Friday, 27 November 2015

Tips on stretching your relaxer for hair health and growth

Hey loves, I am back with a post on stretching your relaxers. Stretching your relaxer simply means increasing the time between when you get your touch ups done. So let’s say you get your hair relaxed/texlaxed every  8 weeks, you can stretch to about 9 or 10 weeks before getting your relaxer done. This means you do not relax/texlax your hair too often. We all know that relaxers are a chemical therefore the longer you can go without having to use them, the better for your hair. However there is an important caveat to this rule and that is you do not have to stretch to the point where it becomes unhealthy for your hair as the main reason for stretching is to improve the health of your hair. Therefore if you begin to notice excessive hair breakage, shedding, matting, it just might be time for you to get your hair relaxed/texlaxed. This does not mean that any slight problems you have with your hair you will run to a relaxer. Rather you can try protein treatments, the baggy method, black tea rinses or any other remedy to sort out the problem. Also I advise that you wait at least 8 weeks before getting a new relaxer (that is the very earliest time period I can recommend). I am trying out stretching only to between 11-13 weeks (mainly 12 weeks) no later because I have come to realise my hair does not benefit from longer stretches, say 16-20 weeks. There are a lot of ladies who can undertake longer stretches such as 20 weeks and above and this works for them. In the end it is all about understanding your hair and knowing what works for you, if you can only stretch to 8 weeks that is fine as well.

An old picture - I am about 11 weeks into my relaxer stretch
Usually around the 8 weeks mark and sometimes even earlier your hair starts becoming more difficult to manage and this usually increases as your stretch progresses. Reason being that you now have about 1 inch of new growth as well as your relaxed hair, therefore you have two different textures to manage. When this happens this is not the time to throw in the towel and give up on your stretch, rather implement the following tips:

1.  Moisturise and seal consistently: At this point of your stretch your hair needs plenty moisture especially your new growth so it is important to moisturise and seal your hair daily. If your hair feels drier you can either try moisturising and sealing twice a day, or misting your new growth with some water and oil while sealing the rest of your hair with an oil in addition to your regular moisturise and seal routine, you can also apply a moisturiser targeted towards natural hair on your new growth and use regular moisturiser on the rest of your hair or the loc (liquid, oil, cream) method. All these moisturising/sealing tips will ensure your hair gets moisturised longer. This is definitely not the time to forget to moisturise and seal your hair as this will lead to breakage which will not lead to an improvement in the length of your hair.

2.   Do not skimp on regular deep conditioning: It is important at this point of your stretch to make sure you deep condition regularly if you can do so once a week or once in two weeks or even more regularly this will help in maintaining the overall health and length of your hair When you are doing these deep conditions it is important to know what your hair wants, i.e. whether you would do a moisture or protein deep conditioner or a bit of both. This is also a good time to deep condition with heat i.e. a steamer, a shower cap and warm towel, a hooded dryer, a heating cap and so on.

3.  Decrease manipulation: When you are deep into your stretch this is not the time to engage in daily combing, trying out different hair styles, washing your hair like three or four times a week, and so on. At this stage less is more. You can just keep your hair in a bun where you change the position of the bun at various times to moisturise and seal. This is not the time to be too adventurous in styling your own hair you can reserve this for the weekends. Also you may choose at this point to wash your hair in sections or in plaits to minimise breakage and manipulation. However this is not absolutely necessary for everybody especially if your hair is shorter.

4.  Take care of your ends: It is every important during your stretch to care for the ends of your hair because when you do you would have less trimming to do, less split ends which in turn would lead to you gaining length retention and thus increased hair growth. Therefore treat your ends like pure gold. At this point in your stretch, pay particular attention to your ends when you are moisturising. Also when you are sealing it is important to focus more attention on the ends of your hair. When deep conditioning your hair as well focus on applying the deep conditioner on the ends of your hair as well as the rest of your hair. Finally make sure your ends are always protected in any style you do.

5.  Protective styles: Protective styles are very important when you are deep into your stretch. You can do longer term protective styles such as braids, crotchet braids, weaves and so on. Or you can just protect your ends by doing shorter term protective styles such as buns, french twists and so on.

6.   Hot Oil Treatment/Pre Shampoo Treatments: Your hair will benefit from you taking the time to do hot oil treatments and pre shampoo treatments with oils such as grape seed oil, before you actually wash and condition your hair.

7.   Detangle your hair at least once a week and on wash days: At this point in your stretch you have a lot of new growth, which has not been detangled daily. It is however important that you spend time to detangle your hair at least once a week. On your wash day, you must also ensure that you spend time detangling your hair to make the wash day process goes smoother and thus reduce breakage and matting during washing. You can use detanglers, some oil or moisturiser to aid in detangling your hair (never detangle dry hair).

If you follow the above tips you should gain longer and healthier hair. For all those new to stretching or caring for their hair, I have included a lot of backlinks in this post on previous posts where I have covered each particular tip in more detail. If you have any other tips on stretching your relaxer kindly share below. Thank you all for reading my blog and for all your lovely comments, I shall have an exciting post up soon.

TONKABELLE, xoxo



"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat" - Theodore Roosevelt, Strenuous Life 

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