The debate between relaxed and natural hair loyalists can probably only be rivaled by meat-eaters and vegans. It is quite intense and each side has its own reasons to defend their preferences. Still, regardless of which option you choose, all hair needs nurturing.
It is easy to assume that all hair is simply just that, hair, and so the needs are all the same. Except, that would be incorrect, your texturized mane has entirely different needs to a virgin head of hair. So, to get the best results, it is important that you understand what would specifically be ideal for you.
Before you buy your next haul of products, here are some care tips to consider.
African and African-American women are some of the largest users of chemical hair relaxers. The reason for this is because their hair texture tends to be more coarse and prone to kinks. Relaxers work by breaking down the bonds that cause hair to curl up and become coarse
If you have chosen to relax your hair, care routines are crucial so as to keep it healthy. Consider:
A Suitable Hair Relaxer
There are two main kinds of hair relaxers, lye, and no-lye relaxers. The difference is that lye relaxers have sodium hydroxide as the active ingredient while the no-lye ones have calcium hydroxide.
Lye is quite caustic so relaxers that have it are more likely to irritate your scalp. In the same vein, they are also harsher on hair. If you have a sensitive scalp or thinner hair, it may be best to opt for the no-lye relaxers. They are relatively more gentle and achieve the same results.
Chemical treatments alter the pH level of your hair. Which makes neutralizing shampoos important given as they restore ideal pH levels. Any product remnants could lead to rampant breakage and hair loss therefore proper cleaning is crucial. Consider using brands that have a color-indicator to show when the relaxer is fully neutralized and rinsed off of your hair.
Further, calcium hydroxide in no-lye relaxers has a drying effect on the scalp. Using a decalcifying shampoo can protect your hair from becoming dry and brittle. Similarly, in terms of ingredients, you might want to avoid shampoos containing parabens and sulfates. Studies have found them to have alarming and adverse effects on human health.
It is recommended that you relax your hair in intervals of 6 to 8 weeks. In between those touch-ups, you will still need to care for and style your hair albeit with more ease.
Endeavor to wash your hair often and use treatments to nourish it. Hair masks and deep conditioners are a great way to feed your hair. It is also equally important to add moisturizing oils to your care regimen.
Using heat to dry your hair is sometimes inevitable but try and do it in moderation. Hair and intense heat are not the best of friends. However, there are some equipment options that are comparatively safer to use. Alternatively, whenever you want a different look, protective styling makes for a good option too.
It could be you have kept your hair natural all along or you are making a transition from chemically treated hair. Sometimes, it is just best to go along with nature. Especially where other treatments are causing you more harm than good.
So, here is how you can get started on the quest to care for your natural hair care.
When changing over from the use of relaxers to a natural hair regimen, you might have to brace yourself for a haircut. It is almost painful to read if you adore your hair length but it is truly the best route. By cutting off the weaker processed ends, you are left with the stronger natural hair roots. With proper care, you could gain back the lost length in a short while and with better density too.
Figuring Out Your Hair Type
Based on how your hair follicle grows, your hair tends to curl in a certain way and that determines your hair type. The widely-adopted system that is used to discern different curls has categories spanning from type 2 to 4. Each of them has subcategories for further specificity.
The main aim of establishing your hair type is to help you find products that will work for you. Understanding what your hair needs makes it so much easier to care for.
Creating a Regimen
In the same way that recommended products differ, so should regimens. The ideal regimen can be determined by factors including:
- Your schedule which in turn determines how much time you have
- Hair type
- Seasonal changes
- The combination of products you choose
The main aim of a regimen is to keep your hair clean, healthy, and easy to style. Your choice of products will be an essential part of achieving these goals. Aim for healthy products such as enriching treatments and shampoos that do not strip your hair of moisture.
From Bantu knots to twist-outs and open-hair styles, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to styling. However, just like with relaxed hair, be diligent about avoiding frequent exposure of your hair to heat. In addition, while protective styling is a great way to give your hair a break it can also cause damage. Overly tight braiding can result in hair loss and a distorted hairline.
Contrary to popular belief, hair relaxers are not the only ones with harmful ingredients. Some natural hair care products have them too. In light of this, choosing properly formulated products with safe ingredients is critical. Consider using brands that work with a credible private label hair products manufacturer to create safer product alternatives.
We keep learning how to take better care of ourselves with each passing day. In a few years, the options for hair products may have increased tenfold. However, until then you now know all the tips and tricks to keep your hair looking fabulous.
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