Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hair Care Regimen: Later weeks of a relaxer cycle

I am getting to the point in my relaxer cycle where it’s all about being creative when it comes to hairstyles, where the sight and feel of my scalp are distant memories, and I am counting down the days... and possibly weeks until my next touch up. It has been almost 6 weeks since my relaxer and this is usually when my hair starts to crave a slightly different regimen.

For the first weeks post relaxer, I use lighter conditioners like my beloved ORS Replenishing for my deep conditioning treatments as they give me great conditioning without weighing my hair down too much. However, as my new growth starts to kick into high gear, my hair craves more moisture. I am still sure to get some protein in as well; since the point where your new growth meets you previously relaxed hair (the line of demarcation) is the weakest point of the hair.

So, this is an example of what my reggie looks like in the last few weeks leading up to my relaxer:

Prepoo (15-20 mins with heat or 30-45 mins without heat)
Mizani Fufyl (this conditioner is a good mix of both moisture and protein- love multitaskers!) or Suave Tropical Coconut conditioner mixed with ¼ cup of EVOO or coconut oil (the oil helps to make detangling your new growth easier)

Keracare Hydrating Detangling

Deep Condition (15-20 mins with heat or 30-45 mins without heat)
Giovanni 50/50 Balancing Conditioner or Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner

Though I may normally be able to stretch washing my hair to every 5 days, during the later weeks of my relaxer my hair likes to be washed no later than every 4 days. If your hair still craves even more moisture, you can always add in a conditioner wash. I also like to do a light to moderate protein treatment with the Aphogee 2 minute reconstructor or Nexxus Keraphix every other week. I just apply it to my hair as a pre-shampoo treatment (prepoo). I find that doing these light protein treatments regularly eliminates the need for me to ever do a heavy duty treatment like the Nexxus Emergencee or Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment. I would just keep a close watch on your hair, though, as what is a light protein for me might be a heavy one for someone else and you don’t want to go overboard.

I have been relaxing my hair every 8 weeks but I’ll probably stretch that to every 10 weeks in the winter when hair generally grows more slowly. I more gauge on how much new growth I have; as long as I have a good inch of growth where you can easily see where the new growth ends and previously relaxed hair begins, I’m good to go as far as I’m concerned.

As far as hairstyling, I choose styles that allow to me to manipulate my hair as little as possible and allow my new growth to blend in better with my relaxed ends. So, braidouts, twistouts, and flexirod sets are my best friends. I continue to rollerset as well, but I just use smaller rollers so my hair will have more curl to it. This is the time where retention really becomes the name of the game because these weeks are primetime for increased shedding and breakage. So, I would recommend being extra gentle with your hair at this point and these styles are great for that. Also many of these styles also lend themselves very easily to air drying which is as gentle as you can get.

That’s all I have! Be sure to share your tips in the comments!

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