Men’s guide to relaxing hair

Jaden Smith.
Jaden Smith.
Image: Getty Images

From more versatility in hairstyles and cuts to a more considered approach to skincare rooted in wellness, young men are having more fun with their appearance.

If you take your cue from Gen-Z tastemakers such as Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, Jaden Smith, or even Nasty C, then you won’t be afraid to create variety in your hairstyles with re-texturising processes such as perming or relaxing.

The gents are realising that changing the texture of their hair not only allows them to play around with styles such as braids, twists, or cornrows but also channel their favourite celebrity inspirations.

Hair: Men’s guide to relaxing

If you’ve heard anything about relaxing from women, you will know that it allows you the freedom to switch up your hairstyle but it can cause a lot of damage to the hair. When hair is relaxed, the bonds in the hair that cause it to curl are broken in order to create a smoother, sleeker result. However, it also compromises the strength of the hair. Here’s how to do it safely. 

Nourish the hair with oil and moisture:

When you wash your hair, shampoos can strip the hair of moisture, so following this step with an oil and serum can help replace and add the moisture your hair needs. Once you have relaxed your hair, make sure that you use a neutralising shampoo to neutralise to restore its natural pH balance.

  1. Make hair conditioning a routine: Conditioning relaxed hair at least once a week is an absolute must. Perform a deep conditioning or use leave-in conditioners containing natural oils such as coconut oil or shea butter, which will provide the hair with intense hydration and keep it soft and manageable.
  2. Keep heat styling to a minimum: 

It’s tempting to try just about any hairstyle when you have manageable, relaxed hair but make sure to reduce the frequency of heat styling and even lower the heat settings of styling tools such as straighteners and curling tongs to prevent damage. Where possible, try to incorporate styles that don’t require a lot of heat when styling.

Beware of over-relaxing:

Make sure to wait at least eight to 16 weeks before having another relaxing treatment. Though it is tempting to re-apply relaxer to new growth as it keeps the hair smooth and single-textured, it’s important to wait out the recommended allocated time between relaxing processes as over-relaxing is the quickest way to damage your hair.

Perform regular hair-end trims: 

The longer you hold on to split ends due to the fear of losing hair length, the more hair damage that will cause. If you need to detangle hair at any point, make sure to use a wide-toothed comb to stop any unnecessary stress on the hair, which can lead to breakage.

This article first appeared in the May/June print edition of S Mag.