One of the most common practices amongst relaxed hair ladies on a healthy hair journey is relaxer stretching. Relaxer Stretching refers to lengthening the time between touch ups. This helps to reduce relaxer overlap (relaxing previous relaxed hair) which causes thinning and ultimately breakage. It also gives your scalp a much needed break from the harsh chemicals. Some ladies regularly stretch for more than 6 months with little to no issues only relaxing once or twice per year. Here are some tips that will help you stretch your relaxer.
1. Take baby steps:If you are new to relaxer stretching baby steps is key. If you usually touch-up every 6 weeks, start off by aiming for 7 or 8 weeks and slowly increase the time period at every touch up. I personally believe that no less than 10 weeks is ideal since that time frame gives you at least 1 inch of new growth to work with when getting your touch-up.
2. Keep your new-growth moisturised:
Keeping your new-growth well moisturised will help prevent breakage at the Line of Demarcation or Demarcation Line.
The Line of Demarcation is where your relaxed hair and natural hair meets, this area is extremely fragile. Regular deep conditioning and applying moisturizer or a moisturizing leave-in directly to your new-growth are two ways in which to keep your new-growth moisturized.
3. Stretch your new-growth:When your new-growth is stretched or straightened, it is easier to handle the two textures. This can be accomplished heat-free with the use of tools like rollers and flexi rods.
4. Utilize Protective styles:Protective styles like wigs, weaves and braids can aid in stretching your relaxers and help reduce manipulation that can cause breakage especially when deep in a stretch.
5. Be gentle at all times:As with many other things, patience is important when dealing with two or more different textures. Be gentle when manipulating your hair so that you do not cause more harm than good, a wide tooth comb is necessary (preferably seamless) and always remember to detangle from the ends gently working your way up to the roots.
With time and practice you can master relaxer stretching. One of best things I have done on this journey is stretch my relaxers and my hair has been thanking me for it. My longest relaxer stretch to date is 17 weeks 5 days and these 5 tips have helped me along the way. What is the longest you have gone between touch-ups? Leave your comments and questions below.