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Care Tips For Relaxed Black Hair

Looking for relaxed black hair care tips for relaxed hair?

If you love the look and feel of sleek, bouncing and behaving hair with no kinks curls and waves a good relaxer makes it happen.

I believe that black and African American women have the right to wear their hair any way they please and reject that idea that relaxed hair can't be healthy.

How do I know? I wore a relaxer for 14 years and loved it!

My hair was as short as chin length and as long as mid-back but most importantly; it was healthy, beautiful and easy to manage.

Whether you're thinking of getting a relaxer or you've been straightening for years it's always a good thing to educate yourself.

Having healthy relaxed black hair isn't only possible; it's downright easy if you have the right information, techniques and tools.

Relaxed Black Hair Basics


Relaxers permanently loosen the curl pattern in black and African hair. It does this by altering the structure of the hair, breaking down the bonds that create the curl pattern and realigning them into a straighter structure.

There are two types of chemical hair relaxers lye and no lye.

  1. Lye

    • Sodium hydroxide is the active ingredient in most hair relaxers (i.e. Kera Care, Affirm and Motions).
    • Lye based relaxers are easier on the hair but harder on the scalp and if used incorrectly can lead to serious scalp damage and hair loss.
    • Lye relaxers are best left in the hands of professionals.
    • Some of them are hard to buy without a cosmetology license.

    Click here to see the best lye relaxers for Black and African American hair.

  2. No Lye

    • The active ingredient in no lye relaxer is guanidine hydroxide or thioglycolate. These relaxers are gentler on the scalp but harder on the hair.
    • They're usually used by 'kitchen beauticians' and were designed for doing hair at home.
    • They come in box kits that you mix immediately before application (i.e. African Pride, Soft and Beautiful and Optimum Care).

    Click here to see the best no lye relaxers for Black and African American hair.

Lye vs. No Lye Relaxers

Both types of relaxers come in 3 strengths - mild, regular and super. Either one with get your hair straight, but having used both types myself, I strongly recommend using lye based relaxers done by an experienced stylist for the following reasons.

At the end of the day these are harsh chemicals and you want to be as careful as possible.

Virgin Relaxers vs. Touch Ups

If your hair has never been relaxed before and you're thinking about taking that big step talk to a professional hairstylist that specializes in the process. It's important that you have your first relaxer done professionally and learn how to maintain your hair.

That will encourage healthy growth and decrease the chances of damage and hair loss.

A relaxer is permanent but only to the hair that's already been processed. 'Touch up's' are necessary when your hair grows out and are usually done when you have at least ½ to 1 inch new growth. How soon you get your touch depends on what's best for you and your hair.

Just keep in mind that once you get a relaxer touchups are going to be a regular and ongoing part of your hair regimen.

Natural Hair Relaxers?

Can you relax your hair without chemicals? Good question.

In the past two decades or so there's been a lot of interest in so called "natural" hair relaxers that claim to straighten hair without using chemicals. I've never personally tried one so can't honestly give a valid opinion.


Natural Relaxer Brands

I've come across a few natural hair relaxers that seem to be legit and worth looking into if it's something you're really interested in.

Warning: Buyer Beware

I'd suggest that you proceed with caution if you're thinking of using a hair straighter that claims to be all natural. Scammers prey on women looking for chemical free ways of getting permanently straight silky locks (do the names Rio and Copa ring a bell?).

I'd also suggest taking your hair type into consideration before trying a natural relaxer. From what I've seen so far they seem to work better on hair with looser curl patterns. They also seem to rely on heat styling to get a truly straight look, which can damage your hair over time.

Texlaxing: A New Way to Relax Hair

If you read the black hair care forums or follow hair care gurus on youtube you've probably hear the term texlaxing.

What is texlaxing?

Texlaxing is relatively new technique of straightening hair with the goal of has healthy as possible while making it easy to achieve a straight relaxer look.

The aim is not to relax the hair bone straight (which isn't healthy anyway) but around 50%-75%.

This loosens the curl enough that you can straighten it easily with a good roller set, blow dry or flat iron while leaving a lot of body and elasticity in the hair. Another option of texlaxed hair depending on how straight you go is being able to do wash and wear styles.

