Whether you relax your hair to get the sleek pushed-back look Nomuzi Mabena has been rocking or to achieve the perfect transition from your own hair into your weave, keeping your hair healthy can be a mission simply because relaxers can be harsh on your strands. Not to worry, every problem has a solution and we’ve asked hair expert Brian Warfield to set the record straight with regard to taking care of your relaxed hair.

Limit wash days

Stylists generally advise against washing processed hair more than once a week as it can slowly bring the curl back into your hair if not properly dried after a wash. However, Brian states that the way you wash your hair is actually dependent on your lifestyle.

“If you gym a lot then the salt from sweat can dry your hair out, so it’s then better to wash hair twice or three times a week,” said Brian.

READ MORE: Styles to try for short natural and relaxed hair

However, over-washing can lead to over-drying hair. Using heat either through straightening your hair with a hair iron or blow drying it, can cause further damage to your hair. Applying too much heat to your hair may give you your desired straightness, but will eventually lead to undesirable consequences like hair breaking.

Love your scalp

People tend to forget about the damage that can be done to the scalp while relaxing hair and neglect to look after the scalp after the relaxer has been rinsed out. Apply coconut or castor oil to your scalp and massage your head to spread the oil around. This will allow blood to circulate.

Coconut oil will help moisturise hair closest to the scalp and castor oil will improve your hair’s strength. Rinse out after ten minutes. This weekly massage can promote better hair growth and treat an already irritated scalp. Also use a shampoo specifically formulated for treating your scalp and preventing dandruff caused by irritation to the scalp.

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AfriBerry Jamaican Black Castor Oil, available at selected Pick ‘nPay stores ; Mizani Scalp Care Shampoo, available at Mizani Salons and the L’Oreal Professional African Salon Institute.

Another way to protect your scalp, according to Brian is to refrain from manipulating hair before relaxing it. “Don’t comb hair before you relax it and don’t shampoo hair for at least 48-hours before relaxing hair,” he says.

Only apply relaxer to your roots

The whole point of relaxing your hair is to make your curly hair straight, so why further straighten your already straight hair? Only apply a relaxer to new growth, as placing it on already relaxed hair is over-processing your hair, which is extremely damaging.

Don’t DIY

We’ve all been tempted to relax our hair ourselves, and while many people do DIY, relaxing your hair should really be left to professionals. Professionals know what they’re doing, they know how long to keep the product in your hair for and they know how to properly rinse products out of your hair (one rinse never cuts it). Blackhair.about.com explains that boxed relaxers may be inexpensive but they may also lead to you chemically burning your scalp and abusing your hair, so please visit your hairdresser.

Choose one process at a time

Relaxing hair only to dye it soon after can lead to hair breakage. “Take at least two weeks between relaxing and dyeing hair if you’re going very light,” recommends Brian as relaxed hair can be brittle and adding a dye straight after relaxing your hair can be extremely damaging.

– Additional reporting: blackhair.about.com