Love Ciara’s honey and platinum locks and Viola Davis’s copper crop? Even though it’s great fun to try a different look, chemically altering the colour and texture of your hair can be damaging. Hair colour and relaxers both change the composition of your hair. If you’re colouring already relaxed hair or relaxing already coloured hair, things become even trickier. Here’s how to keep your hair healthy.
If your hair is already coloured:
• Use a no-lye relaxer instead of a lye one, as they are gentler on the scalp and hair.
• Avoid excessively shampooing hair, which strips natural oils from your locks.
• Use heat-stylers (flat-irons, curling irons and hairdryers) sparingly.
• Try to avoid chemically processing your hair more frequently than every two months.
If your hair is already relaxed:
• Wait two weeks and one wash to colour after using a relaxer – relaxer makes your hair more porous and it becomes drier.
Tips for colouring your hair:
• Try not to colour your hair too many shades lighter than your natural colour. For every level of colour that you decide to go lighter, the drier your hair becomes.
• Depending on how long you want the colour to last, try different forms. Temporary hair colour shampoos out easily as it is deposited only on the outside of your hair. A semi-permanent colour will last four to eight shampoos. A demi-permanent colour cannot lighten hair but is not removed by shampooing. Permanent hair colour changes the natural colour of your hair either by lightening or darkening it.
Tips for relaxing your hair
• Wash your hair once a week only, as more frequent shampooing will dry your hair out.
• Use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. Sulfates create lather and cause frizziness, dry out hair and are especially damaging to coloured hair.
• When your hair grows out, be careful not to overlap the new growth with already relaxed hair.
• Go to a professional as you run the risk of over-processing your hair when you use home kits.
• When heat-styling, apply a leave-in conditioner to clean, damp hair, work in an oil serum, then blow dry hair to prevent heat damage. If you’re going to flat-iron your hair as well, use a heat protectant before you do so.