Stretching Your Relaxer 101Saturday, July 26, 2008
Embrace your new growth!
If some of you don't know already, I am 12 wks post relaxer and this has been my best stretch by farrrrrr!! Im so happy! Yes I did get tangles and the ocassionaly matting going on, but nothing one couldn't deal with. I will be relaxing next week at 13 wks. This will be my 3rd relaxer this year (1 more to go) and I've never gone passed 12 wks before. I came up with a couple of tips as to how I got through my stretch along with the pro's and con's.
Stretching is a term normally used by those with chemical relaxers in their hair. Stretching your relaxers means to prolong the amount of time in between relaxers. So instead of relaxing every 6-8 wks, you can stretch that time frame to 10-12 wks. Some are so good at stretching that they can go up to 6 months with a relaxer.
Is stretching good or bad? Stretching can be very beneficial to your hair. By giving your hair a rest, from relaxing it frequently, allows the hair to thicken up over time, become stronger, less prone to damage, little to no over processing. However, if not done corectly, stretching can do more harm than good i.e. breakage, excessive dryness, brittle hair, shedding.
Stretching Tips For Newbies
- If you have not stretched before, take baby steps so that this process will become easier for you. If you're used to relaxing every 6 weeks, push for 1 more week (so relax at 7 wks) until you relax. Keep doing this until you reach a point where you cannot manage your new growth any longer, then you know its time for a re-touch (for me thats about 12-13wks).
- Deep condition the hair 2x week with a deep moisturizing conditioner for 30-45mins with heat, 1hr without heat.
- Use protein when needed (if hair is very mushy, soft, or limp).
- Apply your Deep conditioner to the demarcation line of the hair, so that area can be strengthened because this is where breakage can occur.
- Add oils to your Deep conditioners. For example, Coconut Oil, Extra virgin olive oil, Jojoba Oil, Safflower oil for extra lubrication and to soften your new growth and ends.
- Up your co-washes!!! This is important because the longer you stretch the more moisture your hair requires. Cowashes are a quick and easy way to refreshen the hair and give it added moisture. Plus it also cleanses the hair in a
very gentle way. With this particular stretch I've been cowashing my hair almost every other day and my hair has become much more manageable. Plus its additcing :)
- Do steam treatments for 20-30mins.
- Moisturize and Seal as usual. Keep hair moisturized at all times.
- (optional) Blow the roots out with a brush and blow dryer so the new growth is smooth & tame allowing you to stretch even longer, if possible.
- Air dry in braids or roller set the hair.
- Do braid-outs or twist-outs to blend new growth with already relaxed hair.
- Use low manipulation styles. While stretching your hair is very fragile so be very gentle.
- One week prior to relaxer remember to do your protein treatment to strengthen the hair for the relaxer process.
- If you are going to be using shampoo, remember to use a shampoo with great detangling properties or just detangle before shampooing with a conditioner.
- When you have tangles, comb starting at the ends first then work your way up to the roots with a wide tooth comb. Make sure there is some kind of moisture in the hair when taking out the tangles.
If at any point you experience severe breakage (small broken hairs) or shedding (long hairs with white bulb at the end) stop stretching, do a protein or moisturizing treatment (assess your hair and see what it may need) or use a garlic shampoo or supplement for your shedding. The following week relax your hair. Everyone's hair is different, Stretching may not be for you.