How To Stop Excessive Shedding From Relaxer Overprocessing

Relaxer Damage on hair strand and Healthy Hair Strand.
Relaxer Damaged Hair and Healthy Hair Strand.

I have seen it time and time again.  A new client comes into the  salon desperate because they have hair damage from the misuse of a chemical relaxer.

The hair badly tangles, sheds, and is almost impossible to comb through while wet.

Most clients think that it is the end of the line for their hair and are almost certain that all the over processed hair must be cut off. But there are a few products for damaged relaxed hair that can give you the time you need to begin to grow fresh new hair.

When hair is chemically relaxed, the hair strand is permanently, chemically, altered. African American hair is naturally overly curly, and the relaxer penetrates the hair shaft and loosens the curl. Once this takes place, it is permanent.

There is a point where the chemical can be left on too long or has been applied to previously relaxed hair that will cause it to be depleted of much need moisture and strength. This is what’s called over processing

When this happens, the hair will tear easily, tangle uncontrollably, and shed unreasonably.

What makes the hair so weak is the fact that the polypeptide chain in the hair has been broken down too much.  A polypeptide chain is a liner organic polymer consisting of a large number of amino-acid residues bonded together in a chain forming a part of a protein molecule.

When the protein molecules have been depleted too much, the hair becomes weak, fragile, and can even disintegrate. It can be a quick fix though, just by adding the much needed protein to strengthen the hair, the shedding, breaking, and tangling will cease.

WARNING: You must be careful when using pure protein. Using too much, or applying it when the hair does not need it can cause damage as well. I have had a few clients over the years that got their hands on pure protein for hair and thought it would be a good idea to give themselves weekly or bi-weekly treatments. After a few applications of the treatment, the clients always came to me and couldn’t figure out why their hair was so hard and brittle. This is what will happen if you misuse pure protein for hair.

One application is enough until the hair starts to shed and break again, then another application will be needed. This is not a permanent fix, but it can buy you quite a bit of time. Each treatment should last 6 to 8 weeks, sometimes longer. You just have to pay attention to your hair and it will tell you when it’s time for another application.

Nexxus products has a great protein system that works immediately, and can be done is 3 easy steps. I highly recommend this product, and have used it myself on many clients over the years. Here are the steps:

    1. Shampoo the hair with Nexxus Therappe Moisturizing Shampoo
    1. Apply the Nexxus Emergencee Restorative Strength Treatment – (usually 1 to 1 1/2 ounces is enough to treat the average relaxed head of hair.)  Comb through with a wide tooth comb from ends to roots and cover with a plastic cap. Go under the dryer medium to high heat for 20 minutes. Rinse
  1. Follow up with Nexxus Humectress Moisturizing Conditioner.

I like to do the added conditioning after the treatment because African American hair is naturally dry and having damage from a hair relaxer makes it even drier. The Humectress gives it a much-needed punch.

I believe this is the best treatment for damaged, relaxed hair. If you’re suffering from hair loss due to relaxers give this a try. You won’t be disappointed.





February 2019 Update:

It has been brought to my attention that the Nexxuss products recommended above are becoming harder to purchase online or in store. The Aphogee Two-Step protein treatment is a great alternative. Back in the day, I started my career using the Nexxus, but I have found Aphogee just as effective. You can check it out below.






39 thoughts on “How To Stop Excessive Shedding From Relaxer Overprocessing”

  1. Hi, thanks very much for your article it’s very helpful. I have lovely hair which recently seems to shed .I’ve never particularly taken real care of it though it’s been chemically straightened for @ I have been using some colour in the last 4/5 yrs to cover greys. I live in London and can’t find the products you mention in your article apart from the humectress conditioner. The Therappe shampoo I can find is called Nexxus Therappe Ultimate Moisture Shamoo whereas the treatment I can find is Nexxus Polymedic Emergency Reconstructor (Emergencée Strengthening Polymeric Reconstructor). As you haven’t mentioned these in you post, is it ok to use these if I can’t find the ones you’ve recommended?

