Stretching Your Relaxer 101

Saturday, 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.

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  1. I didnt know where else to answer your questions. But no i'm not texlaxed, I'm transitioning to natural. And as far as Bre, I do believe she's fully black.

  2. Great tips..except one
    If your hair is breaking (ie: finding broken hairs on the floor after manipulation such as combing) shouldn't you do a moisturizing treatment?
    Then a protein treatment for shedding?

  3. Not necessarily, broken hairs can be caused by too much moisture or too much protein. Sometimes we do certain things to throw off our moisture-protein balance. AS far as protein for shedding...I'll check up on that...but I do know that garlic is great for that. Thanks for the response.

  4. I'm relaxing at 13 weeks post also, and our hair textures look very similar :]

  5. @ Kellecarter - Cool. Let me know when you relax & take pics too :-)

  6. hey what is a steam streatment?
    sorry im new to this and i am currently 15 weeks post and basically have an afro now!!!!

  7. @ Anonymous - A steam treatment is when you apply your deep conditioner and go under a steamer (kinda looks like a hooded dryer). You can also do it at home. Just wet a towel, put it in the microwave for 1-2mins, (caution this is very hot) wrap it around your head (with the conditioner on), then apply a plastic cap and go under the dryer for 25-30mins. It really infuses your hair with a lot of moisture and will make it easier to stretch longer.

  8. Sunshyne would you mind doing a video on how to steam treatment?

  9. Hey..I wanted to know if lustrasilk placenta and jojoba oil cholestrol was a protein or moisture conditioner..It doesn't say on the container..

  10. About how much new growth (in inches) do you usually have from stretching before you do your next relaxer?

  11. this is great info =]

    so how many times a year do you recomend getting your hair fully relaxed??..

    and how can you tell the difference between touch up time and full relaxing time??

  12. April I'm not a pro,but to my knowledge, you NEVER relax hair that has already been relaxed. You only relax new growth (touch up). Relaxing hair that has already been relax will cause overprocessing and your hair will most likely break off.

  13. I love this blog. Very infomative.

  14. Once I've washed and applied my conditioner, I wrap may hair with kitchen foil, then put on plastic cap. The reflective properties of the foil provides a steam like environment with hair. Sometimes I do this with no heat for about 40-1hr and my natural heat from my head does the trick. Other times, I used heat under the dryer, too.

  15. I really enjoyed this post! I have recently decided to stretch my relaxer and this is my 11th week since I last relaxed my hair. Normally I would have relaxed my hair already mostly because I would have had alot of hair breakage by now. But I am learning a lot and am sealing and mositurizing my hair regular and noticing that the breakage has reduced considerably.

    I will be doing an update to my last post and would be adding a link to this post.

  16. Could you kindly explain sealing and co-washes. Thank u

  17. Thank you for this informative blog. I haven't done a retouch for close to 6 months because I had a weave in then braids.My hair isn't really breaking but it doesn't seem to be growing that much either. Have I waited too long and should I start over with a full relaxer or a touch up?

  18. This is great info. Once you co-wash what type of styling do you do if you do it every other day?

  19. I just wanted to ask you, is it safe to doo weave ons when you have just started your hair journey, just to give your hair a rest from all the stresses. And if so, what products should i use on my scalp and on the my hair, while I have weave ons to keep it from getting dry and weak?

  20. Hi everyone I'm new to hairlista and to all the new information regarding our hair. I must say though that I have also started moisturerizing and banding my hair everynight and it has had little to no breakage and I'm also 14 weeks post relaxer and very excited. I'm pushing to only relax my hair every 6 month so we will see. Add me as a friend if you want to know how my hair is coping and I will let you know and we can also learn from eachother♥

  21. hey im new i have stretched my relaxer to 16weeks but i have been straightening my hair most of the time instead (is this bad??)
    I am not sure whether to leave my hair and keep using protective styles or to relax it.

  22. I'm thinking about getting my hair braided to help with Stretching my relaxers. But I wanted to know how to keep with my regiman if my hair is braided. Do I just M&S and DC or what.please help.

  23. stretching your hair sometimes has to do with the texture of your hair...

  24. I am 16 weeks post relaxer. This is my first relaxer stretch. I plan on relaxing my hair tomorrow. I got a protein treatment 2 weeks ago. I've been getting them every 6 weeks. Do you think my hair is strong enough to relax even though I got my protein treatment 2 weeks ago instead of 1 week ago?

  25. Is it possible to stretch your hair and weave it at the same time? I am trying to grow out my hair and what I normally do is texturize the hair and weave it ofr about 6-7 weeks (because i'm away at college) and when I come home we re-texturize and then put new weave in. Does anyone have anytips on how to help my hair grow? ... names of products are apreciated too :)


  26. Hi Girls, I currently texlaxed my natural hair, I'm 4C, 4B hair type. Now that I am texlaxed I find my hair to be more managable. Thus far, u like it however with the cold atmosphere I concerned about my hair. I cowash with olive oil, rosemary oil, castor oil and I just added tea tree oil to the mix. Then I deep condition & protein treatment the following day. However, I've noticed my crown area is beginning to break off so, I braided my natural hair. I plan to keep the braids in for 3 weeks yet, moisturize & oil my hair routinely. Any suggestions, am I on the right track. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi hun, doing the protein treatment after you deep condition could cause dryness leading to breakage. I would suggest your prepoo with the oils you mentioned above, shampoo, deep condition with protein, then follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner. The moisturizing conditioner will make the hair soft and moist preventing breakage since protein tends to make the hair rough and dry. Protective style in the meantime until your crown region grows back. Remember to keep it moist - always!

  27. I have recently seen women who have flat iron their new growth in order to help with the stretching...I was wondering if you have ever done that method? Thanks for the tip of increasing the frequency of deep conditioning for some reason I never thought of that obvious change lol.

  28. I relax my hair 5 in 5 weeks. How can I extend?