Who knew that relaxed hair can also be strong? I sure didn’t when I used to chemically treat my hair! A lot has been written of late on how to care for natural hair, something that is great as we all learn to love and care for our kinks and curls. That said, a number of women still prefer to relax (chemical straighten) their hair. Not a lot is out there when it comes to taking care of relaxed hair. This guide will shed some light on how to care for your relaxed hair to ensure that it is healthy and strong.
I’ve rocked all my hair in all sorts of ways. From a relaxed, slick mane; to a kinky, curly afro; and now funky micro locks. Throughout this journey I have learnt that there are far more similarities than differences in caring for hair, whatever the state. The key is moisture, Moisture, MOISTURE!
- Wash with sulphate- and paraben-free shampoos and conditioners
These chemicals, found in a number of beauty products, are great at removing any build-up in the hair. But they are also great at stripping away the hair’s natural oils and drying it out. Rather use a natural shampoo such as African Black Soap which cleanses the hair without stripping it. The soap is available in both a bar and liquid version by Nubian Seed depending on your preference. Try to get a wash in at least once a week.
- Use a leave-in conditioner
Using a leave-in conditioner after every wash adds moisture and strengthens the hair. It also promotes growth, makes the hair more vibrant and minimises frizz. This highly over-looked step is clearly worth the extra few minutes on wash-day. The Ludo Hydrating Leave-in Conditioner was formulated especially for this; it is packed with moisture and nutrients found in shea butter and morula oil.
- Seal in the moisture
After the leave-in conditioner apply a light-weight oil to seal in the moisture. The last thing we want is for all that moisture we just packed in to evaporate away in this strong Botswana sunshine! The Ludo Scalp Oil, Divine Scents Morula Nut Oil or Nubian Seed Carrier Oils are great for sealing in all that goodness without weighing down the hair strands. These oils are also rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants to give the hair a healthy shine. Shea Butter also makes a great sealant.
Hair food does not moisturise the hair!
- Deep condition regularly (what we refer to as “go-steamer”)
Remember, relaxers strip away the natural oils in the hair (over-washing with shampoo can also do this). This makes deep conditioning very important as it feeds the hair strands with these oils and lost moisture. I prefer to alternate between using a deep-conditioning product and a hot oil treatment.
Again, the Ludo Scalp Oil, Divine Scents Morula Nut Oil and Nubian Seed Carrier Oils are great for hot oil treatments. You can mix the oils and come up with your own concoction given your hair’s unique needs. Warm up the mixture, apply to the hair and cover up!
- Care for your ends.
Wear protective styles to keep those ends hidden away from harsh conditions so they retain their moisture. Regular trimming is advised to keep split ends from splitting further up the hair shaft. Wrap and protect your hair with a satin bonnet or pillowcase when you sleep.
- Stay active, hydrated, eat nutritious food and get enough rest! The state of your hair is a reflection of your health.
Unlike with natural hair, I preferred to get my relaxed hair done at the salon because I could never replicate that straight, glossy effect at home. Unfortunately, most salons focus on making you hair look great but neglect the health of the hair. Don’t be shy to carry your product bag to the salon and educate your stylist on what to do!
No matter how we choose to wear our hair, it is ultimately a form of expression. And if anything goes wrong, don’t fret, it’ll grow back! Click here to shop our entire range of natural hair and skincare products and share anything you think we may have missed out in the comments below!