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Lightener, Color & Relaxer...Can they co-exist?

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

By Rha-Kera Barney-Sutton- Licensed Cosmetology Instructor and

Owner of The Hair Hotline

Color and Lightener on Relaxed Hair

Lightener on Natural Hair

Well Yes and no; depending on the condition of your hair.

Allow me to explain; if your hair is healthy and in good condition then yes, you can have a relaxer and color or lightener in your hair. (with great maintenance). If your hair is dry, brittle, and breaking then right now would not be the right time for you to get color in your hair.

"Well how do I know if my hair is healthy?" you ask. Well here are a couple signs of healthy hair:

Your hair is shiny

Your hair is bouncy

Your hair is easy to comb through

Your hair does not show any white pieces at the bottom when dried


If you don't meet any of those criteria I would strongly suggest you speak with your stylist before making a final decision. (you may have to receive some conditioning treatments prior to receiving your color.)

Back to the topic: when you have any chemical in your hair, especially a relaxer it is IMPERATIVE that you take care of your hair. But when you have 2 types of chemicals on your hair extra care is needed. Your hair will need extra maintenance to ensure a healthy mane. "When you take care of your hair, it takes care of you!!"

When the time is right for you to color your hair you want to make sure that the hair color is not too light! The lighter you go the more potential your hair has of breaking off. When beginning your color journey, start with highlights. If you start your journey with highlights you can see how the color looks on your hair, blends with your natural hair color and how it compliments your skin tone. If you like it you can either keep the highlights, color your entire head or easily cover up what you don't like.

Before finalizing your decision you will need to:

  • 1st talk to your professional

stylist to make sure color and a relaxer is the right option for you at this time

  • Ask your stylist about certain color lines that can be used with relaxed hair

  • Find pictures of colors you like and ask if the color would suit your complexion

  • Ask about the upkeep of the color and how often you should be coming back for color


Once you have colored your hair you should:

  1. Get a conditioning treatment at least 1 time per month

  2. Get you ends trimmed at least every 4-6 weeks

  3. Sleep with something on your head to cover your hair and your ends

(even if you are going to wear a ponytail you should still have something to protect the ends of your hair)

Email about products, hairstyles or anything you need answered about your hair

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