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Growing out a perm or relaxer can be tough, since it often means you have to deal with not one, but two different hair types. To keep their hair uniformly straight, many women opt to use a straightening comb on their roots until they are ready to chop off their permed or relaxed strands and work exclusively with the new, natural growth. Still, using a straightening comb this way carries certain risks; if not done with care, it can lead to breakage of relaxed hair and damage the texture of your natural hair.
Caution for Curls
Curly hair that has been chemically straightened tends to stay in a fragile state, but when you're transitioning, it becomes even more delicate. That's because the line of demarcation -- the point at which your relaxed hair meets the natural texture of your roots -- is particularly delicate, and prone to snapping under pressure. Too much combing, particularly with a hot straightening comb, can speed your way to breakage.
Before you start straightening, prepare your hair to handle the heat. After dividing your hair into one-or-two inch sections, massage your new growth -- being sure to coat the line of demarcation -- with pressing oil or salve. This will give your hair a protective coating, and add sheen and conditioning as well. Use no more than a pea-sized amount for each section, or your hair may become heavy and greasy.
Pulling your hair taut, place the hot comb gently at the roots and pull it slowly outward down the hair shaft. If necessary, run the comb lightly and quickly down the rest of the hair shaft until your hair is uniformly straight.
Maintain Your Mane
If you choose to stick with the straightening comb, be sure to take good care of your hair at all times. Wrap your hair in a soft satin scarf at night to avoid tangles and breakage -- steer clear of cotton, which sucks your hair dry of moisture. Use a deep conditioner once a week or biweekly, depending on how much your hair can handle. If your hair seems weak or limp when it's dry, try conditioning less often.