Where are all my relaxed ladies? Can we just keep it real for this post? Relaxed hair can be a mess sometimes. It can irritate us, it can frustrate us and it can be a real struggle at times. But, we still choose to be relaxed nonetheless- why though?
Well, we cannot underestimate how convenient it is to wake up in the mornings, late for work and the ease it affords us to just sleek it back in one and rush out the door. A little Eco Styler or Edge Control and we’re good to go. But, the struggles we have to deal with on wash days, issues with dryness, frizz and weighed down hair…. Aaaarrggghhh! So, let me try and paint to you ladies, some of the struggles we have to deal with and my little tips and tricks to dealing with them.
Dry Scalp/Dry Hair
Ladies, am I the only person who is plagued with dry scalp a few days post relaxer? It is the worst feeling having freshly relaxed hair and being unable to do a side part or middle part because of the build up of flakes on your scalp. For the most part, I just wear my hair back in a ponytail to cover up the dryness. But, best believe after a week or two, a hot oil treatment is essential for alleviating dry scalp. I would usually use equal portions of castor oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil. I would mix them in an applicator bottle, drench my hair and scalp with the mixture, wrap a warm towel around my head and then finally cover my head with a plastic cap or a good old plastic bag. 45 minutes to an hour usually does it for me. After that treatment, your hair will be limp and weighed down but of course, you’ll proceed to washing out the oils with a moisturising and sulfate-free shampoo so that your hair and scalp are not left stripped of moisture, completely defeating the purpose of the treatment. Always follow with a moisture/protein treatment. Following a relaxer however, it is always recommended that a protein treatment be done to build back up the strength of your hair.
Hair Loss during Wash Day
This is such a struggle almost every wash day for me. But, I have concluded that it all depends on the deep conditioner used on your wash day, for me at least. For those of us who have been on our hair journeys for a while, we know it is essential to use a wide tooth comb during wash day; we also know that it is recommended that we wash our hair in one direction to prevent tangles and most importantly, the need for a great deep conditioner that will provide you with so much slip that the comb literally passes through your hair like butter. Without those elements, you’ll be bald in no time, your hair would be thinning and breakage would take over your entire hair journey. It will take a while for you to find a deep conditioner that works very well for your hair so this will take a little trial and error but trust me, with so many hair products on the market, you’re bound to find something that works perfectly with your hair.
How many times have we heard that heat is our number one enemy. It’s like a ringing in your head every time you pick up a heat tool. But sometimes we wonder, how else will our hair stay straight and sleek. Ladies, air drying is a technique that takes time! Your hair has to be trained. Your first attempt at air drying will probably be a disaster because your hair is so used to heat. However, a continuous practise to air dry will benefit your hair overtime. The key to successfully air drying your hair is moisture. If your hair is not properly moisturised, just expect to have dry, brittle and frizzy hair for a few days.
My advice is to use a mixture of products. After washing, please, t-shirt dry your hair for at least 15-20 mins to remove excess water. Remove the t-shirt and use a water-based leave in conditioner. After which, follow up with a cream-based leave in- that will help with providing some moisture and combating the frizz. Some people would then use a detangling leave in (which is optional) and then finally seal with an oil of your choice. Ensure that you detangle in sections to minimise breakage.
For beginners, I would suggest air drying your hair in large twists or braids. It may take a little longer to dry but frizz would not be a major issue if done that way. Also, the scarf method works wonders for those who are stretching their relaxers- it gives your roots a nice, sleek finish.
Now, those are just a few of my struggles. I have more, but I’ll explain those another time. Relaxed hair really takes time, patience and sheer dedication. You’ll be happy to see that consistency will bring you some unexpected results. But always remember that the health of your hair should be priority over length. Invest the time!