10 Relaxed Hair Mistakes To Avoid

Mistakes are a part of life.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I learn most from making mistakes instead of avoiding them.

And I’ve made some mistakes during my healthy relaxed hair journey and even before I officially started. I’ve done things like using a clarifying shampoo every week, never deep conditioning, and flat ironing my hair every day (yes every day).

From those mistakes, I’ve learned and formed some good relaxed hair care habits.

a relaxed gal upset about hair mistakes.
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So you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did keep reading to see 10 common relaxed hair mistakes and tips for how to avoid and correct them.

1. Not relaxer stretching

There are a lot of different definitions when it comes to relaxer stretching. When I talk about relaxer stretching, I’m talking about going longer than six weeks between your touch-ups.

I know it says on most relaxer packaging that you should get touched up every 6-8 weeks but good hair stylists will tell you that for most people that’s not long enough. The reason is having close to a few inches of new growth is optimal to make sure there is no relaxer overlap.

When the relaxer is overlapped this means that previously relaxed hair is being relaxed again. This weakens the hair even more making it more susceptible to breakage.

2. Relaxer stretching for too long

While going longer than six weeks can be beneficial, on the flip side if you stretch for longer than your hair can handle it can cause damage as well.

Some women can go 6 - 12 months with their stretches. Others like me can’t. Some of the signs that you’re stretching your relaxer too long are
  • More breakage than would be considered normal
  • Increased shedding
  • Abnormally dry hair

To find your optimal stretching length, start with the number of weeks you're comfortable with and start adding a week each time you stretch until you notice your hair is starting not to respond well. That’s your sign to pare back to the highest number of weeks where your hair was responding well.

3. Using too much protein

This is something that can be easily avoided if you’re aware that it can happen. So many of the hair products we use have protein in the ingredients list but unless you carefully and meticulously read the ingredient list and know what you’re looking for it can be easy to miss. I share more about protein ingredients in my video How To Tell If A Hair Product Has Protein.

Using too much protein on your relaxed hair can cause it to
  • Dry out
  • Become brittle
  • Break off
  • Frizz up and look like it’s reverting

Making sure you understand what ingredients are protein in your hair products and using moisturizing products as a counterbalance can help you avoid making this mistake.

If your hair has protein overload check out my post What Protein Overload Is And How To Fix It. I share my experience with protein overload and how I helped my hair recover.

4. Trying too many hair products at once

When you start a hair journey it can be tempting and even fun to try several new hair products every week. Doing that though isn’t always as helpful as you’d think.

When you constantly try new products on your hair, you aren’t giving your hair time to tell you if it likes the products. You also can’t pin down what product is giving you that good or bad hair day.

I was guilty of that when I started my hair journey. Over time I learned that I should just try one at a time for several weeks, typically 3-4, and see how it interacts with my go-to products. If the hair product was harming my hair such as drying it out, causing breakage, causing shedding, or leaving a film on my hair I would cut the trial short.

As you get to know your hair better and the types of ingredients and products it likes, note what those things are by writing them down in a notebook, or on your phone. You can use that information to be more strategic about the products you select to try on your hair.

5. Using too much direct heat

Heat styling can make our hair look good but it can also cause damage if not done in moderation. Relaxed hair doesn’t need to be blown out and flat ironed every week.

I used to do that with my hair and it created dry and thinning hair which prompted me to start my healthy relaxed hair journey.

Some alternatives are

Try doing roller sets: 

There is less manipulation than a blowout and you can get a sleek look if you roll your hair and wrap it afterward. Plus, indirect heat from a hooded or bonnet dryer tends to be used which is better for the hair than direct heat from a blow dryer.

Use a hooded dryer: 

If you don’t want to roller set you can dry your hair with a hooded dryer. This is the route I go. I can better control the heat and my hair dries quicker with less work because I’m just sitting there.

Flat iron less:

Whether you do a blowout, roller set, or use a hooded dryer, try to avoid flat ironing your hair every week. Perhaps try only doing it when you're deeper into a relaxer stretch and have a lot of new growth.

6. Having a long and/or complicated regimen

When was the last time you sat down and walked through the steps in your hair regimen or counted the number of products you use when you wash your hair? You may be surprised at the number. I know I was.

When you’re engaged in the hair care world and you see people sharing how this product or this technique helped their hair it can be tempting to add it to your hair regimen.

That can create a complicated hair regimen that takes more time to execute than is necessary.

