Saturday, 25 June 2016

How to achieve healthy relaxed hair

Most of you who follow me do so mainly because of the interest in my natural hair journey. But did you know that this doesn't mean I'm anti relaxing hair? Let me provide clarity, people often jump to the conclusion that as an advocate of natural hair one is some sort of hair activist who's trying to convert everyone from relaxing hair. Some go the extent of thinking it means there's this deep hatred and contempt towards anything sleek in texture, like a weave or wig. See me wearing a Brazilian weave then immediately start nailing me to the cross, "hao wena/ eseng wena" (translated gosh you/ no ways?), "have you finally give up on this treacherous and unachievable bushy hair stunt?". Or even say "I knew you were just going through a phase, you are now back to your senses". Really funny in my opinion, as long as you know who you are sticks and stones baby! I've once had a work colleague accuse me of having low self esteem, saying girls with natural hair have no confidence, read about that intriguing chat here under point number ten.

Now back to the topic, I do not hate relaxed hair. Even during my relaxed hair days I enjoyed my hair and had beautiful hair. Looking back though, I wish I knew what I now know because I would have grown my hair using much healthier hair practices. This healthier version of relaxed hair is called texlaxing.

How texlaxing works

  • It is the act of intentionally under processing hair using a relaxer. So instead of letting the relaxer fully stretch the hair, you slightly change/relax your hair texture by loosening the curl a bit. Hence the name texlax! 
  • There are many methods of texlaxing. Meaning, it all depends on your hair curls/shape and how tight they are. E.g. if you usually need a super relaxer and 40 mins of sitting with the relaxer cream on, plus combing while the relaxer is on, the texlax process might need you to change to a medium relaxer, cut the time to 20 and not comb. And if your hair usually does well with a mild relaxer you might have to dilute that relaxer to make it even milder, so perhaps add an oil and conditioner to the relaxer, then also apply vaseline to your edges and scalp. It's advisable to first test a sample of your hair, to determine what  will work for your hair.
Benefits of texlaxed hair 
  • Hair is more 'manageable' compared to when it's natural. 
  • You get more volume as your hair is straightened partially, and the strands are therefore thicker. 
  • There's less damage to the hair, as the relaxer doesn't fully change the chemical make up of the hair. So your hair would thrive better, e.g. less breakage and seeing more length retention due to better elasticity. Be mindful though, you still have to care for the hair, especially when new growth comes out - same as in the case of fully relaxed hair you'll have two new textures to manage. 
  • Moisture is better retained because the relaxer did not fully break all your hair bonds. In case you are wondering, hair is made up of protein bonds (keratin) and depending on how keratinised your hair fiber grows (genetically determined), you end up with a specific curl pattern, e.g. kinky Afro, curly or straight. In the case of kinky Afro hair, the fiber grows out tightly coiled, and when you apply a relaxer, you fully break the keratin bonds of the hair and therefore weaken the hair and make it less able to retain moisture. That's why with relaxed hair you can get to a point where you don't see growth anymore, you would experiencing breakage due to dry hair. From what I've observed, ladies converting from relaxed to texlaxed hair tend to get amazing longer hair that they never knew was possible. But the point is simple, if you take care of hair by balancing your protein to moisture ratio, hair will grow!
Cons of texlaxed hair
  • You shouldn't assume an automatic pass to laziness and not caring for the hair. Yes there's less work compared to natural hair but you should still get hair treatments that add protein and moisture to your hair, e.g. hair mayonnaise and cholesterol. 
  • Shrinkage! But not to the same extent as natural hair.
Happy healthy hair, whether you go the relaxed or natural route, let's just be healthy!!! 
Love - AfroMoriri

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