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Why Is My Relaxed Hair So Puffy & How to Fix

If your hair poofs right out as soon as there is a hint of humidity, or when it’s hot, or in the sun, or whenever it feels like it, there’s probably a reason for it somewhere. There are a few reasons why your relaxed hair can get puffy.

Some women with relaxed hair use a flat iron with small sections in the morning to get their hair perfect, but by the afternoon, their hair is extremely frizzy and has lost its shape.  In this article, we’ll discuss why this happens and what you can do about it.


  • Puffy relaxed hair can be due to the relaxer itself, weather, damaged hair, or scalp issues.
  • Relaxers can damage hair cuticles, making hair porous and prone to poofing.
  • Humid weather can cause hair to frizz, while dry weather can lead to breakage.
  • Severe damage from relaxers can cause hair to poof without a real fix.
  • Scalp issues like seborrheic dermatitis can contribute to hair poofiness.
  • To fix poofy hair, wash hair weekly, use hair masks, and try pre-shampoo oil treatments.
  • Avoid hot tools, sleep on silk, try a wet look, and avoid hot water when washing hair.
  • Always go to a salon for relaxer touch-ups to prevent further damage and poofiness.

Why is My Relaxed Hair Puffy?

Your relaxed hair can be puffy because of 4 reasons:

  1. The Relaxer Itself
  2. The Weather
  3. Damaged Hair
  4. Scalp Issues

The Relaxer Itself

why relaxed hair becomes puffy - The Relaxer Itself

You got a relaxer to have straight tresses, so why do you now have even more frizz?

Well, like other permanent hair processes, getting a relaxer changes your hair’s inner structure, which is inherently damaging.

It also softens the hair cuticle and opens it so that the relaxer can enter the hair shaft. The hair cuticle never fully recovers from this procedure, so most people who have a relaxer also have very porous hair. This means that moisture escapes easily. And when your hair dries out, it can poof.

The Weather

The weather can work for you or against you with a relaxer. Humid weather, whether in fall or spring, can cause your hair to frizz. That’s because your hair sticks up, seeking to gain moisture from the environment.

This can actually be good for your hair, but your relaxed hair may look poofy. Dry, sunny weather can make your hair feel crisp and even give you breakage. Winter weather is dry but not sunny, and your hair will probably frizz less.

Damaged Hair

why relaxed hair becomes puffy - Damaged Hair

If you left the relaxer in for too long or it was too strong for your hair, severe damage can result. If this happens, the hair cuticle gets eaten away in parts, and the delicate inner shaft becomes exposed.

Your relaxed hair will poof because of the damage, and there isn’t any real fix. Protein treatments might help, but these are temporary.

Scalp Issues

Another thing that can make your hair poofy is seborrheic dermatitis if you have an oily scalp and dandruff that goes with it. This form of dandruff is a very common fungal infection. The dandruff scales and oil buildup can cause your hair to poof.

How to Fix Poofy Hair

Sometimes, puffy hair can be fixed. Here are a few tips to make your relaxed hair flat, like it should be:

Wash Your Hair Weekly

If you’re using a relaxer, you should wash your hair weekly. This is especially true if you live in an area with a lot of pollution. Environmental pollutants stick to the hair and can make it dry and, therefore, puffy.

Use a shampoo that has hydrating properties. Then follow up with an enriched conditioner that will moisturize your hair and coat it to seal the water and nutrients into your hair.

Use Hair Masks

How to Fix Puffy Hair - Use Hair Masks

Deep conditioning treatments and hair masks add nutrients to your hair and can give it the long-term hydration it needs to stop puffing. Hair masks are designed to penetrate the hair with moisture, while a regular conditioner only seals in hydration temporarily.

Deep conditioners also sometimes contain proteins that can repair areas of the hair cuticle on a short-term basis, if it’s damaged. These need time to work, so if your hair mask contains protein, leave it on for at least six hours.

Use a Pre-shampoo Oil Treatment

How to Fix Puffy Hair - Use a Pre-shampoo Oil Treatment

Oils are excellent treatments when used before shampooing and are one of the best ways to reduce puffy hair. But to get the most benefit, they should be natural oils. Coconut oil in particular, seeps into the structure of the hair and fills gaps.

This aids highly porous hair by not allowing moisture to escape so rapidly and by also not allowing too much water to enter your strands. When the hair is porous, it can absorb too much water.

This can cause further damage. Other oils, such as argan, olive and almond oils can be used. Just be sure to leave them on your hair for at least three hours prior to shampooing.

Avoid Hot Tools

Try to avoid excessive heat when you have a relaxer. High heat will damage hair that’s already weakened by a relaxer and cause it to frizz.

So the immediate look will be smooth, but afterward, the relaxed hair can be puffier than ever and heat might not even smooth it. Heat protectants can help to a degree, but if you must use heat, use low temperatures.

If you want an alternative to heat that can smooth out your hair, try braids or Bantu knots after applying a leave-in conditioner. The conditioner will moisturize your hair and help it to hold the curl.

Sleep on Silk

How to Fix Puffy Hair - Sleep on Silk

Sleeping with your hair directly on a cotton pillowcase is the best way to get permanent frizz. Cotton fibers trap the hair and dry it out.

Sleeping with a silk scarf can help avoid dryness and keep your hair smooth for the morning. If you dislike having your hair tied at night, try a silk pillowcase instead.

Try a Wet Look

How to Fix Puffy Hair - Try Wet Hairstyling

You can limit frizz and poofiness by changing your style to a wet look. On wash day, use a microfiber towel to absorb excess water gently.

Then apply these three products in order: leave-in conditioner, oil and hair gel. Then let your hair air dry. Your hair will have a light wave to it and lie flat.

Avoid hot water

When you’re washing your hair, avoid using hot water. Hot water can make your hair cuticle rise more, causing extra frizz. Instead, wash your hair with temperate water and rinse with cool water.

Go to a Salon

How to Fix Puffy Hair - get relaxer touch ups

To get your relaxer touch-ups, always go into a salon. Avoid relaxer kits, as they make it too easy to do major damage to your hair. Damage and dryness cause puffiness.

A stylist always knows how long to leave the relaxer in your hair and which areas should be relaxed. Whereas at home, most people simply relax their entire mane again, which causes extensive damage.

If you use these tips on relaxed hair, your hair health will improve. Your relaxed hair will be less puffy, and you might even be able to get rid of frizz completely.

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