I haven’t had a relaxer for years, and I’ve gone through the journey. Presses, braid outs, twist outs, curly girl method, two strand twists, sew-ins, braids, senegalese twists. Well you get the point.
But the reality is that each style requires a different type of maintenance. Key word: maintenance.
When you don’t have a relaxer, maintaining straightened hair can be a doozy, especially if you’re like me. I exercise, sweat in my sleep, and live in a city where rain and a ridiculous amount of show is prevalent.
So what do I do to keep the keep it straight without applying any additional heat for 4 weeks?
- Leave scarf on and add shower cap when showering. Make sure your edges and any stray hairs are thoroughly covered. Water and straight hair don’t mix.
- Make sure you’re shower water isn’t too hot that it makes you sweat. This doesn’t mean you have to shower in cool or luke warm water. It just means it can’t be scolding hot.
- Open a door or window in your bathroom to let the steam and humidity out BEFORE taking your shower.
- Leave your scarf on after taking your shower, unless you realize your scarf somehow got wet. If your scarf got wet, take it off quickly after getting out of the shower, but also quickly get out of the humidity in the bathroom.
- After getting dressed, you can now take your scarf, apply oil (D0 not apply anything water based.) I tend to stick with Hot Six oil for the morning. I pour about a nickel sized amount, rub it into my hands, and then rub it onto my hair while it is still in wrapped around my head. Next, I come my hair down (maybe into the desired style), then I put another dime to nickel sized amount of oil in my hand and apply it all over my head…and yes, I pay attention to my ends, meaning you will have to do a final comb through before leaving. off and style as desired. The process is a little less complicated if I’m wearing a ponytail or bun, which I tend to do weeks 3-4 for obvious reasons; my hair is less straight, especially at the roots by this time.
Develop a morning AND night time routine.
- I have three oils that I apply night. Coconut oil, hot six oil, and Neno Natural’s Hair Growth Stimulator.
- I apply hot six oil on my hair every night, while i apply Neno Natural’s almost every other night and coconut oil when I feel like it. However, as my hair gets into week 4, I’m all about slathering coconut oil all over my hair, especially the ends since week 4 is when my hair is generally in a bun.
- Hot six oil is applied all over my hair before wrapping, being sure to pay attention to the ends, while Neno’s Naturals is applied primarily to my scalp and massaged into the scalp.
- After applying the oils, I wrap my hair tightly in satin scarf, and call it a night.
- To keep my hair from annoying me, I wear headbands or use a hair pin to pin it up. (Note: I try to limit my use of bobby pins because in order to try to avoid damage) When I use the hair pin, I just pull my hair back with my hand, and wrap it around itself, and use the hair pin to secure it. This is to not get the dreaded ponytail hump.
- When working out, I pull my hair back into a pony tail, tie the scarf tightly around it, and ensure my temperature doesn’t get too hot. Yes, I monitor how much I’m sweating, but to help I use a fan to table top fan or the fan on my treadmill to keep me cool. (I normally workout at home.)
- I only plan on my hair being really straight for one week. Week 2 may be a good headband week, since my hair tends to start looking frizzy on my right hand side, but it can be camouflaged a bit. Week 3, I go for the ponytail. Week 4, the sock bun. (Weeks 3-4, I no longer wrap my hair but only tie it up sine hair tends to break when attempting to comb through even the smallest frizz at the roots. Also, during bun week, I tend to put my hair in two flat twists at night since that’s the week with the most frizz, which could also mean the most breakage.)
- ALWAYS carry an umbrella unless it’s snowing.
- If it’s winter in an area that gets snow, ALWAYS have a hat. Get a cute one that can cover the ends of your hair. I like using a loose beanie because its loose enough to pull the ends of my hair into.