    1. Yes, those products are just fine. Often companies change the names of products when they add a new ingredient or some other altercation. Normally it doesn’t change must. I’m sure it will work just fine for you. Thanks for visiting. If you haven’t already done so, you should sign up for my newsletter, I send out great information on a regular basis.

      1. Aww thank you very much Stephenie for getting back to me it is much appreciated. I am in the process of treating my hair with the products at the moment & will post an update! I shall sign up for your newsletter now. Wishing you a blessed & beautiful week ahead. Best regards Fara-A xx

  2. Hi Stephanie, my hair is chemically damaged. I had a head of beautiful full hair. Now Im going bald in the front edges and shedding like crazy. Had it cut above the shoulders, still shedding and looks like its not growing back in the front edge. HELP

    1. Hi Mae, you need a powerful deep protein conditioner to stop the shedding as soon as possible. I recommend Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask. It is very concentrated, so you will need to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner after the treatment. You can use the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair shampoo and conditioner and you will have a full set that works together. You can purchase these products through my online products partner at or click on the beauty supply tab in the main menu. As far as your thinning hairline check out my Follicle Rejuvenating System, it may give your hairline the jumpstart it needs to get growing again. Also, if you haven’t already done so, download my free Healthy Hair and Scalp Guide, it will give you some great tips and education. Hope this was helpful.

      1. My hair is over processed and I went to the hair stylist she put a treatment and cut my hair when can I perm it I haven’t had a perm since August 2017 please let me know thank you

        1. Hi Pamela,
          Unfortunately, I cannot give you an answer without seeing and touching your hair. There is no cookie cutter or one size fits all when it comes to hair care. The condition, feel, porosity, elasticity, and a host of other factors all need to be taken into consideration when determining if your hair is strong enough for chemicals. My advice would be to ask someone whose hair you admire to refer a stylist and let a professional assess your hair. Good luck to you!

  3. Hi Stephanie,
    I was natural for 2 year and i got a perm, becuause i like my hair straight. My broke off alttle a first and i thought my hair needed to get use to it. Also my stylist put a kiddy perm in my perm.
    I got a perm 3 time every 3 months but the last 2 times my hair have came out so bad i cant wear it down. I put to braids in my hair or a hat on my head. I dont like short hair on my me, so i dont want to cut it….. please help.

    1. Hi Aliyyah,
      Sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with your hair. Unfortunately, once your hair has broken off there’s not much that can be done but to start over and be sure to care for your hair tenderly. May I suggest that you not have a kiddy relaxer applied to your hair. It is a no-lye product and tends to be quite drying to the hair. Check out this video post that I recorded on relaxers.

  4. My relaxed hair is shedding like crazy and I don’t know why. It’s been happening for the last 4 months or so. I’ve tried protein treatments, moisture treatments, tea rinses but nothing that’s working. I don’t use combs excessively, I’ve tried braids as a protective style and I limit heat to once a month max ? I’m really stuck !

    1. Hi Dora, sorry to hear that your hair is shedding excessively. It sounds like it has been overprocessed. It appears that you have tried just about everything to make it stop, and unfortunately it may be too overprocessed to stop the hair loss. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing by wearing protective styles. You probably can’t save the relaxed hair that’s overprocessed and will have to grow new hair. Just keep doing what you have been, do not relax it for a while, and be patient. As your hair grows out, begin to cut off the damaged hair and eventually it will all be healthy again. I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but I’ve been there before, it won’t last forever.

  5. I used a relaxer cause my hair is naturally curly and I hate it so I straighten it every day and I went step by step instructions after my hair felt a little dry so later that same nite I re washed it with my shampoo and conditioner but my hair feels like maybe all the relaxer did not come out all the way but I know it did what can I do I can’t even straighten it cause it feels gross and don’t seem like it wants to straighten….

