Relax your hair every 6 to 12 weeks depending on your hair’s needs. Do not relax your hair every time new growth appears, since relaxing too often causes damage to the hair. For one week following your relaxer, use a reconstructor instead of your regular conditioner when you wash your hair. Aphogee makes an excellent reconstructor and shampoo. After a week return to your regular Moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Keracare or Elucence are good ones.
2Wash and condition your hair every once or twice a week. Try to use mild and gentle shampoo and conditioner designed for chemically-treated hair. If you have sensitive skin, consider using shampoos that do not contain Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Paul Mitchell is an excellent line for damaged/chemically-treated hair. Using a deep conditioner that contains both protein and moisture once per week is ideal, try Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak or Paul Mitchell Hair Repair. Chemically-treated hair must always be treated with a leave-in conditioner after every wash. Motions Nourish is a great example of this. Comb the wet hair with a wide tooth comb or shower/detangling comb as the wet hair is in its most vulnerable state and is more likely to break.
3For those who need to wash more frequently than every once or twice a week, “CO-washing” (Conditioner Only washing) is an excellent alternative to the wash/condition. Cowashing is washing your hair with a lightweight (preferably)moisturizing conditioner, eliminating the shampoo step which can be very drying to chemically treated/damaged hair when done relatively too frequently. Many with relaxed hair cowash daily. For best results, simply rinse the hair well with warm water, and apply conditioner to the hair, starting about 2 inches (5.1 cm) away from the scalp, and smooth it through to the ends. Apply more to the ends if they are dry. Avoid applying conditioner to the scalp unless it is dry. Rinse conditioner very well.
4It is best to avoid using heat to dry your hair, especially if the relaxed hair is somewhat damaged. Hair should be left to air dry at least partially before using a blow dryer on a low to medium temperature setting. However, if your hair is healthy and you prefer heat, you can either blow dry the hair on medium heat or use a hood dryer with magnetic rollers. The hair should be completely dry before you use a curling or flat iron on it. Make sure to use a heat protection product prior to any heat use.
5When using a curling iron to style your hair, do not allow the barrel cover to clamp down on your hair. Hold the barrel cover slightly open and allow the hair to move over the curling iron barrel without the tugging and pulling caused by pressure from the barrel cover. Whenever the barrel cover clamps down on your hair it creates a weak point at which breakage is inevitable.
6An ionic, ceramic curling iron or flat iron works well and is easy to find. You can also invest in heat appliances utilising tourmaline, ionic technology having temperature controls. Relaxed hair can be easily styled at 300-370 degrees depending on hair’s thickness. Do not repeatedly run the heat appliance over each section of hair. Instead pass the iron over the hair once at this temperature, no more than twice. Try to use heat protective products (serums or creams, not oils) prior to any and all heat styling. Redken Smooth Down Heat Glide, Nexxus Heat Protexx, and Chi Silk Infusion are good products for this.
7Never use petrolatum and mineral oil hair oil on relaxed hair as a moisturizer. These ingredients do NOT moisturize the hair but rather functions as a sealant (meaning it protects the cuticle layer from damage and moisture loss). Depending on your hair type, you may need to use daily hair conditioner, but use products that actually oil the scalp. For best results, choose a lightweight oil (such as jojoba, coconut, almond, or olive oil) rub a small amount (1-2 drops) in the palms and spread lightly through the scalp of the hair. Comb your hair evenly to moisturize the tips of the hair. Applying a small amount of oil to wet hair can also act as a leave-in conditioner and provides excellent conditioning in preparation for the next shampooing.
8Use as little heat as possible with your hair as heat can only do more damage to relaxed hair. It’s okay to style your hair with a curling iron occasionally, however a rollerset is the best method. If you want to maintain a curly look over a few days, pincurling is a healthy option. Be sure to use hair-friendly pins and a satin bonnet to prevent dryness and breakage over night.
9Water based moisturizers are best for all hair types, although leave-in conditioners can double as moisturizer for the hair. Ultra Black Hair Lotion Creme is an excellent moisturizer as well as S-curl activator. You can also try Dudley’s PCA Moisture Retainer or ORS Carrot Oil creme. Avoid moisturizers with petrolatum and mineral oil unless you wash/condition and/or cowash regularly.
10Deep condition the hair bi-weekly to maintain strength and moisture in the hair. Do not overwash your hair by washing relaxed hair more than once a week. To do this take a creamy deep conditioning treatment that contains both moisturizing and mild protein ingredients to clean damp hair. For best results, apply a plastic shower cap and let hair sit for up to 30-45 min. To save time, sitting under a hooded dryer on medium heat for 15-20 min is equally effective. Deep conditioning regularly and consistently can help maintain the hair’s integrity, allowing it to withstand regular manipulation and styling, as well as preventing damage. Examples of deep conditioners are ION Effective Care Intensive Therapy, Paul Mitchell Super Charged Moisturizer, AG Deep Treatment, and Aveda Damage Remedy Treatment. Invest more money in a deep conditioner rather than any other product, as this will be the best tool for preventing hair damage and should contain quality ingredients.
11Try to avoid brushing your hair with harsh bristles
12Drink plenty of water daily, get enough of rest, eat well, alleviate stress, and exercise regularly (at least 2-3 days per week) to produce the healthiest hair possible. Take a multi-vitamin, Biotin, Omega-3 Oil, and other supplements as needed.