Summer has officially arrived, and while we're excited for long, sunny days, dining al fresco, and taking as many trips to the beach or pool as we can, we also know the struggle can be real for ladies with relaxed hair.
It’s no secret that the sun, salt water, chlorine and other factors can take a toll on your tresses, so the question is: How can you best protect relaxed hair during the summer months?
To answer this question, we tapped Corenza Handy for her expert guidance. With over 15 years of experience as both a stylist and an entrepreneur (her Brooklyn hair salon Kayhairnista Hair Studio recently opened) Handy was the perfect person to give us the lowdown on healthy hair secrets for relaxed hair.
Read on for Handy's tips on how to keep relaxed hair healthy during the summer.
1. Wash Your Hair Weekly and Double Up on Moisture
It’s very important to wash your hair every week. Handy recommends Design Essentials' shampoo formulated with oat or honey followed by Silicon Mix's conditioner, which gets the hair really soft. If you need extra moisture throughout the week, use something light that gives hair great shine like Creme of Nature's sheen spray.
Hardy also recommends using a treatment like a hair mask, hot oil or protein treatment to add in extra hydration. It’s important to put moisture back into the hair during the washing process to keep your hair light and bouncy.
2. Get Ends Trimmed Regularly
Trimming and taking care of your ends is essential to hair growth. While some people feel like not cutting or trimming your hair will make it grow longer, that's completely false. "As our hair grows it starts to split, so trimming your hair when necessary is definitely important," Hardy reminds.
3. Go Easy on Heat Styling
Limiting heat is important. Our hair tends to be naturally dry, so when we constantly put heat on it, it can dry it out even more. When you do use heat, however, make sure to use a protectant. Also, focus on making your style last longer by taking preventive measures such as wrapping your hair with a silk scarf or sleeping on a silk pillowcase to avoid brittle and frizzy hair. Hardy recommends this protectant from Design Essentials and this one from KeraCare.
4. Drink Water and Pay Attention to Your Diet
Some of us are blessed to have good genes and our hair flourishes whether or not we eat junk all day, but for the rest of us, your diet and vitamins play a big part in the health of your hair. Handy encourages taking B12 vitamins and omega supplements for healthy hair, skin and nails. Also, drink lots of water because it’s another source of moisture for your hair and scalp.
5. Avoid Overprocessing
"Relaxers are definitely important in terms of timing," says Handy. She recommends getting a touch-up every 6-8 weeks, but depending on the speed of hair growth, a touch up may be needed sooner. If you sweat a lot then your hair may revert faster. She also says that those with shorter hair will notice new growth sooner, but resist the urge to touch-up your hair too often.
6. Wait Awhile Before Installing Protective Styles
A fresh relaxer followed by braids or a weave won't end well for you. "I don’t suggest getting your hair relaxed and then braiding one or even two weeks later. When you get a protective style, you’re covering your hair up, so you can’t wash it [properly] every week or add moisture,” she says. Handy insists on getting a treatment and a good trim before you get a protective style to actually help protect your hair as it grows out.
7. If You Are Having Hair Issues, Speak To Your Stylist
Issues like breakage and thinning hair shouldn’t automatically be attributed to getting a relaxer. Handy insists, “You have to figure out why it’s happening.” It can stem from stress, poor hair care, or be something else. Have a consult with your stylist so he or she can figure out what’s causing the problem. "A relaxer is not for everybody, but if your hair is taken care of and done correctly, then relaxed hair can be just as strong and just as healthy as hair left in its natural state. It's all about the care of the hair."
This interview has been condensed for clarity and length.