    1. Hi Sabrina, it sounds like your hair has been overprocessed. If it’s not shedding excessively DO NOT use pure protein. Try putting pure olive oil on it dry (a good amount where it’s heavily coated), cover it with a plastic cap and sit under a hot dry for at least 20 minutes. After that, shampoo the hair twice with a moisturizing shampoo, rinse, and deep condition again with a heavy moisturizing conditioner covered in plastic under a hot dryer for another 20 minutes. That might help. Just keep in mind that there is a point in chemical processing where the hair is beyond repair. If you are at that point the damaged hair will have to be cut out, but this trick may give you some time where you are able to trim the hair out over a longer period of time. It still will feel hard and like straw, but it won’t break as rapidly. I hope this was helpful.

  6. I went to the salon and got my hair permed, at the top it stripped my color and it seems to be thicker or courser mabey because of the curls. I think there is less damage at the top of my hair but I have really long hair and at the ends I can pretty much pull the hair off when wet, it feels rubbery at the ends. I can break about half an inch easily at the tips of my hair when wet it seems to just be the ends because I doing the same thing at an inch or two up and it won’t break. Is this fixable without cutting my hair completely off?

    1. Hi Shelby, it may be fixable. Try a pure protein treatment then follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. If this does not fix the problem then the damage is beyond repair and your best bet is to cut the damaged ends off. Here is a protein and moisturizing set that does a pretty good job.
      I hope this helps.

  7. Hi Stephanie…my relaxed hair is really shedding when combing it,sometimes I feel like the whole hair is breaking…. Also the front hair is hard and still shed although when I relaxed the hair everything will be normal again no shedding or tough hair…my problem is that the hair don’t grow and it will start shedding some weeks after applying the relaxer…I ‘ve been using coconut oil but its not helping I don’t know what to do …plsss help

    1. Hi Amira…new growth is so much stronger than relaxed hair. And depending on the tightness of your curl pattern, you can begin to see more hair shedding 3 to 4 weeks after a touch up because of the new growth that’s coming in. My suggestion to you to keep from having to touch up your new growth too often is to straighten out your new growth with a pressing comb to give you more time in between touch-ups. The comb doesn’t have to be very hot just enough heat to take some of the coils out. You don’t have to run the comb through the entire hair strand, just hit the roots. Here is a pretty good root straightener by Kiss:

      Also, make sure you give yourself a good deep moisturizing conditioner at least twice a month. I recommend the Mizani Therasmooth Shampoo and Conditioner Set:

      I hope this was helpful.

    1. Hello Laura,
      If your hair is excessively shedding, you should try not relaxing it for a while. Instead, after the treatment, straighten out your roots with a pressing comb and style as usual for a few months to give your hair a chance to recover. If that is too difficult for you to do, I suggest you seek help from a professional.

  8. Hi. My hair has been shedding excessively for about three months now and I’m certain it was bc of a relaxer. I can see that I have some new growth which gives me hope but my hair also comes out at the root. Is there something wrong with my scalp? How can I treat my hair or is there something I need to ingest to help with hair growth?

    1. Hi Ashley,
      It sounds like you may need to strengthen your hair roots. Regular exercise and getting the proper nutrients is always a good idea when it comes to hair growth. For the strength of the roots, I suggest that you start exfoliating your scalp quarterly. Exfoliation your scalp will not only strengthen the roots but remove dead skin cells and product build up as well. You can read all about it by clicking here. I hope this is helpful and good luck to you on your hair journey.

  9. Hi Stephanie my scalp doesnt feel the same after the relaxer wore of and my hair falls out easier is this normal im a guy so im not used to this so any advise will be good

    1. Hi Dan,
      You need a moisturizing protein conditioner to help stop the shedding. Dudley’s hair products company make a good one. After shampooing your hair, apply the conditioner, cover with a plastic cap, and sit under a hot dryer for at least 15 minutes. You can check out the conditioner here:

      I hope this is helpful.

  10. Hi Miss Stephanie,

    I love your information. This is my problem, I have severe breakage, shedding and thinning, especially in the very top of my hair. When I was my relaxed hair and comb it is coming out in clumps. I have tried everything and nothing seems to be working. I don’t want to cut my hair off but I’m desperate. I have tried the Aphogee products and like them but I see you recommend Nexxus products, honestly which is better? My hair was growing like a weed, but is so damaged, I’m afraid it will never come back. Please help, I’m desperate. God bless and thank you for the information.

