Thursday, March 07, 2013

SOS: Overprocessed Relaxed Hair

The number tip, trick, or inside scoop that I give to growing and maintaining hair length is simple--and yet very complicated--Stop over-processing your hair. Relaxing chemically breaks down the structure of your hair to permanently straighten it. If you relax the same parts of your hair strand over and over, it will cause damage, breakage and even hair loss.

Is My Hair Over-processed?
  • Do you have extremely thin or split ends?
  • When you manipulate your hair in even the gentlest ways--do you have a lot of broken hairs?
  • Do you apply the relaxer to your previously relaxed hair?
  • Do use heat everyday?
Before I started my healthy hair journey, I was guilty of  all of these relaxing sins. My ends were jagged. My hair broke off if you looked at it wrong. I siempre self-relaxed from root to tip. The flat iron was my BBF! Over-processed wouldn't grow past my shoulders hair was what I had to show for it. I knew that I wanted thick blunt ends and a healthy head of hair, but I wasn't quite sure where to start. After some research, it hit me that first, I needed to change my relaxing ways. Here's what I did: 
  1. Stopped applying relaxer to previously processed hair. I grew up relaxing from root to tip. It never entered my realm of thought that I only needed to "touch up" my roots. By applying the relaxer to previously processed hair, I was further breaking down my hair, and causing my ends to grow thinner and thinner. There was no way that I could continue to do that and expect to retain length. 
  2. Stopped guessing and started reading. I actually sat down and read the instructions for my relaxer kit (in English, then in Spanish too). Every kit is different so you can't assume that you know until you read it's manual.
  3. Stopped using relaxers that were too strong. I did a strand test to see if the relaxer strength was appropriate for my hair and to verify which processing timing was right for me.
  4. Stopped relaxing and applying direct heat. This was the hardest sin to break. Until I found heat free ways to straighten my hair. Although I still love my flat iron, I know that absence does make the heart grow fonder and in this particular case--the hair grown longer.
Eventually, I decided that bone straight relaxed hair wasn't for me and I transitioned to texlaxing in 2010. (purposefully under-processing your hair during a relaxer). The scary/yet rewarding part about using chemicals like relaxers to straighten your hair is that its permanent. Get it right, and you're golden. Slip up and you're stuck with it. So if you're going to do it, do it right. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible and when in doubt, find a trusted experienced licensed professional salon to apply your relaxer.

Have you ever had over-processed hair? How did you save it?

Un mil besitos!



  1. I've had the same stylist since I was 16, but the last 2 inches of my hair are bone straight. I'm not sure how this occured b/c since I've been on my journey she has been doing a great job of leaving just the right amount of texture in my hair- minus my last relaxer. I cannot wait to gradually cut off all the thin ends and nice blunt ends! The no heat really helps too!

    1. You're so lucky to have a trusted stylist to go to! Maybe relaxer runoff is the culprit for your thin ends. Try coating your ends in castor oil the night before your relaxer application.

      Thanks for following!

  2. My overprocessing came from coloring my hair and then about a week later, relaxing it. I will NEVER forget it because my hair came out in clumps..I almost fainted (seriously, I was light-headed!). I would also relax my hair every 5-6 weeks and flat iron weekly. I think the only reason my hair was still able to live on my head is because I was always good about deep conditioning, using a heat protectant, and using a moisturizer. Thank the Lord that my hair is thick and resilient because I used to do everything wrong and somehow, I still have hair on my head!

    1. Ay Dios Mio! I would have had a dizzy spell too!

      I used to color my hair in high school and it was a nightmare to keep my ends looking decent. Although my hair grew like a weed, I had to constantly chop off the ends from the breakage. Never, never again. Plus, It wasn't until I grew out the color that i realized that my hair was naturally highlighted auburn!

      Thanks for following!

  3. my ends are extremly thin!! because I used to over process my hair (plus, now I texlax my hair so the difference is even more noticeable) but I'm getting rid of it slowly by trimming my hair every 2 months.

    1. Good plan of action. I transitioned to texlaxing for the same reason: I wanted thicker hair but something to ease straightening. Curly styles will help mask those end thins until you're ready to chop em!


We'd love to hear from you! Leave a note!