Dear Ouidad: I had my beyond-shoulder-length very curly hair cut very short. I was trying to get below the damage and didn't realize it would take so much and should have done it bit by bit. But what's done is done. The damage was from medication from two hospital stays with another scheduled a week later and over-processing together. I had been having my under and side layers relaxed as they were and still are extremely coarse and curly where the rest of the hair is much softer with a lighter curl pattern. I am working with a stylist who appreciates curly hair and has really helped me to turn it around as it grows out. We are waiting for it to get a bit longer (yes I'm going back longer, I look like my grandmother with short hair) before she will even think about relaxing the kinks. We originally talked about perming it on large rollers, but they are beginning to use a Surface product for relaxing and I wondered what your thoughts were. We are probably at least another trim and color (covering massive gray) from doing it, but that depends on the process used. Are there any products that would help relax the curl and make it appear softer that I can use in the interim or instead of having it chemically relaxed/permed?

A: One option is a softening treatment. It is a technique to loosen the curls with very mild relaxants blended with Deep Treatment. It works to soften coarse curls, making them more maintenance free and healthy looking.