Relaxer Update (Nov. '13) | Tweaking My Regimen

My most recent relaxer stretch ended last week and it was 16 weeks and 5 days of a lot of tender love and care.  I continued with my no heat regimen.  Most of my wash days were supported by ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo, Darcy's Botanical Pumpkin Seed Conditioner (or L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm) and Darcey's Botanical Lemongrass Transitioning Creme.  I moisturized my ends through out the weeks with Elasta QP Recovery Moisturizer and I wore my hair in a bun for almost the entire stretch.  When I was not wearing a bun, I wore a medium height ponytail (although I did wear my hair down in a roller set at about 9/10 weeks post relaxer).  With all of that I was surprised to see that my ends were thinning when I flat ironed it three weeks ago -- who am I kidding, I was really disappointed.  I thought for sure all my hard work would pay off, but it seems that my recipe for maintaining thicker ends isn't quite complete.  While my ends are definitely better than they were back in March (see my hair update for comparison pictures), they aren't as good as I would like.  So, I'm making some more changes to my hair regimen.

Here's my plan:
Add more oils to my ends throughout the week -- I've been fighting this moisturizing & sealing thing for my entire hair journey, but I'm finally going to start sealing with an oil after I moisturize.  (So far this stretch, I've just been adding oil to my ends because my hair is still straight from relaxer day.)  Also, with the weather cooling down I plan to get back on my hot oil treatments.  I'll aiming for weekly/bi-weekly hot oil treatments/pre-poos.

More protein to my ends on wash day -- I learned from that Relaxed Hair Health blog post that the protein content at the ends of my hair are more depleted than the newer/younger hair closer to my scalp and therefore they need a little more protein.  I'll start with adding a protein conditioner to my ends bi-weekly and hopefully that doesn't disrupt my protein moisture balance.  If it does, I'll pull back to monthly.

Continue Moisturizing through out the week -- I started this two relaxers ago and while I don't do it every single day, I do get around to it several times a week and I think it's helped me thus far, so I plan to continue.

Shorter relaxer stretches -- After a few of you mentioned this to me, I've decided that you might be right about this.  I didn't have so much trouble with thinning ends when I stretched my relaxer for 12/13 weeks at a time.  And lately (since late 2012), I've been doing 15-17 week stretches, which seems coincide with the new hair drama.  Therefore, my new plan is to go back to my 12 to 14 week stretches.

And there you have it, for the next 12 weeks, I'll be implementing these new elements into my healthy hair journey.  Hopefully, my ends will at the very least stay the same.  As you can see from the pictures I did NOT do a major trim--I didn't have the heart to go back to just above BSL again.  Instead I trimmed one inch from the ends of my hair as I was flat ironing (see video above for demonstration).  I will continue with this method of trimming for my next relaxer as well.  My general plan is to hold tight at MBL until I can get my ends together.  Hopefully that won't take more than 2 or 3 relaxer stretches.  

What do you think of my plan? 
Those of you who mentioned that you were struggling with thinning ends too, what have you decided to do?

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