Natalie is Lovin’ Relaxed

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NatalieHow long have you been relaxed?
I started getting relaxers at the age of 9, so about 12 years.

What is your daily hair regimen?
Daily, usually before bed, I make sure I use my conditioner mix on my new growth and ends, and seal with my Shea Butter mix. Then I always try to make sure I wrap my hair or wear my silk cap to bed. Also, I’ve been trying to make sure I baggy my ends for a few hours or overnight a few times a week and noticed its helped my ends stay moisturized longer. Sometimes if I decide to do a braid out I will use Shea Moisture’s Curl Smoothie over my moisture and seal using the LOC Method.

What does your wash day hair regimen consist of?
There’s a lot of steps in my wash day regimen so ill try to break it down:

  • Sulfate free shampoo weekly until about 8 weeks post, then its every other week so my new growth doesn’t dry out too much.
  • Cowash in between shampoo washes about every 3-4 days for added moisture. Sometimes I will add a tea rinse and a light deep conditioner.
  • Clarify wash once a month, usually the 1st week of the month.
  • Pre-poo with olive oil, commercial oil mix, coconut milk, or products that I am trying to use up before EVERY shampoo wash for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Deep condition for at least an hour or a half hour with heat every week no matter what. I alternate between light protein and moisturizing deep conditioners each week.
  • Heavier protein treatments usually about every 3-4 months or when needed.
  • Most of the time I finger detangle and only use a wide tooth comb in the shower with lots of conditioner and with running water if needed to loosen extra tangles.
  • Oil scalp with coconut/avocado oil mix and then spray conditioner mix (Tresemme Naturals Moisture conditioner and distilled water*) all over hair, especially new growth and ends.
  • Seal all moisture in with Shea Butter/grape seed oil/coconut oil mix and air dry with my edges covered with a scarf or blow dry to prepare for flat ironing if its my heat pass.
  • After air drying I will either do a braid out or just put my hair in a bun out of laziness!

* I started using distilled water because my areas tap water is very hard so it caused my hair to be dull from mineral build up after a while. If you’re going to use tap water, you may want to invest in a chelating shampoo to remove any possible mineral build up.

Natalie is Lovin' RelaxedFavorite overall hair product and/or product line?
My favorite hair product changes kind of often because I am a product junkie. But right now I would have to say Tresemme Naturals Moisture conditioner. I use it in my conditioner mix leave in and it makes my hair so soft and shiny. If I had to choose a favorite product line I would probably say ORS because their replenishing conditioner has been a staple of mine even before I started my hair journey. And I also love their Hair mayonnaise, lye relaxer, and Aloe Shampoo!

What is your favorite oil(s) and how do you use it?
My favorite oils are coconut oil, shea butter, grape seed oil, and avocado oil. I use coconut oil in both my sealing butter and scalp oil mix because it penetrates and always makes my hair feel soft even though it’s not heavy enough to seal for me. I use shea butter in my sealing butter mix to give it some heaviness to really seal in my moisturizer. I use grape seed oil in my butter mix for its heat and UV protection against every day sun. Finally, I use avocado oil in my scalp oil mix because it penetrates and has lots of nutrients and it’s not too heavy.

What are some of the things that you don’t include in your regimen?
I recently started cutting out silicones (except in my deep conditioner) and I’ve noticed my hair stays shinier longer and there is less build up. Also I have minimized heat use to once a month. I’ve also eliminated mineral oil because it used to cause a lot of scalp issues for me.

What do you relax your hair with?
I use ORS Lye Relaxer to self-texlax.

Tell us your relaxer process.
BEFORE: I usually will clarify wash about 5-6 days before and minimize manipulation of the hair for the days leading up to relaxing. Also, the night before and the day of, I will base my scalp with a pre-relaxer base to make sure my sensitive scalp is protected. Then I cover all of my previously relaxed hair with a thick oil and put some pre-relaxer base on my ends for extra protection from run off. I then divide my hair into 2 sections and cover one with a plastic cap. I learned this method from Jen of JustGrowAlready.com. Then I take the uncovered section and section it into a bunch of 1 inch twists to make the application process easier.

