Thursday, February 16, 2012

Basic Regimen & Products for HEALTHY Relaxed Hair

For "Basic Regimen & Products for HEALTHY Natural Hair", check this post.

healthy relaxed hair
Part of perfecting a regimen is learning what your hair likes and dislikes. But before you reach that point ... before you come to know your hair, where do you begin?

Prior to going natural, I was relaxed for several years.  During that period, I learned what to do and what not to do for my hair to thrive.  In this post, I list the basic "to do's" which I hope can be a good starting point for those who desire healthy relaxed tresses. In time, as you learn your hair, you can tweak these "basics":

Damage can occur when the hair is relaxed too frequently.  It is important to allow sufficient new growth to accumulate before your next touch up session; this waiting period is called "stretching".  Another benefit to this technique is less exposure to the chemicals associated with relaxing.  The scalp gets a longer "break" between relaxing sessions.
Many women with healthy relaxed hair "stretch" their relaxers for 3-6 months at a time, and I recommend the same to you.  During that period, do low manipulation styles in order to minimize breakage and tangling.

A clean scalp is vital for healthy growth. Cleansing the hair is also a product of good hygiene. Start by washing your hair 1x a week and tweak it from there. In between washes, does your scalp or hair feel extra dirty? If so, increase the frequency of your washes. If your new growth is significant, I highly recommend washing in braided sections.
Choosing a shampoo: It is ideal to invest in a weekly shampoo that lacks Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), which are surfactants that may be too harsh for the hair and scalp. Instead, gravitate towards shampoos containing gentler cleansing agents to be on the safer side.
Product recommendations: Giovanni Tea Tree, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo, Desert Essence Shampoos

Whether you wash 1x a week or 3x a week, follow it up with a deep conditioning session. Why? Because each wash rinses away the benefits of the previous the deep conditioning session. Deep conditioners are important because they temporarily bind to (and sometimes penetrate into) the hair protecting and smoothing the strand until the next wash. Undo each braid, apply the conditioner, and rebraid. Put on a plastic bag and be sure to allow the conditioner to sit for at least 30 minutes.  Then detangle with a wide tooth comb and rinse.
Choosing a deep conditioner: Look for one that contains strengthening ingredients, such as hydrolyzed collagen or hydrolyzed keratin, near the top of the list.  The amount/type of the ingredient depends on how much strengthening your hair requires.  I also recommend finding a deep conditioner that has 'slip' and moisture.  This will ease the detangling process and provide a protein-moisture balance, respectively. Deep conditioners like this usually contain an oil and/or a fatty alcohol (e.g., cetyl alcohol) for slip ... and glycerin and other humectants for moisture.
Product recommendations for strength: Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor; Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise; Homemade egg conditioner (recipes here)
Product recommendations for strength, moisture, & slip: Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak; Lekair Cholesterol (mixed with olive oil); Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Conditioner; Egg/mayonnaise/olive oil (recipe here under "Loo's recipe");

Water is the best moisturizer out there for our hair. After a good wash and deep conditioning session, you can follow up with an oil or butter to seal in the water. In between washes, if your hair gets dry, you can apply a bit of water or do a full-on spritz and then re-seal. Another option is to use a water-based spritz or moisturizer.
Choosing a moisturizer: Go straight for the water or look for water-based moisturizers (where water will be the first ingredient listed).
Product recommendations: Water, Homemade spritz of rosewater and glycerin (a humectant)
Choosing a sealant: Look for products that contain oils and/or butters.
Product recommendations: Homemade whipped shea butter (recipe here), grapeseed oil, olive oil, avocado oil, castor oil, Jane Carter Nourish & Shine

Get a smooth sleek look while minimizing heat usage by airdrying in a rollerset.  For hair with a lot of new growth, do a ponytail rollerset to avoid puffy roots (video tutorial); just be sure not to apply too much tension via hair ties.  Be sure to wear a silk scarf to bed or use a silk pillow case to protect your cuticles as you sleep.

