Stretching relaxers may be easy for some, but just off of my most recent stretch (almost making it to 13 weeks), the struggles of dealing with my new growth are fresh on my mind. Most people don't let more than 6 or 8 weeks pass without getting a touch up for good reason -- Breakage. It takes patience and skill to get through a long stretch with minimal breakage. For me, doing my hair up to 7 weeks, 6 days after the relaxer is no problem, but once I get to 8 weeks this internal alarm goes off in me and I know that it's time to get into battle mode. Below, you'll find the issues I always encounter during a stretch and tips on how to get through them.
|Relaxer Day (pre-relaxer, of course): 13 weeks post|
8 - 9 weeks post relaxer:
Issues: New growth is visible and is now a major player in my daily hair care routine.
My suggestion: It's time to be extra careful when combing through the new growth. Detangle your new growth once a week (during each wash--before and after) in small sections with a wide tooth comb only. Never use a fine tooth comb on your new growth. ...Unless you're flat ironing or rollersetting, which means you are only using the fine tooth comb on a very small section of hair. And before you even get to that point: you've started to detangle with your fingers, then used a wide tooth comb and finally gently using the fine tooth comb to stretch your new growth for your rollerset or flat iron.
10 - 11 weeks post relaxer:
|My wide tooth comb and moisturizer.|
Issues: Not only are you dealing with two different hair textures, but now you've started to notice the unruliness and dryness of your new growth. The hair products that work with your relaxed hair are doing nothing for your natural roots.
My suggestion: (1) Once a week - Moisturize new growth only with a heavy moisturizer (I like ones that contain glycerine). Apply it to your roots in the same way that you would with a relaxer (Start with four large sections and make small horizontal parts applying a respectable amount of product to the new growth until you've gotten through your entire head of hair). This makes certain that all of your new growth has been moisturized. (2) Lay a scarf across your edges at night, so that your new growth lays flat the next day for you. No product necessary.
The Result: New growth that is soft, smooth and under control. And if it feel like it's starting to dry up before it's time for your next wash, simply refresh the moisturizer that's already on your new growth with a few spritzes of water.
12 weeks post relaxer:
It's time to prep the hair for relaxer: use a clarifying shampoo, perform a protein treatment, deep condition, and minimize product usage. Typically I'll flat iron my hair to make the process of relaxing easier but because of the rollersetting challenge I am participating in, I did not this time around. And it's certainly possible to relax your new growth in it's natural state just detangle properly (and gently) before proceeding to relax because you don't want to be slowed down by surprise tangles.
For more tips on how to get through a long stretch, check out my previous post here.
Labels: Healthy Hair, Quick Tip, Stretching Relaxers