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Sometimes, keeping your natural African-American hair straight and frizz-free can seem like an uphill battle as you deal with perspiration, humidity and other environmental factors. Consequently, relaxing that cool but coarse or tightly curled mane of yours may seem like a better option. If you do choose this route, however, always keep in mind that relaxers significantly weaken your hair, and you’ll need to give your locks extra good care.
Start with a clean slate by washing your relaxed mane with a sulfate- and alcohol-free shampoo. Sulfate and alcohol can dry your hair, causing it to break, so it’s important to use shampoos full of natural, moisturizing ingredients. Lathering properties can also dry your hair, so you’ll need a low- or no-lather shampoo to really make sure you’re keeping moisture in, not taking it out. You’ll want to wash your hair weekly or every 10 days to keep it properly moisturized and clean.
Infuse your hair with hydration by using a weekly deep conditioning treatment. Really get your hair moisturized by covering your hair with a processing cap and sitting underneath a hooded dryer for 20 minutes before rinsing out the product. Comb out any tangles using a wide-tooth comb while the conditioner is in.
Apply a natural moisturizer, such as virgin coconut oil or another water-based moisturizer, to your locks while your hair is damp. Concentrate on your ends, since these are most likely to break. Style your hair as usual once you’ve finished.
Alternate between wearing your hair natural and heat styling every couple of weeks to give your hair a break from potential heat damage.
Only apply heat to your hair once a week if you straighten or curl it.
Wrap your straight styles in a satin wrap or roll your curly styles nightly.