Extra steps you may want to include in your regimen:

If you find that frequent shampooing is drying to your hair, you may want to explore using a conditioner to wash. Just wet your hair, apply conditioner, and massage your scalp and hair as usual. After rinsing the conditioner the out, seal and style.
Choosing a conditioner: Look for a non-heavy inexpensive conditioner. Heavy conditioners will build up on the hair too quickly.  Avoid protein-based and silicone-based conditioners when it comes to co-washing.
Product recommendations: Suave Coconut Conditioner, V05 Champagne Kisses, V05 Honeydew Smoothie, V05 Passionfruit Smoothie, V05 Blackberry Sage Tea

If you find that regular shampooing does not adequately remove product buildup from your hair, you may want to explore clarifying. Start with doing this once a month and then adjust as needed.
Product recommendations: V05 Kiwi Clarifying Shampoo (not as drying as other clarifying shampoos)

For more on prepooing, check this post.

If your internal health is not on point, work on it. Drink sufficient water, get plenty of rest, exercise, and include the hair foods (click here) in your diet! Internal health as just as crucial to hair care as external care.

For my mixologists, many natural ingredients can be found at From Nature with Love!
To receive blog post notifications, enter your email address below:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Anonymous said...

Thsnks so much. You have really broken it down for me!

Loo said...

You're welcome! :o)

Annie said...

If you co-wash your hair, do you still need to deep condition your hair after? And thanks your article is really helpful!

Loo said...

You're welcome, Annie! It really depends on your hair. Some people still like to deep condition after co-washing for extra moisture and conditioning. Meanwhile, others are just fine with co-washing alone. I say, see how your hair fairs with co-washing alone. If you find that your hair feels dry, try deep conditioning as well. I hope that helps! :o)

Ashanti said...

In order to stretch relaxers, is it okay that I have weave with braids in it or a sew in 2-3 weeks after a relaxer?

Loo said...

Hi Ashanti! I will address this in a new post this Friday. :o)

Anonymous said...

how long should you wait to wash your hair after getting a relaxer

Loo said...

I think it depends on the person's lifestyle, hair, etc., but two weeks was a good number for me. I hope that helps! :o)

Keesha said...

Please give me some additional advice. Ive cried more since I've been trying to grow my hair out then I've ever cried. I'm so ready to cut it short and leave it short. It's been three years and it's maintaining my relaxed, dry, brittle(concrete), thick, coarse, shedding(afraid to blow dry or even wash cause so much is on the floor I start crying, below my ear and part of the hair shoulder length hair. I spend $$$$$$$$$$$$$ on my hair. Growing is not the problem, maintaining it is. Flat iron once a month, perm with root stimulator olive oil perm 6-8 weeks, condition once a week with Mill Creek Biotin Conditioner, shampoo every other week with the Mill Creek Shampoo(both products from the health food store), deep conditon once a week with Root Stimulator deep Conditioner Olive Oil pak, moisture everynight with Lusti Natural Argan Oil Hair Moosturizer Triple Strength, Leave in Conditiona Daily with Aphogee ProVitamin leave n condition and seal my hair with a mixture of jojoba oil, tea tree oil, castor oil, carrot oil. After all that, air dry and wow a dry brillo pad and to touch my hair means its going to shed. I use a silk scarf and still nothing. It grows but sheds like crazy. I want health all shoulder length hair not bit up unhealthy hair. Where am I going wrong? Oh I drink water and hair vitamins, I drink soda and juice and life in Chicago. If I could kill the dryness, that would help a lot. I notice when I blow dry my hair, it's not a dry as air drying it. It not a Brillo pad it's just a dry patch of grass. Help me please. I going to see a hair doctor but can't see her until May cause she's booked up

Loo said...

Hi Keesha. Sorry to hear. Without seeing and examining your hair, it is hard to tell what the problem is. My best guess based on what you've written is that 1) your hair may be over-processed and 2) you are not stretching long enough between relaxers.

Let's address #2, first. Many women with relaxed hair find that stretching their relaxers is key to retaining length. Some women stretch for 3 months at the minimum. 6-8 weeks between relaxers is too soon.

