Sleek Chic: Straight Talk About Relaxed Hair


If you’re a black woman with naturally tightly curled, coily or kinky hair, chances are you’ve had a relaxer at least once in your life! Until quality natural hair products recently became available, this treatment -- which permanently straightens strands by chemically relaxing your curl pattern -- was the cultural norm (for decades, most African-American mothers and grandmothers gave their daughters relaxers to make strands more manageable). It’s a great option for women who love the look of straight, silky strands – or just don’t have the time to devote to caring for natural tresses. The issue? Even with gentler formulas than the strand-obliterating relaxers of the past, it’s still a harsh chemical treatment that can leave hair weak, breaking, and dehydrated.


First of all, if you’ve been applying your own relaxers at home…stop! Only have your stylist do this, or you risk leaving the formula on your hair too long, or unevenly, and inflicting serious damage on your hair – even causing it to fall out. Also, since relaxed hair is usually dry and brittle, nourish thirsty tresses with tons of moisture. Use a bi-monthly deep conditioning treatment, and apply a dime-sized amount of oil throughout hair every day. Also, try to skip flatirons. Instead, towel-squeeze hair until it’s fifty-percent dry, blowdry, and then wrap your hair to create a sleek, straight look.


Avoid experimenting with hair hues that require bleach or ammonia -- since your hair is already chemically treated, this can cause double the damage! Instead, ask your colorist for an ammonia-free conditioning gloss treatment that deposits a richer version of your own hue, leaving it moisturized, bouncy, and dazzling.


Keep your hair healthier by rocking styles that don’t require heat styling, like braids, ponies, chignons, and buns. Don’t sweat the gym – preserve your ‘do by sweeping your hair into a high ponytail with a covered elastic, and wear a satin or silk headband at your hairline. This will keep your roots relatively smooth and dry. Afterwards, rub a dry shampoo throughout scalp to absorb extra oil.


When you relax your hair, chemicals remove the invisible protective layer of hair, leaving it prone to damage. With a formula containing coconut and jojoba oils, and moisturizing silicones, the Pantene Pro-V Truly Relaxed collection helps repair this wear and tear, and prevent further damage – leaving hair feeling lustrous and silky. Use the Truly Relaxed Intense Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner every day, and apply the frizz-fighting Oil Crème Moisturizer wherever a little control is needed (it moisturizes hair for up to seventy-two hours!).