How to Style Relaxed Hair

Relaxed hair is when you chemically straighten it. The result is beautiful, straight locks. Unfortunately, your natural texture will show at the roots as your hair begins to grow out. This can make styling relaxed hair tricky. If you don’t take care to hide the roots, the difference will be obvious and betray your secret. Although the styling possibilities for relaxed hair are endless, there are some styles that work better in terms of hair texture and roots.

EditSteps

EditCreating Simple Styles with Relaxed Hair

  1. Wear your hair loose. For a sleek, chic look, straighten your hair and wear it slicked back.[1] For something fancier, curl your hair using a 2-inch (5-cm) curling iron. Finger-comb your hair to get soft, voluminous waves.[2]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 1.jpg
    • Dress up a straight, slicked back style with a headband.[3]
    • Switch up a wavy style by parting it off to the side instead of the center.
  2. Braid damp hair and let it dry overnight for tight curls. Dampen your hair first, then divide it into 6 to 8 sections. Tightly braid each section, then allow your hair to air dry overnight. Undo the braids the following day, then gently loosen the curls with your fingers.[4]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 2.jpg
    • If the ends are too straight, curl them with a thin curling rod to conceal them.
  3. Curl your hair using foam rollers for larger curls. You can use the spongy type or you can use the long, bendy type. Allow your hair to air dry or speed things up with a drying hood. Take the curlers out, then shape the curls using your fingers and a little bit of hair oil. Do not brush or fluff the curls out; leave them tight and springy.[5]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 3.jpg
  4. Switch things up by doing a side part. If you usually wear your hair parted down the center, use the handle of a rat-tail comb to give it a deep side part instead. Begin the part above one of your eyebrows, then angle it towards the back-center of your crown. You can combine this look with long, loose hair, ponytails, or even braids.[6]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 4.jpg
    • This looks especially chic when paired with short, jaw-length bobs.[7]
  5. Cut some long, straight bangs if you are willing to commit. Anything that touches your eyebrows or just skims the top will look great. Keep in mind that you will need to relax your hair regularly to hide any regrowth; you will also need to trim your bangs every couple of weeks to maintain their length.[8]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 5.jpg
    • You can also straighten your roots with a flat iron between relaxing treatments.
  6. Maintain your look between treatments. Despite the name, relaxing your hair can be very harsh and damaging. When your natural roots start to show, you can straighten them with a flat iron instead of reaching for the chemicals. Keep your hair healthy by trimming it every 6 weeks, and deep-conditioning it every 1 to 2 weeks.[9]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 6.jpg
    • You don’t have to straighten all of your roots. The visible ones around your part and hairline will be enough.

EditStyling Relaxed Hair with Ponytails, Updos, and Scarves

  1. Try a top knot for a sleek and chic look. Moisturize your hair with coconut oil or olive oil, then smooth it down with a boar bristle brush. Pull it up into a high ponytail, then twist it until it starts to coil in on itself. Finish coiling the rope into a bun, then secure it with another hair tie at the base.[10]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 7.jpg
    • Another alternative would be to do a bun using a bun maker, a bun form, or a rolled up sock (sock bun).[11]
  2. Try a side-swept ponytail. Use the handle of a rat-tail comb to create a deep side part that starts above your left eyebrow and angles towards the back-center of your crown. Pull your hair back into a loose, low ponytail. Position it on the left side of your nape and secure it with a hair tie.[12]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 8.jpg
    • Give the ponytail more volume by teasing it or adding gentle waves to it with a 2-inch (5-cm) curling iron.
    • Dress the ponytail up with a pretty hair accessory.
    • You can do this style on the right side instead, if you prefer.
  3. Combine a low ponytail with a braid if you have long hair. Pull your hair into a high or low ponytail and secure it with a hair tie. Split the ponytail into 3 sections, then braid it. When you get to the end of your hair, secure it with another hair tie.[13]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 9.jpg
  4. Give a short ponytail some bounce with a curling iron. Pull your hair up into a high ponytail and secure it with a hair tie. Use a large curling iron to curl the ends under the ponytail to give it some bound. Wrap a thin strand of hair around the hair tie, then secure it with a bobby pin.[14]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 10.jpg
  5. Add length to a ponytail with extensions. Pull your hair into a high ponytail and secure it with a hair tie. Get a ponytail extension that matches your hair color, then secure it to the base of your ponytail. How you secure it depends on the attachment: claw clip or drawstring.[15]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 11.jpg
    • You can find these types of extensions online, in wig shops, and in well-stocked beauty supply shops.
  6. Try a faux hawk or side hawk after the curls start to come out. If you curl relaxed hair, the curls will eventually come out. If the curls are chin-length or shorter, pull all of your hair up on top of your head and secure it with a long banana clip. Use your fingers to shape and position the curls as desired.[16]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 12.jpg
    • Use your fingers to shape and position a few curls so that they drape across your forehead.
  7. Cover your hair with a scarf or turban. This is a great alternative if you are having a bad hair day, need something to complete your outfit, or simply don’t feel like doing much with your hair. Depending on your hair length, pull it up into a ponytail or bun first. Next, choose a silk or satin scarf that matches your outfit, then wrap it around your head.[17]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 13.jpg

EditStyling Relaxed Hair when Transitioning

  1. Wear your hair in a protective hairstyle. This includes things like box braids, twists, buns, Marley twists, and braided crowns. Not only will it look stylish, but it will also help conceal regrowth while keeping your hair safe and healthy.[18]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 14.jpg
    • If you are doing a braid out, consider doing it while your hair is wet. This way, you can take the braids out the next day and have beautiful curls![19]
  2. Try a Dutch or French braid if you have long hair. This will not only protect your hair, but also help conceal any regrowth. Smooth down the hair around your hairline with edge control first, then comb your hair back. Do a Dutch braid or a French braid, then finish off with a regular braid. If you have bangs, you can leave them out for a more stylish look.[20]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 15.jpg
    • Be sure to pull the ends of your hair under the elastic to protect them.
    • If the ending braid looks thin, fold it under itself, towards the nape of your neck, then tuck it into place.
  3. Try a messy bun for something quick and chic. Pull your hair up into a high ponytail, then secure it with a hair tie. Twist the ponytail into a rope, coil it into a loose bun, then secure it with another hair tie. Smooth down any stray strands of hair around your hairline with edge control.[21]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 16.jpg
  4. Hide regrowth with curls. Get your hair wet first. Next, working in 1-inch (2.5-cm) sections, wrap your hair around foam rollers. Allow your hair to dry overnight, then take the rollers out. This will help conceal the difference in texture between your natural hair and your relaxed hair.[22]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 17.jpg
    • You can speed things up by drying your hair under a hood instead.
    • You can also try straightening regrowth, but this can damage your hair overtime. Foam rollers are much gentler because they don’t require heat.
  5. Wear your hair under a scarf to conceal regrowth. Pull your hair into a bun, then wrap a silk or satin scarf around it. You can also wear a scarf over a protective hairstyle instead, such as cornrows. Make sure that the scarf matches your outfit, however![23]
    Style Relaxed Hair Step 18.jpg

EditTips

  • Use pomade or edge control cream around your hairline to tame any frizz or wisps.
  • Instead of relaxing your hair every couple of weeks, consider doing it every couple of months instead. Wear your hair in ways that conceal the natural roots.
  • If your natural roots start to show, you can always straighten them using a flat iron.
  • Always apply a heat protectant before using flat irons or curling rods.
  • If you just got your hair relaxed, try something simple, such as wearing your hair down, combing it off to the side, or using a curling iron to add gentle waves.

EditSources and Citations

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