That happened to me. I had a hair regimen that had a lot of steps and it would take me hours practically most of the day to get done. After a while, I realized that a simpler hair regimen was better.

Not only does having a simpler hair regimen save me time and money but it allows me to really focus and hone in on what gives my hair the best results.

Write out your regimen and count the number of steps and products you use. If you feel it’s long and kinda complicated see what steps you can eliminate together or just do on occasion.

For example, unless you have damaged hair you don’t need to do a hair treatment every week. You can designate one or two weeks a month for your hair treatments. Same with pre-pooing. It’s great but not necessary every week if your hair is healthy.

7. Doing too much with wet hair

Wet hair is fragile hair. Textured hair is fragile hair. Wet textured hair is really fragile hair. As a result, you need to be really careful when manipulating wet hair. When hair is wet, being as gentle as possible and manipulating it as little as possible is key.

I notice my hair breaks more, a lot more when it’s wet. To keep from damaging my hair
  • I don’t detangle on completely saturated hair
  • I don’t use a brush on wet hair
  •  I get rid of the excess water before doing a blowout by air drying my hair first or using my hooded dryer to soak up most of the water. This way my hair is mostly dry before I use the paddle brush

8. Not reading product ingredients

This was something I really didn’t do, especially at the beginning of my hair journey. I didn’t realize, and I feel like it’s this way for others, how important having a product with the right ingredients would be for my hair.

For a while, my hair was not responding well to products with honey as one of the top 10 ingredients. But I didn’t realize that for quite a while and kept wasting my money and time buying products with honey in them and being frustrated with how they were making my hair look and feel.

Additionally, knowing what ingredients are in your hair products helps you avoid giving your hair too much or too little of something. A couple of examples are

  1. Giving your hair too much protein can cause protein overload making your hair dry, stiff, and brittle
  2. Giving your hair too much moisture can cause moisture overload making the hair feel mushy and limp

I know that many of the ingredients in hair products can be hard to understand and even read. When I run across an ingredient I’m not sure what it is I Google it.

9. Not deep conditioning regularly

If you follow me you’re probably tired of hearing about how important regular deep conditioning really is.

Personally, I’m a fan of weekly deep conditioning but I know everyone’s hair is different and not everyone has the time or needs to deep condition each week. So what’s regular for me may be different for you.

The reason I talk about deep conditioning so much is that it really does great things for the hair. I notice a difference in how my hair acts and feels when I don’t deep condition it. So I make sure to only skip the deep conditioning process in extreme circumstances.

When hair is deep conditioned it helps
  • Hydrate the hair
  • Give the hair shine
  • Encourage elasticity
  • Prevent damage
  • With moisture retention

I also like to amp up my deep conditioning by using a deep conditioning cap from the brand Hot Head that will provide some heat helping the conditioner to penetrate deeper my hair strands. Another good pairing with deep conditioning is steaming which I share more about here.

10. Copying other people’s hair regimens

When I say copy I mean using the exact same products and techniques. This can be really, really tempting to do because it’s easy. You don’t have to think about it yourself and can just run to the store or online and purchase all of the products and go.

While it may be easy to do, it probably won’t give you the results you want or even the same results as that influencer on YouTube or Instagram that you think has similar hair to you.

Everyone’s hair is different so what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Plus, there are other factors that go into creating a hair regimen that can vary such as climate, condition of the local water supply, genetics, and current health of the hair. There may be more but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

That being said there is some benefit in using someone's hair regimen as a starting point, just a starting point. If you see someone using a hair product or technique that you think could work for your hair do some research and ask yourself
  • Does this product provide the type of benefits or help my hair needs right now?
  • Are these product ingredients that my hair will respond well to?
  • Have I used something similar in the past and if so how did my hair respond?

If you’re looking to start or even update your hair regimen check out my post How To Create Your Healthy Hair Regimen where I share the basics for building a hair regimen that I used to create mine.

Which of these mistakes have you been guilty of or are you currently guilty of? Share in the comments.

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  1. Hi, I just found your blog and I'm hooked. I'm really trying to start my healthy hair journey because my hair breaks a lot making wash days really sad affairs. Do you have any tips for hair that seems to stick together or strands that seem attracted to each other once they interact with water. I've seen some hair enthusiasts refer to it as hair webbing.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm not a hair professional so I'm not sure what could be causing the hair to stick together. A hair professional could help as it could be raise cuticles, dry hair, build-up on the hair, or a number of other factors.


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