Whether long or short, keep your relaxed hair healthy with regular trims.

1. Your garments may fray your hair ends.

If you have medium to long relaxed hair, you probably love wearing your hair down. There’s nothing like a fresh wash and set, right? Here’s something you probably don’t know: While your hair is swaying from side to side with a healthy looking bounce, the fabric from your clothing may be having a field day with your hair ends. Take a look at your ends, if they look frayed trim them. To prevent this from happening again, opt for updo hairstyles or coat your hair with a serum to create a protective barrier from rough fabrics like wool.

2. You constantly use heat.

Listen up: Heat protectants are your friend. With chemically-treated hair, the misuse of heat styling tools can obviously do more harm than good to your hair. Case in point: Overuse of flat irons, blowdryers, and curling irons without a protective barrier, strips the natural sebum from the hair which causes dryness, breakage, and you guessed it, split ends. To start fresh, nip those ends off and start to use a heat protectant, like the TRESemmé Platinum Strength Heat Spray to protect your hair before styling.

3. You have visibly uneven or thinning hair ends.

You ever wondered why you head to the salon for a trim and end up leaving with a haircut? Let us explain. It’s really nothing personal, your stylist isn’t jealous of your hair growth. They see what you don’t see — or, what you pretend to not see. You call it length, they see uneven and thin hair ends. The only way to get your hair back to its healthy-looking state is to cut it, evenly. The longer you wait — because you’re loving your length and want to hold onto it for dear life — the more hair you’ll need to remove. Take your pick!

4. You want to avoid split ends.

If you don’t want to deal with split ends in the first place, get regular trims. Schedule an appointment every 6-8 weeks. In between salon visits, make sure your hair is moisturized and protected from damage. Use a few pumps of  the Suave Professionals Split End Rescue Hair Serum onto your hair after washing to keep your hair smooth while also preventing split ends.

5. You want to maintain a hair cut.

Whether you’re rocking a short cut or chic layers, regular trims are a great way to maintain the look of your hairstyle. There’s nothing more unappealing than a hot new haircut with visibly damaged ends. Keep your look fresh and easy to style with healthy hair ends.

Looking for more tips for processed hair? Here’s what you need to know about growing out relaxed hair

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