How do you texlax?

To texlax you combine regular relaxer with creamy hair conditioner before applying it the way you're apply a normal relaxer. By adding the conditioner you accomplish two main things.

  1. You slow down the speed of processing.
  2. You leave more texture in our hair.

That's it! Is not too complicated and you take care of a texlax just like you would a relaxer.

How to Take Care of Relaxed Black Hair


The question of to how get and relaxed hair healthy should be number one in your mind if you choose this black hair styling option.

Nothing disturbs my soul like seeing broken off, damaged see through hair that's clearly been a victim of a badly applied or maintained relaxer.

What Does Healthy Relaxed Black Hair Look Like?

Got the idea? If not, a picture is always worth a thousand words.

Creating a Healthy Relaxed Black Hair Care Regimen

Taking good care of relaxed hair seems to be an elusive art. I guess that's why so many women spend thousands on products and services trying to get it right and even more never ever seem to.

If you have relaxed black hair your top priorities should be moisturizing and conditioning regularly. The act of relaxing alone tends to dry out our hair which is already prone to dryness.

Your hair care plan should include the following steps for best results.


Creating and following a solid regimen is one of the most important parts of having healthy relaxed hair so take the time to do it right.

Here's a cheat sheet you can download to get started.

Tips To Keep Your Relaxed Black Hair Healthy

Here are some simple tips to help you care for your hair.

  1. Don't relax bone straight - For your strongest hair don't straighten more than 80%. It weakens your hair making it easier to break.

  2. Deep Condition and Moisturize - This keeps your hair soft and flexible. A deep conditioning treatment with every wash works wonders.

  3. Use Protein Treatments - A protein strengthening treatment once every 4-6 weeks helps keep breakage away.

  4. Stretch Your Relaxers - Never relax more often than every 8 weeks. You should have at least an inch of new growth before your next appointment.

  5. Be Gentle With Wet Hair - Your hair is most fragile when it's wet so take your time on wash day.

  6. Go Low on Heat - Don't use hot tools more often than twice a week. Wet sets are better for your hair.

  7. Use Temporary Color - Add color with conditioning rinses or hair extensions. Permanent color always leads to hair damage.

Damage Control

The hardest part of having relaxed hair is preventing and controlling damage that can ruin a healthy head of hair in an instant.

Flat and curling irons are designed for straighter hair, but be careful because they can burn relaxed hair easily. Try not to use them to style more than you have to and use a low to medium heat when you do.

Some common issues you'll face with a relaxer are chronic dryness, breakage, split ends, dullness and lack of body which can all be fixed with the right care and treatment.

Tips for Growing Relaxed Black Hair

There's an entire section of this website devoted to growing long hair so I won't get into specifics here. I will say that the key to growing relaxed hair long in my experience is a combination of two things.

  1. Preventing damage - Over processing, excessive heat styling and over manipulation all weaken your hair leading to breakage which is ultimately why hair 'doesn't grow' (hair always grows, but length is harder to maintain).

  2. Retaining moisture - Healthy hair that's breakage free tends to have the perfect protein to moisture balance. Moisture gives hair flexibility and elasticity to stay strong throughout styling and processing.

Products for Relaxed Black Hair

Relaxed hair responds best to products made specifically for hair treated with the process. You can find entire relaxer systems with complementary products of the same brand.

At the same time, there's nothing wrong with trying products from other lines, mixing and matching as long as it's not a part of an integral process of using certain brand's product.

Popular Brands for Relaxed Black Hair Care

These lines all carry shampoos, conditioners and treatments that work well for relaxed hair. There are so many products that I suggest reading lots of reviews before you spend hard earned money trying one.

Focus on products that infuse with moisture and reinforce with strength. My favorite line is Kera Care but I've gotten great results from using drugstore products like curl activator on relaxed hair. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things.

Styling Relaxed Black Hair

One of the best things about relaxed hair is the styling options it gives you.

Try combing different style elements to create something unique. The options are endless, example, flat twists in the front and a rod set in the back.

Related Pages:

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