Learn how to take care of your relaxed hair for optimum growth
Here are 5 easy ways to get your chemically relaxed hair to grow and grow!
1. Deep Conditioning* Treatments– This is key in the health of your relaxed hair. Moisture promotes elasticity which is important in making the hair resilient to damage. Relaxed hair loves deep conditioning treatments.
A deep conditioner* is any good natural conditioner left on for 20-30 minutes (even overnight for some). It is always best to use heat with a deep conditioner*. Heat makes the hair shaft swell up hence it absorbs more moisture. Heat can be added with a hair steamer, hooded dryer (with a plastic heat cap) or even with a warm towel tied around the head.
The deep conditioning* treatment should be rinsed well from the hair and always end with a cold water rinse. The cold water makes the hair cuticle close keeping all that lovely moisture inside the shaft.
2. Seal’ the moisture in – The most common way to do this is with oils. A light natural oil used sparingly concentrating on the ends will keep the hair soft and moisturized all day.
The principle behind this is that oil molecules are larger that water molecules. The oil molecules coat the shaft of the hair after the deep conditioning treatment hence locking the water molecules inside. A good natural oil that can be used for sealing is coconut oil. Never use petroleum products on the hair and never use oils if you are going to heat-style your hair afterwards.
When using heat you should use a silicone based heat protecting serum that will do the same thing by both coating the hair shaft to keep moisture in and absorb most of the heat from your heat tools.
3. Daily moisture – After a long day, it is not uncommon for relaxed hair to feel a bit dry. If you deep condition and seal your hair regularly you may be able to keep your hair moisturized for days at a time but like anything left out in the elements, after a while it will lose some of its moisture. It is a good habit to get into moisturizing your hair daily. It a quick painless process!
All you need is a good oil-free hair lotion (The first ingredient must be water). A coin-sized amount is enough for shoulder length hair, a touch more for longer tresses. Follow this on with a few drops of your oil to seal and this should keep your hair soft for the next 24 hours if not longer.
No need to be concerned that your lovely new flat ironing job will be ruined by adding a water-based product to it. Remember, you only need a small amount which is unlikely to affect your style and you may wrap your hair afterwards to keep it straight and bouncy. You may also opt to apply the moisturizer only to the ends of the hair as this is the oldest part or the hair and tends to get drier faster.
4. Protein Treatments – Protein is just as important to hair as moisture is. All hair is made up of protein so when hair becomes damaged by heat tools or hair is over-moisturized; a deep protein treatment can work wonders.
Protein will fill in the gaps or cracks in the hair shaft hence strengthening the structure. Some good protein treatments will even stop breakage immediately! These treatments are only required when serious breakage is occurring or when breakage is foreseen e.g. getting a chemical service, you can get the protein treatment to prevent any breakage after the service.
If the hair is already in a good state then an occasional protein treatment helps give the hair the added strength it needs. You can buy light protein shampoos or conditioners or raid the kitchen and crack an egg into your usual conditioner for that added bit of protein!
5. Using the correct tools for your hair – Relaxed hair tends to be very fragile when wet. You should never brush or use a small tooth comb* on your hair. Only use a wide tooth comb* to detangle or comb products through. It is best to avoid manipulating the hair too much until it is mostly dry.
Even when the hair is dry use a brush sparingly (if at all) opting rather for your trusty wide tooth comb* for styling purposes. Many are now adept at finger styling and avoid using a comb altogether!
Heat tools should also be avoided where possible. Relaxed hair can be straightened quite easily by wrapping when wet and letting it air dry overnight. Alternatively a good roller set will give you straight silky results without excessive heat.
If a flat iron must be used, make sure it has a temperature control and use the lowest temperature at which you can get good results. If you use a straightening balm or serum on the hair, very little heat is required to smooth out the hair. See the article on how to cheat a roller setting.
With these tips in a few short months you are sure to move your hair to heights never expected. Hair grows from 6-10 inches per year. Take regular quarterly pictures of your progress to show you how much the health and length of your hair has increased. Anyone can have waist length hair. Why shouldn’t it be you?