Relaxed tresses. I honestly do not think that relaxer + peroxide hair color is a winning combination at all. Relaxers are the strongest and harshest chemical available in the hair industry. The ph is the highest and it causes the most stress on the hair and weakens it the most out of all chemical processes. Adding peroxide tints/ hair color to that is suicide for hair.
The good thing is that there are other gentler processes for straightening the hair other than relaxers.
OPTION 1 Japaneses straighteners that I used to use are MUCH gentler on the hair and still striaghten it. They use the chemical thio which is what is used in Caucasian curly perms. These do not destroy the disulphide bonds like a relaxer, rather they loosen the bonds with the thio then remold them in a straight position with a neutralizer after the hair is flat ironed into a straight configuration.
They worked GREAT for my hair color treated hair for years and allowed me to finally start retaining length.
Try ONE n Only Thermal Ionic Straightener in Color Treated Formula
from Sally's or amazon.com instead of your relaxer. This product is also available in Normal and Resistant formulas. You can do it at home yourself. The process is to put on a cream like a relaxer (For Afro hair, this first step should be left on up to one hour) Rinse that out then blow dry and flat iron. THEN pour the neutralizer on the freshly flat ironed hair and let it sit for 1/2 hour and rinse that out. Use a titanium flat iron at 410-450 degrees fahrenheit, 10 passes. You do not have to use heat afterward. You can just do a roller wrap or something.
For more information on Japanese Straighteners aka Thermal Reconditioning, see Yahya's post
OPTION 2 Another option to straighten hair with peroxide hair color is Brazilian Keratin Treatments. I currently have one of those. Some brands like QOD Max straighten Afro hair just as well as relaxers. (Again while Caucasians let it sit 20 minutes before flat ironing (Afro haired ladies should let it sit about an hour before flat ironing) Use a titanium flat iron at 410-450 degrees fahrenheit, 10 passes. But Brazilian Keratin Treatments are even MORE gentle on the hair than the Japanese straighteners mentioned above as option 1. We know relaxers destroy disulphide bonds in hair which weakens it. Japanese straighteners preserve disulphide bonds and merely rearrange them to a straight position. This keeps the hair stronger. Brazilian Keratin Treatments do not even rearrange your disulphide bonds. They change the hair texture by adding a layer of keratin to the strand which locks them into a new straighter position until the keratin layer wears off. You can use peroxide color with this process also.
So bottom line, IF you want hair color and straight hair, you should transition from hydroxide based relaxers to either the Japanese Straightener product mentioned above or Brazilian Keratin Treatments. Either one of these two are gentle enough to use on hair and use hair color. There is decades of evidence to support this. Caucasian women have used thio and hair color successfully for generations and now they are using BKTs and hair color without incident.
Sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide and all the other normal relaxers, however are an absolute no go to try to retain length if you want hair color. Japanese straighteners and BKTs can straighten your hair instead of relaxers and will do so leaving the hair much healthier and much stronger as well. The hair will be so much stronger that you can indeed do a single process hair color. So my advice to you is to research which of the above products you'd like to try to transition from relaxers to as a new form of straightening and then you are free to color the new growth. I would be leery about putting the color on the ends until you cut off the relaxer because they may still break off.
PS: I would go as far as to say that I personally believe that ALL women who currently use relaxers should transition to one of the above modern, gentler forms of straightening instead. Relaxers are yesterday's news and should be phased out for the newer generation, gentler options for straightening hair. There is no reason any woman needs to tolerate burning scalps and hair thinning any more. The new, gentler technologies for straightening hair are here and working wonderfully, you just need KNOWLEDGE which is power to know about them... and then use them.
ETA Please note, the only horror stories I have ever heard about BKTs are when they were used on top of relaxed hair. Again, this is because relaxer is the harshest hair chemical on earth. If you do either of the above, use touchup technique to keep it off of relaxed hair on the ends. I would also advise you to not relax for as close to 6 months as possible before switching over to the new method. This is so that you have close to 3" of new growth at the roots. This amount of new growth will make it safer to try to do a root application with the new chemical while keeping it off the relaxed ends.
Edited by LadyAradia - Aug 16 2014 at 9:48pm