8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Relaxed Hair Journey

Thankfully I’ve been blessed when it comes to my hair. Why? Because I’ve put it through a lot over the years.

I’ve had relaxed hair for a couple of decades now and I’ve not treated my relaxed hair very nicely over that time. 

relaxed hair after being on a hair journey (top), relaxed hair starting a hair journey (bottom).

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Before I started my relaxed hair journey I did the following types of things to my relaxed hair

  • Colored my hair at home with semi-permanent color
  • Used highlighting mousse to accentuate my highlights
  • Flat ironed my hair every day of the week
  • Never deep conditioned, unless I got a free deep conditioner packet in the mail
  • Used a clarifying shampoo to wash my hair every week
  • Rarely used a moisturizer or leave-in conditioner
  • Got a touch-up every four to six weeks

I basically did all of the relaxed hair no-nos for years, yes years. It’s kinda surprising and essentially a miracle that I even had hair left on my head to start a hair journey with.

Because of what I was doing to my hair it shouldn’t be a surprise that what got me started on my hair journey is I started to notice my hair was always dry and it was losing its thickness.

It kind a freaked me out to the point that I did a lot of online research and came across some relaxed hair blogs and communities where I saw how products and techniques they were doing were helping their hair thrive. I decided I needed to do those things too. So I did and my hair did thrive.

Now when I look back on that time I sometimes wonder how my relaxed hair journey would have beem if I knew then what I know now. It probably would hav ebeen different because I was able to come up with 8 things that I know now that I wish I knew then.

1. The importance of reading ingredient lists

I think this is so important when it comes to selecting hair products. When I would select a new product to try I usually didn’t pay much attention to the ingredients.

Because of that, it took me a while to know what ingredients my hair liked and didn’t like.

So not reading ingredient lists and knowing what was and wasn’t in the hair products I used resulted in me wasting money on products I shouldn’t have bought and even wasting my time trying products I shouldn’t have tried.

2. Spend more time getting to know my hair

When I started my hair journey I didn’t really understand what my hair needed or what was wrong other than it was dry and not as thick as it used to be.

I also didn’t take any time to understand my hair type. For example, I wasn’t thinking about how my hair density would impact the types of products my hair would like and the techniques I should use.

Because I never did a true assessment to see what could be causing those issues I just started trying new hair products.

I think if I had gotten to know my hair better and really understood what it needed I may have seen better results with my hair sooner. I probably wouldn’t have felt a need to try so many hair products in the beginning of my hair journey.

3. Have a simpler regimen

I was reading so many blogs and seeing all of these techniques that were working for others and helping them to have beautiful hair. Hair that looked like my hair used to.

So it only made sense, not really when I look back but it did then, I would try all of the things.

That resulted in a hair regimen that was complicated and took a long time to execute.

After a while, I realized that a simpler hair regimen was better. Not only does it save me time and money but it allows me to really focus and hone in on what gives me the best results.

4. Be more strategic when trying new hair products

When I started my hair journey I needed to find products that worked for my hair because I really didn’t have any.

I wasn’t using any leave-in or moisturizer. I was just putting a heat protectant and serum on my hair.

I also wasn’t deep conditioning and the shampoo I was using was a clarifying shampoo every single week which shouldn’t happen.

I was basically starting from scratch which resulted in my trying a lot of different products. Sometimes a couple of new products a week.

When I would try a product I would make a decision about it after one or two tries. What I found is sometimes that’s too soon to make a decision.

Now there are times when a product is obviously not right for my hair because it dried out my hair, and left residue.

Over time I learned that when I tried a new hair product I should just try it over several weeks. The only time I would cut the trial short is if the hair product did more harm to my hair than good.

5. Take more pictures of my hair

When I go back through my archives and see the pictures that I have of my hair during my first couple of journey years are sparse. They are also pretty bad-looking.

They are dark and a little grainy. For some reason, I had no clue how important having nice to look at pictures and multiple pictures would be later on.

Taking several pictures throughout your hair journey allows you to see and track your progress which can be very motivating and informative.

Pictures can also help you see when things aren’t working and have a better chance of tracking back to what could be the cause.

6. Roller set more

My excuse for not doing rollers was it took a long time for my hair to dry under the hooded dryer.

It didn’t matter whether it was at home or in the salon.

At the salon hair stylists would groan and sometimes even complain when I would ask for a roller set because of how long it would take to roll up my hair and for it to dry.

It got to the point that I didn’t want to hear the complaints anymore so I avoided roller sets in the salon.

Blow drying was so much quicker but it was also more damaging because of the direct heat and manipulation.

Plus, I had a hard time finding rollers that were big enough for my hair and I am not good at putting in rollers that don’t have a snap and that I need to use hair pins to secure.

Thanks to Amazon I was able to find large snap-on rollers and a good hooded dryer that can dry my hair in 60-90 minutes. Now roller set on a regular basis at home whenever I wash my hair.

I may even look to start doing roller sets in the salon again.

7. Not all DIY hair treatments work

When I started my hair journey I tried several DIY hair treatments. Everything from deep conditioners, hot oil treatments, and hair rinses.

What I found is that not all of them work or are beneficial for your hair.

The ones that worked best for me were hot oil treatments using natural oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, tea rinses, and apple cider vinegar rinses.

What didn’t work for me was mixing all of these food ingredients together to make a hair treatment or conditioner. Avocados, mayo, and yogurt, they just sat on my hair and would leave a film or coating on them.

So DIYing is definitely something I would do a lot less of.

8. You need to take care of your scalp too

Yeah, having healthy hair is more than just washing and taking care of the hair that has grown out of your head. You have to take care of the place the hair grows from.

The scalp needs to be healthy as well.

Once I learned that I started to make sure I applied the shampoo directly to my scalp vs my hair so I could clean my scalp.

I also paid closer attention to what my scalp was doing - was it itching more? Was it flaking?

When I started doing that I stopped having the types of scalp issues I had been having in the past.