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Chemical relaxers will turn your hair from wavy, curly and spiraled to sleek, straight and shiny; but keeping your locks looking fierce after a relaxer treatment requires the right kind of daily maintenance. Relaxed hair takes a pretty serious chemical beating, so nourishing it with moisture is critical to keeping strands strong and free from frizzy dryness. Getting the right amount and kind of moisture requires a balancing act, but the right mix will keep your hair in the style hot zone.
The Moisture Balance
Moisture is a major part of the equation when it comes to the health of relaxed hair. Your hair's moisture content gives it the ability to stretch without breaking, so if your hair is dried out after a relaxer treatment, you're more prone to breakage and split ends if you don't keep up with moisturizing treatments. But moisture is just one of the things your relaxed-hair needs. Relaxers break down the protein structures that give your hair its curl, so your hair care routine should also include protein treatments that help strengthen your new protein bonds. Maintaining the balance between your hair's moisture and its protein is critical for relaxed hair, so daily deep moisturizing isn't always the right regimen for your hair if you aren't balancing out with protein, too.
The Daily Debate
Switching over to a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner is a must for relaxed hair, but make sure your conditioner also offers a protein treatment to avoid over-moisturizing. The manufacturers of Blended Beauty hair care products suggest limiting washing relaxed hair to twice a week but maintaining moisture with a daily leave-in conditioning cream for styling. The Sisters Together Coalition of the Harvard School of Public Health suggests twice-weekly scalp massages with a moisturizing hair oil on relaxed African-American hair. Opting for daily moisturizing treatments like oils or leave-in creams might leave your hair looking greasy or weighed down, so pull back on your moisture regime to three times a week if you notice your locks looking limp.
Your Personal Routine
Your regular hair care routine is a major determining factor for how often you should moisturize relaxed hair. In general, relaxed hair requires more regular moisturizing treatments than natural hair, unless your natural hair is particularly dry. Some hair habits strip your hair of moisture and leave it prone to breaking. If you are a regular with the hair dryer, flat iron or curler, you're going to need to up the ante when it comes to restoring moisture to your heat-ravaged locks. Hairspray and other alcohol-based hair products also pull moisture from your hair; if you're a regular with gel or mousse, daily moisturizing is more likely to be a part of your routine.
Even if you nail down your daily moisturizing routine, deep-conditioning treatments that provide penetrating moisture to your locks should be part of your relaxed-hair care routine. There's no need to deep-condition your hair everyday -- you'll only weigh down your locks and wear out your wallet. If your hair is particularly dry, weekly deep-conditioning treatments will keep your strands in shape. If you feel like your hair is prone to looking oily or weighed down, space your deep-conditioning or hot-oil treatments down to every two weeks.