Looking to straighten those locks for the summer months? Here’s everything you need to know about relaxing your hair.
Step-by-step, here are the products you need to care for your natural hair as you grow that awesome afro.
While we’re thrilled the weather is warming up, textured-hair gals will agree that with the heat comes typically dry, frizzy hair that is difficult to control. It’s no wonder then that these frustrated ladies often turn to relaxing their naturally curly locks as a way to achieve a sleeker and more refined look. Chemical relaxershelp keep that wild mess at bay, permanently smoothing and straightening the hair instead.
But before you run off in hot pursuit of a relaxer with your name written all over it, keep in mind that there are different types to choose from – each suited to a particular hair type. Sit tight because we’ve got all the info you need before you hit the salon or store.
Sodium hydroxide relaxers, commonly known as lye relaxers, are ideal for wavy, curly or coily hair. Try Dark and Lovely Restore Plus Relaxer Aloe Vera – a new variation that will give that desired straightness.
The same can be said for non-lye relaxers, aka calcium hydroxide, except these, are designed specifically for sensitive scalps. Surprisingly, non-lye relaxers are a lot harsher on your hair and tend to dry it out more than a lye relaxer would. Dark and Lovely Relaxer Moisture Plus No-Lye Relaxer is a 4-step relaxing process that causes zero irritation but can result in calcium build-up, so you’ll need to make use of a decalcifying shampoo. Fortunately, this is included in the kit for your convenience.
Lithium hydroxide is another non-lye relaxer that works much the same way as its calcium-based counterpart. We recommend Dark and Lovely Fat Protein Relaxer – a nourishing, no-mix relaxer.
The downside of chemical hair relaxers is that they can be damaging to the scalp as the chemicals dry it out. Applying a protectant before the treatment is then imperative! Ladies with severely dried-out hair, or hair that’s been bleached, should stay away from relaxers completely, however, as relaxing will result in breakage of already stressed strands.
For those of you ready and able to take the plunge, first, lightly coat your scalp with petroleum jelly or a special protectant – this will act as a barrier against potential chemical burns. Next, apply your relaxer to the ends of your hair, working your way up towards the roots. It’s recommended you don’t relax your strands to the point of being completely straight – instead leave some texture there to maintain a bit of bounce. Don’t leave the relaxer on longer than advised and if your scalp begins to burn or tingle in any way, rinse it out immediately.
When it comes time to rinse the relaxer out of your hair, do so first using only warm water. With the cleansing that follows, you’ll need a neutralising shampoo to deactivate the alkalizing process, and a moisturising treatment afterwards to restore hydration. Wait for 8 to 10 weeks before you touch up your roots and remember to apply relaxer only to your new hair. Applying relaxer onto hair that’s already received the treatment is just going to lead to damage and breakage so just don’t do it!
There’s little doubt that relaxing involves a whole lot more than you probably anticipated so remember you don’t need to go it alone at home. For a proper application that won’t cause more damage to your hair, visit a professional. They’ll be able to advise you on how to best care for your hair after relaxing and ensure you get the best results.
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