This Saturday reminded me why having this portal to relay important information is imperative. One of our fairly new clients (only been to us twice so far), has really bad breakage along the roots, concentrated at the back of her hair. She has relaxed hair and if you follow our Tips on social media, website and newsletters, you already know how fragile processed hair is. Needless to say, although one of the OXX Team persons had been asking her questions both visits to the OXX Salon, I was not fully satisfied with her answers. There had to be much more not relayed, based on the extreme situation I was viewing.
They had asked all the correct questions: "Are you combing during the week?"; "Have you stopped brushing?"; "Do you color your hair"?; "Do you sweat a lot in your hair?"; "How long have you been relaxing?"; "Have you been suffering from extreme breakage for a while?"; "Do you moisturize your hair often?"; etc., etc. Well, this clients response with respect to each question was...she stopped brushing and tries not to comb during the week and instead uses her fingers; she does not color her hair; she sweats A LOT in her hair and I asked her if it was more concentrated at the back to which she replied yes (I figured as the majority of the breakage was there); she only started relaxing again in December and has only relaxed two three times due to a lot of breakage all her life (even when her hair was natural); and she does moisturize pretty often.
Scalp issues such as eczema (persons call it dandruff and dry scalp) can be quite difficult to treat so most medicated ointments and liquids prescribed have exfoliating qualities.
All her answers allowed us some insight but something was missing. I started to discuss medicated scalp treatments and FINALLY, everything made sense. You see, scalp issues such as eczema (persons call it dandruff and dry scalp) can be quite difficult to treat so most medicated ointments and liquids prescribed have exfoliating qualities. In other words, they strip, just as an exfoliator does on your skin. So you would find the likes of salicylic acid as an active ingredient, and may I say, that will break a Black woman's hair, especially when relaxed, faster than you say "who is there?" No joke! This poor lady went on to explain that she does not actually shampoo with the treatment but instead rubs along the hairline, leaves for 5 minutes or so and then washes with her regular shampoo. Although that is definitely the best way to treat the problem, there will still be some residue left on the scalp. Then, making matters worst, she sweats a lot in her head and you know what sweat contains right? SALT! That is correct, Sweat is salty and salt and afro-textured hair, especially when relaxed, do NOT like each other. Another reason why women with relaxed hair who exercise have to be more diligent with haircare.
At this point, you are probably wondering what advice I offered to this lady? Honestly, I gave her two options...one being to stop relaxing (yes, her natural hair is able to withstand the salt and medication a little better) and the other was to lengthen the number of weeks between relaxers and always remind whoever is doing the service to give her a tex-lax and not a "proper" relaxer. This means they will use the relaxer like a texturizer. If you are wondering why I would not just say she should start texturizing, it is because you should NEVER mix a relaxer with a texturizer. She would have to literally grow out her hair, cut off the relaxed ends and then start over with a texturizer. This is because they do not like each other and the end results may be excessive breakage. Better safe than sorry I always say, which is why whenever anyone requests that at the OXX Salon, we respectfully decline every time. Not even worth the risk.
If you are currently using a scalp treatment, please take notice of your breakage. Read up on foods that trigger or increase flare-ups so that you, in turn, can reduce the usage of the treatment. I have proven time and again that certain foods do trigger eczema/flakes. One of them is gluten and another is dairy. Who knows, probably you may be able to hold on to your strands a bit better if you just make some changes in your diet too.
Until next week,
The OXX Family