So, you want to know how in the world you can have a relaxer yet still keep your hair healthy? I am here to tell you from experience that it is definitely possible. As a professional hairstylist, relaxed hair blogger, and just a black woman in general with relaxed hair, I can say that you do not have to be natural to have healthy hair. I have done many things over the years that have damaged my hair so I want to share with you what NOT to do to your relaxed hair in order to keep it healthy AND help it grow. Here is your checklist for eight tips for having healthy relaxed hair:
1. Only let a professional hairstylist do your chemicals- I can not say this enough! Relaxers are so common that we have gotten extremely comfortable with them. We have to remind ourselves that relaxers are still chemicals that can be dangerous and harmful if not used correctly. If you have not been trained on the proper technique, handling, and application of a relaxer then you should definitely not be doing them on yourself. Just because you have seen a professional do them and it looks easy does not mean that you have the ability to do them. I have done my own relaxers before and I have damaged my hair because of it. Most of the time you may not see the damage immediately but one day you will look at your hair and wonder why it looks thin, is breaking off, and just doesn't have the same feel that it used to have. It is because over time, self-relaxing causes damage that will sneak up on you later.
2. Stretch your relaxers to every four months- Every four months is the same as about every sixteen weeks. Yes sixteen! NOT six! Relaxing every six weeks causes overlapping which leads to over processing, which leads to breakage and damage. Every client that I have that has a relaxer stretches them out. I will not relax anyone's hair if it has only been six weeks because I know the damage it can cause and when I became a professional hairstylist I vowed that no one would be able to say I caused their hair to come out. My number one specialty is healthy hair and for my relaxed hair clients stretching their relaxers is the way to keeping it healthy.
3. Do not get permanent color- Relaxing the hair already puts enough stress on the hair. Coloring relaxed hair often times makes it too weak which causes severe breakage. I always tell my clients to pick one. Do you want color or a relaxer? Pick the one you want more and stick with it. If you have a relaxer and want color, use extensions to add color. That way you are not coloring your real hair. I remember once I decided to color my own hair (big mistake). I went and purchased the cap, pulled my hair through, put color on, and let the color sit until it got to the color that I wanted (blonde). When I rinsed the color off of my hair, every strand of hair that had color on it came out! Now that I am a hairstylist, I realized it was because I had stressed my relaxed hair to its limit. It could not take it. That is why I can now tell you from experience not to color your relaxed hair!
4. Get your hair trimmed every three months- Getting your hair trimmed on a regular basis helps it continue to be healthy. Despite what you have heard, getting trims does not help your hair grow because it grows from the scalp not the ends, but it does help the ends not to continue to split up the hair shaft. If you delay getting trims you eventually have to get more hair cut which makes you feel like your hair is not growing. It is growing, but not getting trims on a regular basis hinders your hair from being as long and healthy as it could be.
6. Shampoo and condition weekly- Shampoo and condition your hair weekly because it stimulates blood flow in your scalp which is what causes the hair to grow. Also, a healthy scalp is a clean scalp. So be sure to shampoo and condition with preferably with by L. Jones products.
7. Do not use grease- Grease clogs the pores of your scalp and gives a thick coating to the hair which causes it to be very dry. This coating does not let any moisture in the hair nor does it let moisture out. It also causes the hair to be weighed down and not have any body.
8. Use heat once per week on low setting- Your relaxed hair is already straight so you do not need much heat on it at all. Only use heat once per week and no higher than 375 degrees. Using too much heat can cause damage. Also be sure to use a flat iron like this one that has a variable heat temp gauge.
Follow these tips and you are well on your way to having healthy relaxed hair. Yes it does take some work and effort on your part but it can definitely be done! Remember, all hair can be good hair! If your hair is healthy, it is good!
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