Chemical relaxers contain potent chemicals to change the structure of your hair and make it straighter. However, the chemicals in these relaxers can also be very damaging to your hair. If your hair is properly relaxed, there won’t be as much damage done to your hair, explains Pamela Ferrell, author of “Let’s Talk Hair.” But improper use of relaxers increases dryness and breakage. That’s where conditioning becomes essential to keeping your hair strong and healthy.
Thoroughly rinse out all traces of neutralizing shampoo before applying the conditioner.
Use a conditioner or masque specifically for relaxed hair. Apply the conditioner, and ensure that all of your hair is coated from the roots to the tips.
Let the conditioner sit on your hair for the recommended amount of time. Each conditioner requires a different amount of time for application. You can also vary the application time based on whether you want a light conditioning treatment of about five to seven minutes or a deep conditioning treatment of up to 45 minutes.
Use heat to speed up a deep conditioning treatment, if you’re doing one. Put on a plastic cap to cover your hair, then wrap a thick towel around it for about 15 to 25 minutes. Alternatively, put on a plastic cap and sit under a hair dryer at medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Rinse the conditioner thoroughly from your hair.
Apply a leave-in conditioner for extra nourishment and strengthening. Seal in the moisture by applying a natural oil to your hair such as jojoba, sage, rosemary or olive oil.
- “Let’s Talk Hair”; Pamela Ferrell; 1996
- HairBoutique.com: Chemical Hair Straightening FAQs
- Deep condition your hair once a week in between relaxer treatments.
- Do not use olive oil on your hair if it’s color-treated as it causes colors to fade faster, according to HairBoutique.com.
- Buy conditioners for relaxed hair in tubes or bottles instead of jars. They’re less prone to oxidation and contaminants in the air, which can make them less effective.
- If you use a hot-oil treatment after conditioning your relaxed hair, do a skin test first to make sure the oil is not too hot; otherwise, it may severely burn your scalp.
Kay Uzoma has been writing professionally since 1999. Her work has appeared in "Reader’s Digest," "Balance," pharmaceutical and natural health newsletters and on websites such as QualityHealth.com. She is a former editor for a national Canadian magazine and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from York University.
Maria Trujillo/Demand Media