    1. Hi Alison, I’m sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your hair. To answer your question, I prefer the Nexxus Emergencee System for excessive hair breakage, but it can be hard to find. The Aphogee protein treatment system is my second choice.

  11. Hello Miss Stephanie. I am in need of your help. I got a permed in May and after two weeks while washing it at home my hair started shedding. I can just pull it and it comes out easily. It’s been five months now and it is still shedding especially when it is wet. My hair stylist use Redken CAT and Moroccan hair mask. I’m not confident that it is helping. I have less hair then I ever have before. I really would love to stop relaxing
    my hair. Please give me some advice on what I should do. Thank you!

    1. Hello Sher, I’m sorry to hear that you are having hair issues. May I suggest that you have your hairstylist give you a 2 step moisturizing treatment? That will stop the shedding immediately. Nexxus Emergencee or the Aphogee 2 Step protein treatment are both quite good. Next, take a look at my Hair Growth Secrets Made Easy course that will teach you how to keep your hair growing and healthy and how to formulate your own customized scalp treatments. You can check out the course here:
      Good Luck and I hope this was helpful.

  12. hey my name is Bettye every time I get perm my hair burns real bad and I have sore in my hair all the time and my hair is falling out so I want to take the perm out my hair so I can let my hair grow out is that a good thing to do let my hair grow out by taking the perm out my hair

    1. Hi Betty, unfortunately, there is no way to remove a perm/relaxer from your hair. The effects of the chemical are permanent. That being said, if you want to “grow a perm/relaxer out,” just stop getting touch-ups and start physically straightening your roots with a pressing comb or flat iron. Through regular trims, over time the chemical will be completely gone. I hope this was helpful.

  13. Stephanie,
    I’m having a very hard time finding these Nexxus products and I think it’s probably because this was written 2015. Thank you so much for the info. I tried lye relaxer and my hair didn’t fall out. Thank God but there was some breakage on split ends. I think I can find these Nexxus products at Target in Salt Lake city. If not what would be the next best thing?

  14. Hey Stephanie,

    I got my hair chemically smoothened a year and a half back and it sheds like crazy. I’ve lost all the volume and it keeps on getting thinner. Most of the chemically smoothened hair strands have been chopped off, but the hair loss is intact. I’m tired of changing doctors and trying medications but nothing helps. My stylist suggests a keratin treatment, but I’m scared to go for any more hair treatments. Can you suggest something?

    1. Hello Harsha, have you tried a 2 step protein moisturizing treatment? I have found that the pure protein followed by a moisturizing treatment will usually stop the shedding immediately. Dudley’s DRC 28 followed by Dudley’s Cream Protein Moisturizer
      works wonderfully. Just be careful and not use it too much or you can cause the hair to become dry and brittle because of the strength of the pure protein. Once the shedding stops, there is no need to keep using the DRC 28. It is a little expensive but well worth the money. Just follow the directions for best results. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative the Aphogee 2 step protein treatment is not bad. You can find it here:

  15. Hi Stephanie, I need help. Got my hair permed in December at a salon, noticed my hair my hair falling out in the comb. Now I have broken off spaces all over my head and of course thinning hair. I am taking biotin. I am heartbroken about my hair. I need a good shampoo and moisturizer. I need help

    1. Hi Carrie, sorry to hear you’re having problems with your hair shedding and falling out. Trust me, I know how you feel and I’ve been where you are. What you need is a little education on how you can care for your hair yourself to get it back healthy again. Just recommending pre-made “cookie-cutter” products won’t do the trick, you need a little education to learn about exactly what your hair needs. I will be hosting a FREE 1-hour webinar on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 6 pm EST. I hope you register. I will be teaching about how to use natural ingredients to feed your hair and how you can learn how to formulate products for yourself. The registration link is below, I hope to see you there. If you can’t make it live, there will be a recording sent to all who register, also if you can make it live, please let me know you are in attendance in the comments so I can say Heyyyy…

  16. Hi, I am dude and should’ve never used the texturizer/relaxer mum got me. I relaxed the hair late 2017 and didn’t retouch ever since. My hair breaks like crazy. I tried cutting the ends in a bid to avoid going skin. Now in 2021 and my hair is barely any different in length. It’s still brittle and dry. I tried using leave in conditioners for months. I honest don’t know if it helped or not. However after reading your post I am convinced I need a protein treatment I’d love to know what you’d advice. I really want to grow my african hair out. It’s so short and don’t want to have to completely skin it.

