Here are some tips on how to maintain short relaxed hair so that it does not break off and become severely damaged.
1. Only relax your hair every 8-12 weeks depending on your hair texture. DO NOT relax your hair every time you see new growth.
2. Condition and wash your hair every 4-7 days with a shampoo and conditioner designed for chemically treated hair. DO NOT use shampoos with Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Make sure you also use a leave-in conditioner after every wash. Only comb through the hair with a wide-toothed comb and never brush while it’s WET as black hair will surely break in this wet state.
3. If you need to wash your hair more often than every 4-7 days you should use conditioner only which has been dubbed “CO-Washing”. Black hair can never be over conditioned and many relaxed hair women cowash their hair 2-3 times a week. CoWashing is simply washing your thirsty roots with a moisturizing conditioner versus using a shampoo frequently which will surely dry out chemically treated hair.
4. Avoid using extreme heat on your hair to style. When possible try to avoid heat all together. Use other methods of achieving curls and style settings like magnetic rollers, wet setting and curlformers. Heat should only be used on SPECIAL occasions and NOT everyday or 3-4 times a week. If you are going to blow dry your hair make sure it’s partially dry and turn the heat to medium. Just remember too much heat is damaging.
5. Don’t let the barrel cover of a curling iron to clamp down on your hair. When this happens it creates a super weak point in the hair which will break off. The barrel cover should be held slightly open for the ease of your hair moving over the curling iron barrel. This method avoids the pulling and tugging that comes from the pressure of the barrel cover if it’s clamped down.
6. Using an ionic, ceramic curling or flat iron will work well as long as they have temperature controls. 300-370 degrees is plenty of heat to style relaxed hair depending on your hair’s thickness. There is no need to run the irons over a section of hair more than once and definitely no more than twice. Before using the heat protect your hair with a heat protective serum or cream and not an oil. Keep in mind to use as little heat as possible because it can only do more damage to relaxed hair if frequently used.
7. Unless you Cowash regularly avoid using moisturizers with mineral oil and petrolatum. These ingredients DO NOT moisturize but rather function as a sealant. They protect the cuticle layer from damage and moisture loss.
8. Deep Condition your hair every two weeks to retain more moisture and strength. Use a creamy deep conditioner that has some mild protein and moisturizing ingredients on your damp hair after a wash. Let it sit in your hair for about 40 minutes before rinsing. Deep conditioning provides a measure of preventative damage from frequent manipulation and styling of your hair. This is extremely important as it truly helps prevent hair damage so do it consistently and make sure your product of choice has quality ingredients. Research Paul Mitchell and Aveda.
9. Lastly drink plenty of water and get an adequate amount of rest to reduce stress. You should exercise regularly to be healthy as your hair is part of your body and will suffer if it’s growing from an unhealthy scalp, skin and place of stress. If needed supply the body with supplements such as a multi-vitamin, Biotin and Omega-3 Oil.