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How to Moisturize Relaxed Hair Without Weighing It Down

Wondering how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down? You’re in the right place. We’ll show you the steps to take, a few things to avoid, some easily fixed mistakes, and much more in our guide below.


Does Relaxed Hair Need Moisture?

If you’re wondering how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down, you’re not alone. Clumpy or greasy-looking hair plagues many relaxed heads. A lot of it will have to do with the particular texture and type of your hair and the health of your scalp.

Even though the texture of your relaxed hair will likely be more delicate and more slippery than then your natural crown of glory, you’ll still need to keep up with your moisture game to make sure your strands stay healthy.

So let’s talk about how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down, which is the other side of the moisturizing problem.

How to Moisturize Relaxed Hair Without Weighing It Down

Woman showing us how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down

Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

The process of figuring out how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down can be a series of trial and error.

You’ve probably noticed that even though your loose tresses still need moisture, it doesn’t all quite work the same way as when you’re natural. Here are a few tips for getting your moisture game back on track:

1. Use the Right Tools

The first bit of advice for moisturizing relaxed hair without weighing it down is to try a hair brush. It’s a simple fix, but you may simply be using the wrong styling tools for your hair. This is especially applicable if you alternate between relaxers and natural hair.

Because relaxed hair is straighter than your natural curls and coils, the oil that your scalp produces is going to travel differently down the hair shaft.

In fact, this is one of the reasons that Type 3 and 4 hair can sometimes get so dry. In curly or coiled hair patterns, the oil from your scalp doesn’t travel very far down the hair shaft. Often, folks use combs, rakes, or detangling brushes to style their unrelaxed locks.

However, to get moisture down from the hair cuticle to the ends. A hairbrush will not only brush the moisture down to the ends, but it will also help to separate and comb through the strands, creating volume and helping you avoid that clumpy look. 

2. Moisturizing Less

Most of the time, this is why relaxed hair gets weighed down. Black women are used to moisturizing their tresses A LOT because the hair needs it to stay healthy.

Whereas natural hair needs to be moisturized once or twice a day, that isn’t necessarily the case for relaxed hair. We give this advice because of the reason above—the texture of the hair has been straightened out, so the moisture will travel differently along the hair shaft.

So if you’re wondering how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down, try applying moisture to your hair less frequently. Sometimes every other day may be plenty.

Make sure you brush the moisturizer through your strands once you put it in—don’t smooth it through or finger-comb. A classic Denman brush is excellent for this. Plus, you likely already have one on hand.

3. Remove Product Buildup

Another common culprit that can weigh down your relaxed hair is product buildup. Trying to figure out how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down may lead you to try a few—or a lot—of new hair products. 

Product buildup is actually unavoidable unless you’re going to go wild, but the two most common ways it builds too fast are 1) using too much product and 2) using the wrong products.

Signs of product buildup include:

  • Hair looks limp and lifeless and has no volume
  • Hair looks dull and has no healthy shine
  • Hair feels waxy or greasy, especially at the root

Product buildup can also be harmful because it can stop your hair from absorbing moisture. If your hair is too coated in waxy residue, the hair shaft won’t be able to absorb any additional moisture you apply.

4. Wrap It up at Night

Not wrapping your hair up at night can be a significant deterrent to keeping your relaxed locks healthy. If you’re struggling with how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down, wrapping it up at night is one of the easiest things to try.

Many folks have ditched this ritual because of the uptick in alternative methods, such as using a silk pillowcase. While silk pillowcases may be a great way to protect natural and afro-textured hair from damage, the benefits don’t necessarily transfer to relaxed hair.

When you get a relaxer, all the processing dries out your hair. That’s why you still need to keep it moisturized, and wrapping it up at night is one of the best methods for doing that.

For best results, try these steps:

  • Before bed, moisturize your hair with the leave-in of your choice and brush through
  • Wrap hair in a silk scarf or other covering
  • Avoid using cotton wraps since cotton soaks up moisture

When you unwrap your hair in the morning, you should notice a difference right away. Your relaxed tresses should be soft, more moisturized, and look good.

5. Use the Right Products

If you’re looking for ideas on how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down, you may want to consider the hair products you’re using.

The products you use on natural or pressed hair won’t directly translate to good results with relaxed hair. Since your hair pattern has been chemically altered, the hair cuticle and shaft may not absorb moisture in the same way.

