7 Ways To Thicken Relaxed HairSaturday, September 17, 2016
This question ---> "How do I get thicker relaxed hair?" is probably the most frequently asked question I have received while on my hair journey. It's definitely a question that I love to answer simply because I always desired to know how I could thicken up my own hair, prior to starting my hair journey in 2007. Since then, its been my mission to find the answers! Here are a few tips I "swear by" that have helped me thicken up my relaxed hair!
1. Stretching Relaxers
It is highly recommended to space out your relaxers as far as possible. Why you ask? Well by stretching out your relaxers you are giving your hair a much needed break so that your new growth has a chance to grow in fully before reapplying your relaxer touch up. On the flip side, when your new growth is not "visible", the possibility of overlapping your relaxer i.e. applying relaxer on the previously relaxed hair, is HIGH. Overlapping your relaxer is a HUGE no-no as it can cause thinness, breakage and overall damage to your relaxed hair. Stretching your relaxers (10-12 weeks minimum) makes your hair stronger and thicker over time!
2. Using Normal Strength Relaxer NOT Extra Strength
Normal strength relaxers tend to process the hair at a much slower rate than extra strength relaxers. The slower process along with a quick application time (15-20 mins; fast relaxer speed = less processing = less texture removed from the hair = thicker hair) is a great way to leave texture in your strands. More texture = thicker/dense strands. Also, apply the relaxer to the new growth ONLY - nowhere else. Previously relaxed hair does not need to be relaxed again (this is called over-processing which leads to thinness).
3. Protect Your Previously Relaxed Hair While Relaxing
Never ever relax your hair without your ends being protected from the relaxer. Relaxing previously relaxed hair can cause your hair to be over-processed which eventually leads to thinness and breakage. Protecting the length of your hair, all the way to the ends, creates a barrier between your hair and the run-off of the relaxer. Beware that rinsing out your relaxer, without protection, the length of your hair is at risk of being processed! It is essential to coat your strands with Vaseline (nothing is penetrating through that), Castor Oil, or Porosity Control Conditioner for maximum protection.
4. Pre-poo With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the most penetrating natural oil and very beneficial for relaxed hair. Coconut oil is known to protect the hair from protein loss when used as a pre-shampoo treatment. In other words, it helps prevent damage to the cuticle/hair as it penetrates deeply into the cortex of the hair; therefore, little to no protein is lost. Less damage = stronger fuller cuticle = thicker hair.
5. Weekly Light Protein Treatments
Protein is your friend but more importantly, relaxed hair needs it! Protein causes the hair to swell in diameter thus increasing the thickness of your relaxed strands. Protein treatments strengthen and fortify the hair preventing breakage. Always use products with "hydrolyzed protein" as they are small enough to penetrate into the hair cortex, i.e. hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed collagen, hydrolyzed animal protein etc., to aid in patching up damaged areas along the hair shaft creating a fuller thicker strand. Always follow up your protein treatments with a moisturizing treatment to soften and smooth out the hair.
6. Cut off thin ends
Remove thin ends immediately. As the saying goes "health over length" is nothing but the truth! Don't hold on to thin ends for the sake of claiming "BSL or MBL". Even if your hair will be shorter once trimmed, there is nothing better than seeing hair with beautiful full blunt ends. Your hair will automatically feel and look thicker. Maintain your trimmed ends on a cycle that works for you i.e. mini trims every 8 weeks, trims every 3 or 6 months etc. Remember to use sharp shears designed for hair cutting only.
7. Use Products with Panthenol
Panthenol is a humectant commonly found in deep conditioners and leave-ins. Humectants draw moisture from the air into the hair. Panthenol is also capable of penetrating the hair cuticle and cortex; therefore, helping to thicken each hair shaft naturally up to 10%. Look for deep conditioners and leave-in products (moisturizers too!) to aid in thickening up your hair.
What tips do you "swear by" that have contributed to thickening up your hair?