DURING: I make sure I apply the relaxer in about 13 minutes so that I maintain some texture. Using a Sprush for much easier relaxer application, I usually finish in about 8 minutes. I then gently smooth with my fingers for about 5 minutes. Then I hop in the shower and rinse well, and proceed with a quick protein treatment with Apoghee 2 Minute Reconstructor before neutralizing four times. I follow that with a deep conditioner with heat for about an hour and then follow it with an after color sealing treatment for 45 minutes to seal everything in which gives awesome shine.

AFTER: I will oil my scalp, apply my conditioner mix, seal with shea butter mix, and air dry to about 80% dry. Then I will use a heat protectant to blow dry and little more heat protectant before flat ironing.

Natalie is Lovin' RelaxedWhat do you do nutritionally for hair health?
I try to drink a lot of water and work out about 3-4 days a week so that I can promote healthy hair growth from the inside. Once in a while, I will take a Hair, Skin and Nails supplement and a biotin supplement when I remember, but not often enough to notice any improvement in hair growth.

A celebrity’s or Youtuber/Blogger hair that you admire?
I have a bunch of favorite hair bloggers that I admire, but Onika (Shorty2sweet59 of Youtube) and Whitney (Prettywitty77 of Youtube) would have to be my top ones because I’ve watched them religiously from the start of my hair journey.

What’s the best thing that you like about your hair?
The best thing I like about my hair is that it is much more thicker than I thought! I love big hair and when I was bone straight relaxed I hated how flat my hair would be no matter how long it was. After ending up under processed a few times in the salon and now that I’ve started texlaxing, I just can’t get enough of the volume!

What do you like least about your hair?
When I first started my hair journey I had a lot of issues with my hair. Mainly with my really thin ends. At this point I am very happy that they are nowhere near as thin as they used to be BUT they are still thin compared to the rest of my hair. So I am still awaiting the day my strands are all thick from root to tip!

What is one tip that you would give to people who want to retain length while being relaxed?
Manipulate your hair as little as possible and protect your strands! It’s important to keep chemical treatments to a minimum. If you’ve never gone past 8 weeks without a relaxer, stretching may seem impossible, but it can be very rewarding once you’ve mastered the art. It doesn’t have to be a drastic stretch either, just take it slow and add on a week or two to your usual stretch. Protective styles can help out and prevent a lot of breakage during these stretches. I’m not saying never wear your hair out, just protect it most of the time. I wear my hair out maybe 2-3 days a week, unless it’s my heat pass, but the rest of the days its either clipped, twisted up, or in a cute bun. Especially at 12 weeks or more post relaxer, all that I rock are buns. Protective styles don’t have to be boring, there are plenty of hair accessories and different up-dos out there to experiment with. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with and how patient you’re willing to be with your hair. Setbacks can and will happen, but it’s all a learning experience. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it definitely can be done and it will all be worth it! (:

What is your hair goal(s) and how do plan to achieve it?
My hair goal is to have full and thick waist length texlaxed hair. I’m only brushing bra strap length right now with about 6 inches of bone straight relaxed hair. I think the switch from bone straight relaxing to texlaxing also plays a big role in getting me where I am today because my hair is thicker and healthier than it has ever been. In order to fully reach my goal, I will continue to follow my hair regimen and keep researching other successful methods of hair care. I think the most crucial things are to keep babying my ends by making sure they are always moisturized, protecting them often and trimming them when needed. I may even consider going completely heat free for a while. Also, I will continue to make sure I pay attention to the protein/moisture balance because I had a slight setback a while ago from using too many products with protein ingredients. Please read those labels ladies!

Follow Natalie’s healthy hair journey on Instagram @Highmane10ance

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