In order to know how to care for relaxed hair, it helps to know how a relaxer works. Many relaxers have lye which is very caustic. It works by weakening the hair strands. Relaxers deplete the hair of sebum, the oil secreted from the glands at the base of the hair strand. If you use heat on your relaxed hair, it makes the dryness even worse. When you pull at the tangles and snarls of hair, the weakened strands tend to break at the junctures where the natural curl or kinky area is greatest.
If you want to use no-lye relaxers, they may be easier on your scalp. Natural relaxers make hair softer and have a cumulative effect. You can use either type, but be aware that a relaxer applied in a quality salon is more likely to be kind to the strands of hair. After the relaxer is applied, you can use these tips to be gentle to the weakened hair strands.
To avoid undue tangles, use a sleep cap or a satin pillow case. Rubbing the ends of dry and weakened hair on a standard cotton pillow case can cause split ends. Using a cotton covered pillow also tends to wick moisture from hair into the cotton fabric.
It is important to avoid heat on relaxed hair as much as possible. You can do a hot oil treatment once monthly. The use of crimpers, hair dryers and such will defeat the purpose of the care you are providing. In addition to a hot oil treatment for your hair regularly, you should use a natural scalp oil such as shea butter regularly. Massage the scalp gently to promote the natural production of sebum.
Avoid washing your hair too often. You can rinse out the salt and residue from perspiration if you have been exercising heavily, but shampooing more often than weekly is hard and drying on the hair. If you can stretch time between shampoos to ten days, that is better.
When you shampoo, use a leave-in conditioner and comb your hair while the conditioner is working. It is easier to remove tangles while the conditioner makes the hair wet and somewhat slick. You should never use mineral oil on your hair. Products that contain petroleum products are likely to block your hair follicles. They are not absorbed by your hair or your scalp. Learning how to care for relaxed hair is not difficult if you follow a common sense approach and avoid harsh products.