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Mistakes I made when relaxing

Ironically, my natural hair journey has inadvertently taught me so much about how I could (& should have!) been taking much, much better care of my relaxed hair in the nearly decade & a half that I wore it straight. I could spew a number of clichés at this point but I’ll spare you…

Enter 20/20 hindsight.

Let me start by saying that personally there was a huge & undeniable psychological aspect to straightening my hair that can’t go unaddressed, but that’s not what this post is about, you can read more about that here.

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Freshly blow dried hair. I tried & day dreamed but it never really grew past this length in 14 years that I wore it relaxed.

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My regime back then was to relax with Ladine in-salon every 2 months & I would always combine it with an in-salon treatment of sorts. With every second relaxer I would trim though it mostly ended up being more of a cut. At home I shampooed twice a week & always followed up with a deep treatment (I wasn’t much into conditioner per se).

Anyway, let me fess up to my relaxing sins…

  • Over the years I lessened the gap between relaxers from 3 months (when I was a student) down to 2 months (when I started working). I hated putting my hands into my hair & feeling my kinky, curly regrowth.
  • I often saw the relaxer being applied halfway up my hair shaft when my regrowth was just 2cm or less. I said nothing. In fact I secretly hoped they’d pull it through the entire length of my hair. I never asked, but I certainly hoped.
  • I would always keep the relaxer on as long as possible to get my hair straighter. I would lie & say “I’m fine” to the stylist when she came to check on me. I’d be pretending to merrily read a magazine while my scalp was on fire & I wanted to scream!
  • When I developed sores (from relaxer burn & then scratching) it didn’t stop me from getting my relaxer if it was due. Ouch indeed.
  •  Protective styling. When I 1st read these two words a few months back I thought it must be referring to the heat protective spray a salon sold me to use at home before I GHD or blowdry.
  • Co washing. That must mean taking a shower with a friend?
  • All the natural oils (coconut & whipped shea butter are my favs) that I lather my hair in now quite frankly hadn’t even remotely entered my mind & if someone had told me about it, I’d probably have cast it aside as an old wives tale of sorts.
  • Lye vs no lye relaxers  – in 14 years I still can’t tell you which of the two I used. Ditto for the relaxer strength (of course I was hoping for super!)
  • I invested (I used that word to make myself feel better about it I guess) mainly in professional/salon brands in terms of home care products but there are some really good retail brands that are much kinder on the pocket (& sometimes better formulated) – it’s all about reading & understanding the ingredients list.

Of course I’m content with where my hair journey is at now, but there are moments (hold onto your curls naturals) when I wish I could have a second chance with my relaxed hair & give it the TLC that it was crying (or quite literally breaking off) for…

Be kind to your hair!

W

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