Relaxers straighten hair by effectivley damaging the proteins within the hair shaft, in a controlled way to loosen the curl pattern.. As the hair is now in a weaker state due to the loss of proteins, including protein treatments in your hair care routine is essential for relaxed hair.
The current condition of your hair will naturally dictate the type of protein conditioner you use. Here is an outline of the different types of conditioner available and how to work them into your hair care regime.
This advice should allow you to avoid the hair breakage that many women with relaxed hair suffer. In fact with the right mix of protein in your hair care regime, you will be able to grow your hair long and strong.
Basics first - How Protein conditioners and treatments strengthen hair
Generally speaking protein treaments and condtioners do not alter the hair stucture, instead they coat the hair shaft and fill in the gaps along the hair shaft. This in turn strengthens the hair. Protein products are available in varying strengths and have different uses.
For Damaged Relaxed hair
Strong protein treaments are beneficial for very damaged, over processed, relaxed hair. So if a relaxer touch up has damaged your hair. This type of protein treatment could be the answer for you. Due to the strength of this kind of treatment, it is not unusual to find that there must be a minimum 6 – 8 week waiting period inbetween applications. When applying this type of treatment it is essential they are applied according to the manufactures instructions. If you don’t feel confident using this strength of treatment at home, visit a salon for a treatment. Aphogee 2 step protein treatment is a good example of a strong protien treatment.
High strength protein treatments can be used more often, either on a weekly or fortnightly basis to gradually restore damaged hair. Nexxus Emergencee and Joico.K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor are examples of this type of product and are easy to use.
For Monthly Deep conditioning
Deep conditioners – Generally speaking these are conditioners that require heat from a hood dryer or hot towel to be most effective. Anyone who has relaxed hair should at least use this type of product once a month. Inaddtion to using it monthly is would be advisable to use this type of product 5 days before having your roots touched up to support the hair through the chemical process. Depending on the condition of your hair you may wish to use a high strength protein product instead, in preparation for relaxing. Organics hair mayonaise is a product that falls in to the standard deep conditioner category
For Weekly conditioning
Light protein conditioners. These vary from the classic 3 minute apply and then rinse out conditioners, to leave-in conditioners and serums. Some leave-in products also protect the hair from heat damage, so are great for when you want to flat-iron. CHI Silk Infusion is a leave-in product which has an excellent reputation.
This type of product also helps to rebuild hair strength and can be used as a pick me up until the hair is healthy looking again. Aphogee Keratin 2 reconstructor is a classic choice and is good for women who like to swim or have issues with hard water as it helps to displace mineral deposits.
Do be cautious and observant when using protein conditioners. Although they are great for strengthening the hair, if you use too much for your hair it will cause breakage. Ensure when you are using very strong protein treaments that you allways follow up with the recommended moisturising conditioner/product, as this will rebalance your hair.Take note of this little mantra and you won’t go too far wrong – too much protein equals breakage, too much moisture equals breakage. Gradually build a mixture of moisturising and protein conditioners into your routine for best hair care results.
Final Tips for using Protein to strengthen Relaxed hair
It will take time to find the best combination of products for your hair but the trial and error will be worth it. At the very minimum you should use a standard deep conditioner monthly and add in other protein products when you feel your hair needs it. Tell tail signs that your hair requires protein, is having hair that is mushy, limp or is very stretchy when wet. If you at some point find yourself struggling to tell if your hair requires protein or a moisturising conditioner, you could try using a protein conditioner and follow it immediately with a moisturising conditioner it may solve your your problem.
As previously mentioned protein treatments are crucial for relaxed hair as you need to compensate for the weakening caused by the chemical process of relaxing. Implementing some of the tips above should help you to stay breakage free.