Relaxed hair can be an exceptional way to manage and style your locks with ease.
Its smooth, sleek appearance delivers a versatile look that can last for weeks, making it an attractive option for many individuals.
But, as with any chemical treatment, relaxed hair requires a thoughtful care routine to maintain its health and shine.
This is why embracing the right dos and don'ts is pivotal.
It's not just about keeping up appearances; it's about preserving the integrity of your hair strands and ensuring that they remain as vital and nourished as they were pre-treatment.
In this article, we will voyage through the essentials of relaxer hair care, offering guidance that covers the full spectrum from pre-treatment preparation to the art of daily maintenance.
Whether you are a seasoned user or considering your first relaxer, this comprehensive guide is designed to arm you with the knowledge you need to keep your hair not just surviving but thriving.
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Understanding The Purpose Of Hair Relaxers
Hair relaxers are designed to chemically alter the texture of curly or kinky hair, making it easier to manage and style.
By breaking down the natural bonds in the hair, relaxers help to straighten the hair and reduce frizz.
However, it's important to note that the process can be damaging to the hair if not done correctly.
It's essential to follow the dos and don'ts of using relaxers to maintain the health and vitality of your hair.
Different Types Of Hair Relaxers
Hair relaxers are chemical products used to straighten and manage curly or frizzy hair by breaking down the hair's natural curl pattern.
There are several types of hair relaxers, each with its own formulation and application process.
It's important to choose the right type of relaxer based on your hair type and needs, and it's advisable to have a professional stylist perform the application to minimize the risk of damage. Here are the different types of hair relaxers:
Lye-based relaxers contain sodium hydroxide and are known for their strong and efficient straightening results.
However, they can be harsh on the scalp and may cause chemical burns if not applied correctly.
No-lye relaxers use potassium, calcium, or lithium hydroxide as their active ingredients.
They are milder than lye-based relaxers and are often recommended for sensitive scalps.
However, they may not straighten hair as effectively and may require longer processing times.
Thio-based relaxers, also known as curly or wavy relaxers, use ammonium thioglycolate to break down the natural curl pattern in the hair.
They are gentler than lye-based relaxers but may not provide the same level of straightening for those with tightly coiled hair textures.
Calcium Hydroxide Relaxers
Calcium hydroxide relaxers, often referred to as no-lye formulations, use calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate as their active ingredients.
They are considered gentler than lye-based relaxers and are suitable for fine or color-treated hair.
However, they may not be as effective for coarse or resistant hair textures.
Benefits Of Using Hair Relaxers
Hair relaxers, when used properly and with appropriate care, can offer several benefits for individuals with curly or frizzy hair who desire straighter, more manageable hair.
Here are some of the potential benefits of using hair relaxers:
Hair relaxers can help in making tightly coiled or curly hair more manageable and easier to style.
It can also reduce the time and effort required for daily hair maintenance.
Relaxed hair can be styled in various ways, offering more versatility in terms of hairstyles.
It can be worn straight, wavy, or curly, allowing for different looks as per your preference.
With relaxed hair, the time spent on detangling and styling reduces significantly, making it a time-saving option for those with busy schedules.
For some individuals, having relaxed hair can boost their confidence, as it provides a different look and can align with personal style preferences, contributing to a positive self-image.
Hair Relaxer Vs. Natural: What's The Difference
The difference between hair that has been relaxed using chemical hair relaxers and natural, untreated hair primarily lies in the hair's texture, appearance, and maintenance requirements.
Here's a comparison of hair that has been relaxed with chemical relaxers and natural hair:
When using a relaxer, the natural texture of the hair is permanently altered.
It straightens the hair to achieve a sleeker look.
Natural hair, on the other hand, maintains its original texture and curl pattern.
Relaxed hair requires regular touch-ups to maintain the straightened appearance, usually every 6-8 weeks.
Natural hair requires a different type of maintenance to keep it healthy, such as moisturizing and protective styling.
Relaxers contain chemicals that can potentially damage the hair and scalp if not applied or maintained properly.
Natural hair, when cared for correctly, is less prone to the damage caused by chemical treatments.
Relaxed hair may have limited styling options due to the permanent straightening.
Natural hair offers a wide range of styling possibilities, from curls to braids to afros, providing flexibility and versatility.
Daily Dos: Incorporating Healthy Hair Practices
Moisturizing And Hydrating Your Hair
Proper hydration is vital for relaxed hair.
Seek out products that lock in moisture without weighing down your strands to keep your hair supple and resistant to breakage.
Protecting Your Hair From Damage
Environmental factors, mechanical stress, and heat styling can all put your hair at risk.
Integrating protective measures - such as using heat protectants, wearing hats, and choosing low-manipulation hairstyles - protects the longevity and health of your relaxed hair.
