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    Relaxers made easy

    Text: Michelle Brownlee Smith; Photography: imaxtree.com

    Lepore bks Z RF15 3519Research shows that 80% of black South African women are relaxing their hair. “This forms the basis of most hair routines,” explains Dark and Lovely brand manager, Khomotso Mathalela. “But some women have had bad experiences with relaxers, finding that they might be too aggressive, stripping their hair or making it too bone-straight. Scalp burn, root thinning and breakage are also big concerns.”

    Dark and Lovely’s National Field and Education Manager, Hanson Ndabeni says that, if done correctly, relaxing can give you excellent results. “Relaxing helps increase manageability, makes hair easier to comb and allows you to attach weaves and extensions.” Here are his relaxing secrets: 

    1 Remove your braids a week before relaxing. “Braids add massive strain to your scalp. Allow it to calm for a week, before doing another treatment.”

    2 Wash hair 72 hours before relaxing. “You want your hair to be clear of product residue but still have your scalp protected by your natural oils.”

    3 Apply the relaxer from your crown. “The product is heat activated and the hottest part of your head is the forehead. If you start there, it will be ready long before you’ve finished applying it. Start at the crown moving down towards your neck. Then from the crown towards your forehead. Set for the allocated time before rinsing.”

    4 Watch the time! “Read the packaging: fine hair typically only needs 10 to 12 minutes, medium hair from 15 to 18 minutes and course hair 20 to 25 minutes.” 

    5 Rinse with warm water. “Relaxers are waxy in texture. If you use cold water it will make it stick to the hair shaft and will be difficult to remove.”

    6 Don’t comb hair while rinsing. “Before you neutralise your hair with a shampoo, your hair is at its weakest. Avoid combing it at this point or it will break.”

    7 Relax only every six weeks. “You only want to target the regrowth, or you’ll be relaxing previously relaxed hair which will lead to breakage.”

    8 Do intensive treatments every two weeks. “If your hair is prone to breakage, you need to add some protein back. If dullness is your concern, amp up the moisture. Look for masques that will deliver the right solution for your needs.”

    Try Dark and Lovely Fat protein Bodifying Relaxer (R27.95 for 250ml) and Dark and Lovely Fat Protein Shampoo (R24.95)

    Not keen on relaxing your hair? Here’s 4 weave tips for luscious locks and try these DIY treatments for a happy, healthy scalp

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