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How to care for relaxed hair

If you've had your hair permanently straightened using relaxer, you will know by now that it can be more prone to problems like dryness and breakages, as well as split ends. This is because relaxers are one of the more damaging hair treatments available. If you know how to care for relaxed hair, all of these problems can mostly be avoided and you can maintain strong and healthy hair.

The effect of relaxer on hair

Your hair is made of a protein called keratin. Proteins are made of amino acids, and it is an amino acid called cysteine that is mainly responsible for giving your hair strength and its natural curl or wave.

Cysteine in keratin forms bonds with other cysteine molecules that are called disulfide bridges and it is these bonds that cause the hair to curl. Curly hair has more disulfide bonds than straight hair, but all hair contains the bonds to some extent.

Relaxer works by breaking these bonds and resetting your hair texture. As the disulfide bonds are also responsible for a lot of your hair's strength, this process damages your hair. In fact, the oxidation of bleach and hair dyes is also able to damage these bonds and this is why extensive bleaching and dyeing can lead to a loss of your natural curl.

Relaxed haircare

If you're wondering how to care for relaxed hair, your haircare regime needs to be divided between strengthening your hair and also treating any dryness. Both of these types of treatments prevent breakage and split ends by keeping your hair strong and properly hydrated.

Any dryness you're experiencing is easily treated with the use of conditioning products like deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, hair serums, and oils. The actual damage however, is better treated with protein treatments as these actually repair the damaged keratin that is directly responsible for the dryness and breaking.

Treating dry hair - Need specific direction to help deal with dryness in relaxed hair? This tutorial will help with the best products to use and how to properly use them.

Damage repair

Relaxed hair is always damaged to some extent because of the way that relaxer works. The extent of the damage depends on how strong your hair naturally is, as well as whether there was already any pre-existing damage or you had coloured your hair with permanent dyes at any point in the past prior to relaxing.

It is this damage that is responsible for the dryness and other symptoms that follow relaxing, and this needs to be addressed with the use of protein treatments. Whilst conditioners smooth and moisturise the hair, only a protein treatment can actually repair structural damage.

Using protein treatments is easy. Applied once a week to damp hair after shampooing and before conditioning, and then left for 5 - 10 minutes, damage can be gradually reversed and the hair restored to good condition.

Restoring damaged hair - Need more help or further information on repairing damage in your hair? You'll find it here...

The best hair repair treatments - Then if you would like to know which products work best, you'll find examples of excellent hair treatments here...

Colouring relaxed hair

Relaxed hair shouldn't be coloured if possible. If you do want to colour your hair, you can do this as long as it is still in fairly good condition, but any damage the colour causes is amplified on relaxed hair as it is weaker.

If you do need or want to colour your hair, stick to less damaging types of dyes like semi-permanent or demi-permanent dye, only colour it as often as really necessary, and don't overlap colour onto previously dyed hair when retouching any regrowth that grows in.

Types of hair dye - Want to know more about the different kinds of dyes, which are less damaging, and how long they last? Find it here...

Have a question about how to care for relaxed hair, or need help repairing the damage from use of relaxers? Leave a comment for tailored advice...

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