African-American hair has very open cuticles, which lets moisture sink in but also means that it has a tendency to dry out. Chemical relaxers can add to this dryness, because their function is to break down the hair by changing its pH balance. Relaxed hair care is all about moisturizing, which not only keeps hair strong, it enhances the sleek look that relaxing creates. With a little extra attention, you can maintain relaxed hair with no more effort than you’d spend on natural hair.
Follow your hairdresser’s recommendation as to how long you should wait to shampoo after a relaxing treatment. This is usually anywhere from three days to a week.
Treat hair with a reconstructor after the first few shampoos. Let it sit in your hair for as long as the manufacturer recommends -- do not skimp on the time. This will help to strengthen your hair.
Shampoo your hair one to two times a week, using a gentle shampoo. Concentrate on massaging the shampoo into your scalp, and just let it rinse through your ends. Finish with a deep conditioner, concentrating mostly on the ends. Let the conditioner sit for five to 10 minutes before rinsing.
Wrap your hair in an absorbent towel or turban when you are done showering. Do not twist or rub; just let the material soak up the excess water.
Detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb. Let it air dry, lifting it from the roots with your fingers every few minutes.
Give your hair a warm-oil treatment once a week. Gently warm olive or almond oil in the microwave or by setting a small bowl of oil into a larger one filled with hot water. Massage the oil into the length and ends of your hair. Wrap your head in a sleep turban or scarf, and let the oil sit in your hair overnight.
- Sleep on a satin pillow when you do not wrap your hair to avoid breakage due to friction.
- Never apply relaxing treatments more frequently than every eight to 10 weeks, or you can permanently damage your hair.
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