Preventing Hair Damage From Chemical Treatments

We use chemical treatments such as relaxers, hair color and keratin straightening to change the color our hair, curl it, smooth it, or straighten it.

So what are these chemicals specifically formulated to do?
  • Relaxers are the process of permanently chemically straightening the hair by breaking down the hair's natural bonds and reshaping them so they are straight
  • Keratin straightening uses direct heat to seal the keratin protein in the cuticle layer. It's a semi-permanent treatment lasting about 3-4 months because it doesn't change the hair bonds
  • Bleaching is the chemical lightening of the hair and the process strips the hair of essential oils
  • Hair color, when permanent, brings about the oxidation of sulfur in the hair by penetrating the shaft

Preventing hair damage from chemical treatments |

If these chemicals aren't applied properly through overprocessing or overlapping, and the hair isn't treated with care during and after the application, they can do a lot more damage than good. Overprocessing is when the chemicals are applied for too long and/or too frequently and create weak spots in the hair. Overlapping is when multiple chemical applications, such as relaxer and hair color, are applied within a short amount of time. This also weakens the hair.

Signs of chemical hair damage

Some of the signs of chemically damaged hair are it
  • Looks dull and lacks shine
  • Feels dry, brittle, and rough
  • Gets tangled easily
  • Has lots of split ends
  • Is falling out and thereby thinning 
  • Breaks easily

Tips to avoid chemical hair damage

Here are some general tips on how to avoid future chemical damage:

Allow several weeks between touch ups and chemical applications 

This helps with avoiding overlapping of the relaxer and over processing of your hair. Stretch your relaxers longer than six weeks. Recommendations I've seen and heard from hair stylists are to have about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of new growth when getting a relaxer touch up.

Regularly deep condition

Using heat when you deep condition can lift the cuticle layer allowing the conditioner into the hair and then rinsing with cool water closes the cuticle keeping the moisture in.

Regularly moisturize and seal

Regularly can vary from head-to-head. You made not need to moisturize every day between washes. I typically moisturize every other day or less if I wear my ends tucked away for most of the week.

Do protein treatments

Base whether you do a protein treatment and if it's a hard or soft treatment on what your hair is saying it needs. If you're experiencing breakage or your hair is over-moisturized and feels mushy you may need a protein treatment.

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Preventing Hair Damage From Chemical Treatments Preventing Hair Damage From Chemical Treatments Reviewed by Leah | A Relaxed Gal on 29 August Rating: 5


  1. I think bleaching in the worst of all three. And be aware of that even though you go for a colouring, if your hair is very dark, the hair dresser Will bleach your hair before the colouring.

    1. I didn't realize that. I've never had permanent color done. I've just done semi-permanent color at home. Thanks for sharing Lisa.


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