Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Get Waves Out of Hair

Q: I never had a problem with my hair until I moved to NJ where the hard water made my thick, slight-wave-to-it, never-a-problem hair hard to manage. Since I'm not good with styling, I was going crazy. I went from semi-straight hair to thick, coarse hair so I had the Japanese hair straightening done (huge mistake). It was great, but too straight. I wanted to be able to curl the ends sometimes. It lasted about a year and a 1/2 then started to grow out.
I didn't want to do it again because it made my hair too straight so a hairdresser recommended Matrix straightening. He told me it would make my hair straight but not too straight (where I could style it). Well I tried it and it totally damaged my hair, I had breakage and clumps of hair coming out and my hair felt like brillo. It took me 2 years to grow my hair to fix breakage but it has never been the same. I wish I never straightened it to begin with but I did!
My hair has been extremely dry ever since and the new hair that comes in at the roots is so wavy, my hair was never this wavy even before I straightened it. I tried a relaxer at the salon (Matrix relaxer) it worked the 1st time but not the second, I'm tired of spending all this money at the salon can you please recommend a product to help me? Since my hair is thick and coarse now I just want something to be able to get these waves out without damaging my hair anymore maybe an at home relaxer? HELP ME PLEASE!

A: It sounds to me like you've really stressed your hair a lot in the last few years. While I understand your frustration and your mistrust of salon treatments based on experiences, I have to encourage you to continue looking for professional assistance in making more "permanent" changes to your hair's texture and wave patterns.
Being honest, it sounds almost as if the real problem began with getting the Japanese Straightening service. NOT because of any problem with that service, but because it wasn't what you really wanted. What you wanted was a relaxation of the level of wave and texture in your hair.
If the problem was caused by hard water, the best solution would have been perhaps to add some mineral salts to your shampoo/conditioner regimen. I have a couple of friends who live in the country and get their water from a deep well. Their water is naturally very hard and they keep use a gallon pitcher, to mix in Epsom Salts with warm water to use as a final rinse on their hair after shampooing and conditioning.
Other folks who live in hard water areas have invested in water conditioning systems for their homes, but these can be very expensive and require a lot of management depending on the methods used in the systems. (Prices ranging from several hundreds to thousands of dollars).
At this point, my advice is to look for a gentle shampoo and moisture-rich conditioner that will help you to restore the moisture levels of your hair to healthier states. I DO NOT recommend using ANY at-home relaxer products. Since I cannot give you a real assessment of the condition of your hair, you will want to talk with a professional for a blunt evaluation of the condition of your hair. Talk with him or her about what you want for your hair, what is involved with getting those results and very specifically what kinds of risks your hair's current condition presents in achieving those results.
In the meantime, give your hair a break. Condition the hair every day, avoid heat-styling appliances (such as blow dryers and curling irons) and try gentler hairstyles for a while, such as loose braiding and softly-wrapped up-styles, as you decide where to go from here.
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Hair care
Hard water hair
Hair straightening