If you feel that your relaxed hair is getting weighed down when you moisturize it, it could be that your hair simply can’t absorb the moisture or that it no longer needs the same amount of product to stay healthy.

This could also be the case if your relaxed hair is tending toward dryness. Try switching it and experimenting with small amounts of a new moisturizer.

6. Use Less Product

If you’re trying to figure out how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down, you may want to consider using less product. This area is another where folks used to rocking natural hair can slip up.

Natural hair tends to be pretty thirsty and can easily stand to be moisturized two or three times a day. On the other hand, relaxed hair may only need to be moisturized before bed.

The consistency of your relaxed hair will be finer, straighter, and possibly more brittle than your natural locks, and because of this, it will respond differently.

Try reducing the amount you usually use in half, brush through your hair, and wrap in a silk scarf. It’s best to apply moisturizer at night because your wrapped hair will have more uninterrupted time to absorb it.

7. Try a Protective Hair Style

Consider your protective styling habits if you’re looking for ways to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down. Just because your hair is relaxed doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to protective styles. 

You don’t need to put your relaxed hair into box braids, but it does mean that you can take advantage of the more accessible protective styles like plaits or even just a simple French braid.

Protective styling has the same benefits for relaxed hair as it does for natural hair. It gives your hair a break, protects it from the elements, and helps it to stay moisturized.

8. Use the Part and Oil Method

One idea for how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down is to change your moisture methodology. One popular technique is what we call the “part and oil” method. Divide your hair into four or more sections to give it a try.

Apply a hair oil, like argan oil, along the parted lines of each section and comb or brush through. This method helps ensure that the moisture reaches every section of your hair and is also an excellent technique for those with thicker hair.

9. Don’t Use Heavy Hair Products

When you’re searching for advice on how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down, you’ll probably notice a lot of folks focusing on the type of product they use.

Relaxed hair often responds better to a lightweight moisturizer, such as coconut oil. Hair oils are great for keeping your strands moisturized and healthy even when your hair isn’t relaxed. Your scalp can absorb oils much quicker than heavier leave-ins and hair lotions.

Oils are also great because a little goes a long way. The type of oil is up to you because there’s no one best oil for hair. But popular picks include coconut, jojoba, olive, and argan oil.

10. Show Your Scalp Some TLC

When you’re wondering about how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down, you might forget about your scalp. Your scalp doesn’t always get the TLC that it should. However, a neglected scalp can cause problems. 

A scalp that’s too dry can over-produce hair oils, making your hair appear weighed down. Ironically, a scalp that’s too oily may also have the same appearance.

To keep your scalp healthy, try the part-and-oil method mentioned above, and try wrapping your hair at night as well. When you create a moisturizing environment for your hair, your scalp will benefit too. And a healthy scalp is a happy scalp.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman who took our advice on how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down in a white sweater

L Julia/Shutterstock

Here are a few frequently asked questions concerning advice on how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down:

How do you add moisture to dry relaxed hair?

Try using a lightweight moisturizer, such as coconut or jojoba oil, and brush through the hair section by section. You can also try using a water-based leave-in conditioner.

What is a good daily moisturizer for relaxed hair?

Hair oils, such as coconut, jojoba, argan, or carrot oil, are all good as daily moisturizers. A lightweight leave-in conditioner spray will work well too.

What helps dry, brittle relaxed hair?

In addition to the tips and tricks above about adding moisture to your relaxed hair, you can also try to strengthen it. Chemical processes can weaken the hair shaft, so try using a product specifically geared towards strengthening your hair, such as a castor oil conditioner.

How can I make my hair softer after a relaxer?

Try moisturizing your hair at least once a day after getting a relaxer to make it softer. The chemicals used in a relaxer can cause damage to your hair, so it may need some extra moisture. Try moisturizing at night and then wrapping your hair in a silk scarf.

How do you make moisturizer for relaxed hair?

If you’re a DIY type, you can also try making your own daily moisturizer for your relaxed hair. Common ingredients include purified water, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera.

How Do You Moisturize Relaxed Hair Without Weighing It Down?

So now you know a little more about how to moisturize relaxed hair without weighing it down. Hopefully, these tips and tricks have gotten your creative juices flowing! Which tip will you try first?

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