Now for #1. Many women with healthy relaxed hair also texlax. Texlaxing essentially means relaxing your hair so that it is not bone straight but still has some texture. This means relaxing it under the recommended time. The reason these women do this is so that some strength and thickness remains in their strands (since relaxing can weaken the strands). These women still have relaxed hair and actually have sleek, straight hair when they flat iron. The difference is that their hair is not bone straight, but slightly textured when wet.

I hope this helps. Feel free to email me (using the "Contact Me" button above) if you have more questions.

Keesha said...

Thank u VERY MUCH for replying so soon. I will contact u with addition questions

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. I have been searching for hours for something for healthy relaxed hair!

Anonymous said...

I just had my hair relaxed (03/08/2013) .. woke up with my hair dry.. can i put moisturizer in it in the morning?


Anonymous said...

Great article!!
What are your product recommendations for moisturising conditioners to use after strong protein treatments?
Is a ors hair mayo a strong or light-medium protein treatment?
Thanks in advance!!!

Loo said...

Thanks! Silk Elements is a good moisturizing conditioner. Also, ORS Hair Mayo is a medium-to-strong protein treatment.

You're welcome! :o)

Anonymous said...

Do you recommend leave in conditioners and if you do, which one is best! I have relaxed hair thanks

Loo said...

Hi! It really depends on whether you feel your hair needs a little something extra between the conditioning step and the moisturizing step. Leave-ins are great for enhancing the smoothness and moisture retention OR strength of your hair.

I know that a lot of relaxed ladies love Aphogee Green Tea & Keratin Restructurizer, Komaza Califia Moisturizing Spray, Infusium 23 Repair and Renew, and Aphogee Pro Vitamin Leave In. (I remember loving Aphogee Pro Vitamin when I was relaxed; I haven't tried the other ones though but hear great things about them).

Jazzie said...

I just read a few articles that said you should only deep condition once a month on relaxed hair because deep conditioning breaks down the protein in hair (which we need because a relaxer strips the protein) causing damage and dry hair.

moet said...

Great article. U really broke it down which is what I needed. Question do you use a regular moisturizing conditioner after the deep conditioner? Also would coconut oil be a good deep conditioner &/or sealer?

Anonymous said...

You forgot to add hair trimming plays a big role in healthy hair as well.. Trim every 6-8 weeks

Latoya A Feumann said...

For the first time in researching black hair regime's, Here is something that I find very helpful, other blogs have a way of making you feel so uneducated by using harsh words and definition thereof of which is not what most of really want to find out, we know chemicals are harsh, try natural products, use less heat, honestly we all know that but sometimes we simply just need Ideas of how its done, and advising ideas that we can try and learn to further work around with, So thank you, no more brain dead moments for me and my daughter, we found a perfect regime, WITH LOVE

Tyra Jakachira said...

How can I gain more volume and reduce split ends? Thank you

Loo said...

Sorry for the late reply. Many relaxed ladies like to use a moisturizing conditioner after a deep protein conditioner; it helps to soften the hair and increase moisture. Also, coconut oil is a great pre-poo but not so much a great deep conditioner. As for sealing with coconut oil, that really comes down to personal preference.

Hope this helps! :o)

Loo said...

Awww, you're very welcome! :o)

Loo said...

Hi! To answer your question:
1. Use oil, oil, oil. Not just for sealing but for pre-poo and prior to styling/manipulating your hair. Coat your ends with oils like coconut, avocado, or olive.
2. Minimize direct heat usage. The flat iron is notorious for causing thinning, split hair.
3. Use a protein conditioner, especially on the ends of your hair. I like Aphogee 2-Minute Reconstructor; it's medium protein. I also like ORS Replenishing Conditioner; it's light/medium protein. You can go for something heavier, if needed.
4. Handle your ends gently and as little as possible. That means, do low-manipulation styles and protective styles majority of the time.
5. Moisturize your ends sufficiently and regularly.

I hope that helps! :o)

Kala X said...

If your moisturizer has water and a few humectants listed as the first ingredients but all other ingredients are oils, would you still need to seal your hair with additonal oils after using the moisturizer?

Loo said...

Hi Kala. It depends on how your hair responds. Many relaxed ladies find that they have to seal with additional oil(s).

I hope that helps! :o)