Relaxing your hair makes maintaining your hair at home easy. It helps cut down the time it takes to wash, condition and style your hair. Some people like to relax their hair because they know their hair will not revert when exposed to moisture.
Relaxers have benefits, but because of improper use, relaxers have a bad reputation. Many people blame relaxers for their hair damage, and hair loss. Relaxed hair can be just as healthy as natural hair under the right conditions.
What can you do to achieve healthy relaxed hair?
- Get your hair relaxed by a licensed cosmetologist who has a good reputation for relaxer applications. Read reviews on line, or other social media channels. Do not relax your hair yourself because you can overlap the relaxer, and cause hair breakage.
- Do not over process your hair. Wait eight weeks to re-touch your new growth.
- Stay on schedule with your retouch application. If you wait too long to relax your new growth, you can get hair breakage. How long you wait to re-touch your new growth depends on your hair texture as well.
- Use lye based (sodium hydroxide) relaxers, instead of no – lye relaxers (potassium hydroxide, lithium hydroxide, or guanidine hydroxide). No lye relaxers leave calcium build up on the hair, and leads to dryness, brittle hair, and hair breakage.
- Ask your hair stylist for a bond multiplying treatment after your relaxer, like Olaxplex. Olaplex strengthens chemically processed hair by realigning the strong disulphide bonds that break during chemical services. When disulphide bonds are broken, the hair is prone to breakage.
- Minimize the use of hot tools. When you use flat irons, or other heat appliances, use heat protectant. Click here for heat protectant recommendations.
- Trim your hair the same day as your relaxer to avoid split ends.
- Wear loose ponytails, instead of tight ponytails that can cause, fly – away hair, or hair breakage at the base of the ponytail.
These simple steps will help you have healthy relaxed hair.
Relaxers are not for everyone. Here are three signs it is time to stop relaxing your hair.
You Have a Very Sensitive or Itchy Scalp.
If you have a scalp condition like psoriasis, or seborrhea dermatitis, your scalp may feel sore, or be bruised at times from you scratching your scalp.
Relaxers can make the scalp condition worse by causing more irritation, and burning of the scalp. Especially if there are open wounds on your scalp that did not heal prior to the relaxer application. You can get cuts on your scalp from scratching your scalp often. Even if your stylist bases your scalp, prior to relaxing your hair, you will still burn because you scratched your scalp before the relaxer was put in.
Your scalp may flake up more, and many times because your scalp is very sensitive, the relaxer does not process properly, because it has to be rinsed out too fast. When this happens, you are left with under processed hair, that may break off because of the texture difference, or from heat damage because you may be over styling your hair with flat irons to maintain a straight look. In contrast, your hair may be relaxed to perfection, but that means, you probably suffered through burning and pain during the relaxer application. Getting a relaxer is not worth the damage it can cause to your scalp if your skin is sensitive.
I recommend a smoothing treatment like Avlon Texture Release instead of a relaxer service. It is an amino acid based treatment that will give you smooth hair gently, without irritating your scalp.
Are You Experiencing Hair Loss?
If you notice your hair is thinning, or you are experiencing hair loss, sometimes relaxers can make the problem worse, causing you to lose more hair. In a case where there is permanent hair loss, meaning destruction of hair follicles, it is a good idea to stop relaxing your hair. There are ways to slow down the hair loss so that it does not spread with the use of laser therapy, topical steroid treatments, and minoxidil. Relaxing your hair, can be irritating on the scalp, which can increase the inflammation that takes place with permanent hair loss.
Do You Color Your Hair Often?
If you use permanent hair color to cover grays often, or because you like to color your hair, you may want to consider transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. The two chemicals, do not mix after some time. Applying relaxer, and color to your hair may cause your hair to be dry, limp and break off. Even if you wait two weeks after your relaxer to add permanent color, or bleach to your hair, it may still cause damage. Choose either to relax, or color your hair. You may also want to get your ends colored, or use an ombre technique if you must have a relaxer, and permanent color on your hair. Color the hair shaft, but leave enough space at the new growth to prevent hair breakage when you get the relaxer re-touched. Remember, every time you add a chemical to your hair, it is left in a weaker state than the last chemical service. This is why choosing one over the other is best for maintaining healthy hair.
Relaxers are not our enemy if they are used properly, and when the hair, or scalp can handle the chemical. Like all hair care services, special care has to be taken to make sure there is no harm caused to the hair, or scalp.
Which one do you think is healthier, relaxed or natural hair? Share your thoughts with us.
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