Common Don'ts: Avoiding Mistakes After Relaxing Your Hair
Practices To Avoid
Avoid frequent touch-ups, minimize the use of heat, and don't neglect the ends of your hair.
Steering clear of these common pitfalls can help keep your hair in optimal condition.
Products To Steer Clear Of
Certain ingredients and products can be adverse to the well-being of relaxed hair.
Be vigilant of what you apply and opt for gentle, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners that bolster rather than diminish hair strength.
Finding Balance: Hair Relaxing And Natural Hair Health
Alternatives to Hair Relaxing
For those seeking a break from chemical treatments, there are numerous alternative styling methods and treatments that minimize damage while giving you the appearance of smoother hair.
When It's Time to Take a Break from Relaxers
Just like any other part of your body, your hair needs periods of rest to recover from chemical treatments.
Learn the signs that indicate it's time to give your hair a vacation from relaxers.
Professional Care: When to Seek Help
Professional Services for Relaxed Hair
Sometimes, the best course of action is to place your hair in the hands of a trusted professional.
Salons offer specialized services that cater specifically to the unique needs of relaxed hair.
Consultation with a Hair Care Specialist
When in doubt, consulting with a hair care specialist can provide the personalized guidance and expert treatment plans necessary for keeping your hair at its best, no matter what challenges may arise.
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Final Thoughts On Relaxer Hair
Caring for relaxed hair requires attention to detail and a commitment to regular maintenance.
By following the dos and don'ts of relaxer hair care, you can ensure that your hair remains healthy, strong, and beautiful.
With the right products and techniques, you can maintain your relaxed hair while promoting growth and preventing damage.
At Fully Vital, we understand the importance of maintaining healthy, relaxed hair.
Our science-backed hair growth products are designed to support the health and vitality of your hair, helping you achieve the strong and luscious hair you desire.
Whether you're looking to maintain your relaxed hair or stimulate growth, our products aim to address your specific needs.
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Frequently Asked Questions On Relaxer Hair
How do hair relaxers work?
Hair relaxers work by breaking down the natural bonds in the hair, specifically the protein bonds that give hair its natural texture.1
This allows the hair to be straightened and reshaped.
What is the appropriate time between relaxer applications?
The appropriate time between relaxer applications is typically 6-8 weeks.2
This allows for new hair growth and minimizes the risk of over-processing the hair.
Can relaxers damage my hair?
Yes, relaxers can potentially damage the hair if not used properly.3
Overlapping or leaving the relaxer on for too long can lead to breakage and harm the hair's overall health.
Which hair types are suitable for hair relaxing?
Generally, hair types that are coily, curly, or tightly textured are suitable for hair relaxing.
What are the major don’ts before a relaxer treatment?
Before a relaxer treatment, avoid using heavy oils or conditioners, scratching the scalp, and washing the hair immediately before the treatment.
What should be avoided after relaxing the hair?
After relaxing the hair, it's important to avoid washing or wetting the hair, as well as heat styling, for a few days to allow the hair to recover from the treatment.
What are the essential steps for maintaining relaxed hair?
Essential steps for maintaining relaxed hair include using a gentle sulfate-free shampoo, deep conditioning regularly, and protecting the hair from heat and environmental damage.
Is moisturizing important for relaxed hair?
Yes, moisturizing is essential for relaxed hair to prevent dryness and breakage.
Using a leave-in conditioner and regular oil treatments can help maintain moisture.
Can I swim in chlorinated water after relaxing my hair?
It is not recommended to swim in chlorinated water immediately after relaxing the hair, as the chemicals in the water can further damage the hair.
Is heat styling safe for relaxed hair?
Heat styling can be safe for relaxed hair if done carefully and with proper heat protection.
However, excessive heat styling can lead to dryness and damage, so it's important to use heat tools sparingly.
- Obukowho, P. (2018). Hair Relaxers: Science, Design, and Application. In Google Books. Dorrance Publishing. https://books.google.com.ph/books?hl=en&lr=&id=wxqEDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=Hair+relaxers+work+by+breaking+down+the+natural+bonds+in+the+hair
- Sishi, V. N. B., Van Wyk, J. C., & Khumalo, N. P. (2019). The pH of lye and no-lye hair relaxers, including those advertised for children, is at levels that are corrosive to the skin. South African Medical Journal, 109(12), 941. https://doi.org/10.7196/samj.2019.v109i12.14010
- Ndlovu (Mamabolo), & Mavis, T. (2011). The effects of hair relaxer treatment on the amino acid profile and surface characteristics of South African Negroid hair. Ulspace.ul.ac.za. http://ulspace.ul.ac.za/handle/10386/669