Preventing Relaxed Hair Damage From Chemicals

We use chemicals such as relaxers, hair color, and keratin straightening to change the color or texture of our hair. But do you know what these chemicals are 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 Chemicals | A Relaxed Gal

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If these chemicals aren't applied properly causing overprocessing or overlapping, and the hair isn't treated with care during and after the application, they can do a lot of damage to your hair.

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:

Stretch between 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 hairstylists are to have about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of new growth when getting a relaxer touch up.

Regularly deep condition

Deep condition your hair every time you wash it. And make sure you use heat which can lift the hair cuticle layer allowing the conditioner to really penetrate the hair. When you rinse do it with cool water as that closes the cuticle keeping the moisture in.

Regularly moisturize and seal

Regularly varies from head-to-head. You may find that you need to moisturize every day between or washes or ever 2-3 days. I typically moisturize and seal every other day or less if I wear my ends tucked away for most of the week.

Do protein treatments

Protein treatments can add a protective barrier around your strands helping to add some strength. Determine whether you need a protein treatment and the type of protein treatment you do 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.



  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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