Full disclosure: I’ve relaxed my hair more than once. Yes, it’s straight Asian hair that may not look like it has seen its share of relaxed hair care issues, but to my defense, my hair did come of age during the height of the texture-phobic ’90s. I couldn’t wait to get on the poker-straight bandwagon. And I was also too lazy to deal with frizz on the daily! Only until I discovered the joys of bleaching and hair color did I realize that if I wanted to prevent breakage, it was either one or the other, and my Japanese rebonding days came to an end.
Although the results are nothing short of life-changing, especially on kinky, previously unmanageable hair, relaxing your strands definitely does a number on the strand’s integrity. Relaxing is a chemical process that changes the shape of the hair bond from curly to straight. It effectively gives it a straight, smooth appearance… as well as a weaker, overprocessed shaft.
Read on for some simple, straightforward relaxed hair care tips and advice.
Useful Relaxed Hair Care Tips
1. Get your hair relaxed professionally.
It really makes a difference in some basic relaxed hair care. Your touchups should only happen once every three to four months, and product should only be reapplied onto regrowth, as you don’t want the damage to overlap onto already-relaxed strands. The potential time and cost are worth investing in. You don’t want to have to correct a botched home job that can wreak havoc on both your hair and your wallet.
2. Don’t shampoo or conditioner daily.
If you must, use a shampoo as a part of your relaxed hair care that’s formulated for chemically processed or ultra-damaged hair—they are gentle and come with moisturizers that nourish a tired, raggedy hair strand.
3. Co-wash on in-between days with a gentle cleansing conditioner.
Back in the days when these weren’t on market, girls with relaxed hair had to make do with rinsing with creamier at-home treatments. Or they would skip on shampoo altogether and just rinsing with conditioner. Nowadays, ladies are lucky to have this option that allows them to refresh an oily scalp and stringy strands with a specially formulated cleansing conditioner, all the while inflicting as little washing trauma as possible.
4. Explore products that will help with split ends.
Unfortunately, this may become a new reality for you now that you’ve jumped on the relaxing bandwagon. Treatments with nourishing, silicon-infused ingredients act as a glue to temporarily bind back jagged ends that can last through several washes. The best recourse is to nip things in the bud and get regular trims once you start seeing some fraying.
5. Try heatless hairstyles.
And what better time than now? It may seem counterintuitive now that you’ve just straightened your hair, but the beauty of having relaxed hair is that it can be manipulated into most styles without giving in. Braids, twist-outs, loose chignons, and ponytails are all easy trending options to try that don’t require much heat tools. Remember, anything that gives you a break from the blowdryer or flat iron is good.
A really simple, at-home conditioning treatment, like Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Intense Moisture Mask, done once or twice a week can help re-strengthen and revive strands back to their original vitality.
7. Use a heat protectant whenever possible.
Ever noticed how stressed out your strands look, even if all you do is run around the city all day? Well, that’s because daily exposure can wreak some damage too. Spray hair with a thin coating of a daily thermal protectant to keep strands fresh throughout the day.
8. Play with products with botanical blend formulas.
Products with hair oils are a nifty way to imbibe your relaxed strands with some lightweight moisture. Coconut, jojoba, Argan, olive, almond… pick an oil, any oil (why not try Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil?) and revel in the restorative, shine-promoting benefits that come with.
9. When in doubt, bring out the dry shampoo.
Extend your good hair day, or an immaculate hairstyle as long as you can, by using a dry shampoo, such as Dove Refresh+Care Detox+Purify Dry Shampoo, to refresh your hair in between washes. This works to mop up any excess dirt and grease on your scalp so it doesn’t overcoat your straightened strands and leave you with a stringy, unkempt appearance.