Relaxer stretching is no easy feat. For those who may not know, “relaxer stretching” just means extending the length of time between relaxers. Before I started my hair journey, I would relax my hair every 8 – 10 weeks. Now, I stretch my relaxers for at least 3 months. I’ve even stretched for 21 weeks (~5 months) and 26 weeks (~6 months). My recent 21-week stretch was better than my last long stretch. There are several things that I learned that helped my along the way.
Moisture is key
Towards the end of my stretch, I started using moisturizing conditioners to pre-poo and deep condition my hair. These steps infused my hair with moisture and set my hair up for long-lasting moisturization throughout the week. The influx of moisture made my new growth so soft. Normally, my new growth has a difficult time staying moisturized. I really experienced dryness when I was on vacation. Most of the time, the air was very dry which affected my hair and skin. My new growth suffered. I was concerned that my dry hair would start breaking and defeat the purpose of the stretch. Currently, it’s rainy season in Nigeria so there’s so much moisture in the air. When the air is humid and I use products with glycerin, my new growth stays moisturized.
Can’t forget about protein.
All this moisture is nice for really soft hair but it can err on the side of over moisturization. I experienced this towards the tail end of my stretch. My hair felt overly soft and almost mushy/gummy. To correct this, I did a protein treatment with Aphogee 2 minute Keratin Reconstructor.
Keep that new growth stretched
When my hair is out of a protective style, I normally roller set. This keeps my new growth stretched out. If I were to air dry without some form of stretching, my new growth would tangle up and it would be a nightmare to handle.
Leave it alone
My hair (for the most part) does well in protective styles. I had Senegalese twists for about 5 weeks. This took away daily manipulation and my hair was okay. However, I had some issues with the front section of my hair which is finer and less dense than other parts of my hair. This style showed me that I can’t use braids to protect my hair if I want to keep my hair in the front. It doesn’t matter how gentle it’s done. With this new knowledge, weaves and braids are essentially eliminated as protective styles for me. I haven’t tried wigs for an extended protective style but I have one to try out soon.