    1. Hi Josh, I think your hair and scalp suffer from a lack of moisture. I would not recommend a protein treatment at this time, but a hot oil and aloe treatment to help your hair and scalp retain moisture and give your sebaceous glands a kick start to allow your hair to grow easier. Mix one-ounce almond or avocado oil with one-ounce aloe vera liquid gel. If possible add about 10 drops of Cedarwood essential oil to the mixture and apply it to your hair and scalp dry. (Before shampooing) Place cotton coil around your hairline and a plastic processing cap. Sit under a heated dryer for about 20 minutes, shampoo, condition, and style as usual. Do this every other week and you should see a difference in a few months. I hope this was helpful.

  17. I’m a former pro-stylist and know the benefits of good quality products. I have several satin and silk scarfs and bonnets, and all of my pillow cases are satin. I recently had my hair professionally relaxed. During the pandemic, I let it grow out naturally and used all Curlsmith products on my 3c hair. I noticed that as soon as I tried drugstore brands, my hair became tangled with fairy knots, was to comb through, and I began to dread shampoo day, and went to a salon and got it relaxed.

    The stylist used Mizani relaxer. I had to go back a second time, because the first time she applied it, it didn’t take. She wanted me to come back that next week to redo it, but I told her I was afraid that was too soon and would wait for my next appointment in 3 months. At my next appointment, she may have left it in longer than before. It was straight for sure the second time. At my last appointment, the stylist said my hair was shedding and I told her to trim my ends. The shedding has stopped, but my hair seems thinner in the front and no matter how much I condition it (shampoo and condition once a week) it feels dry. It looks healthy, but feels dry, even with the oils. I also have Mizani’s H2O Rose hair dressing. I don’t know what else to do.

    Could this have damaged my hair?

    The products I’m presently using are by Keratase

    1. Discipline Hair Care Duo For Frizzy Hair – Shampoo, Instant Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, and Leave-in Heat Protectant
    2. Nutritive Fine to Medium Dry Hair Care Set – Shampoo, Deep Conditioner, and Leave-in Heat Protectant
    3. Chronologiste Total Deep Conditioner
    4. Fusio Scrub Oily Scalp Home Treatment Hair – Once a month for clarifying

    Styling products I’m presently using by Keratase

    1. L’Huile Original Hair Oil – nourishing hair oil for all hair types infused with argan hair oil, camellia oil & marula hair oil.
    2. 8h Magic Night Hair Serum – Hydrating night serum for dry hair.
    3. Oléo-Relax Advanced Hair Oil – Hair oil & heat protectant with Coconut Oil for frizzy hair.
    4. Nutri-Supplement Split Ends Hair Serum – Hydrating split ends serum for dry hair.

    1. Hello Linda, sorry for the late response as I get so many messages that I tend to overlook some. Anyway, your hair feels dry because it lacks moisture and unfortunately, oil and serums are not moisture. I recommend giving yourself a deep moisturizing treatment with NaturSense Aloe vera gel, lavender, and Jojoba oil. In a tint bottle mix 3oz of Aloe vera gel, 1 oz of Jojoba oil, and about 20 drops of lavender oil. Mix thoroughly and apply it to dry hair unless it’s heavily oiled, then do a light shampoo to remove the oils first. Comb through and place cotton coil around your hairline and place on a processing cap. Sit under a medium to high heat hooded dryer for about 20 minutes. Shampoo, condition, and style as usual. All of the products I’ve mentioned can be found on my Amazon page
      under The Holistic Hairstylist and Hair Maintenance Products and Tools. Once again, sorry for the delay and I hope this was helpful.

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