Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Benefits of Stretching My Relaxers...Both Physical and Emotional

“Stretching a relaxer” means getting your hair relaxed less frequently.  For example, if you wait beyond the common 6 to 8 week time frame between relaxers, it is considered stretching.

For twenty years I went to the salon to get my hair chemically relaxed every 6 weeks.  As a matter of fact, I thought it was the law if you had relaxed hair.

This averages to about 8 to 9 times a year.  I did not know then that 9 relaxers in a 12 month period was not the healthiest option for my hair. I was told that my hair was genetically thin and would only grow so long without becoming unhealthy...hence the frequent hair cuts.

Because my hair and my brain were both “trained” to adhere to this six week schedule, I would have a difficult time with tangled hair and breakage at only 5 weeks post my last relaxer. So at 6 weeks on the nose, I was in that salon chair on time… if not an hour early.

At the start of my hair journey, in 2012, I started stretching to 9 or 10 weeks. There were a few times when I surrendered at 8 weeks.

At the end of 2013 I was in a position where I could not get to my stylist for 3 months... yes, 12 whole weeks! Now 12 weeks is nothing to the advanced relaxer stretchers out there. Many ladies only get a relaxer once or twice a year without any major hair setbacks.

I am not at that advance level yet, but my first 12 week stretch was a huge success. First, it shows that you would be surprised at what you can do if you have to. Second, stretching for those 3 months gave my hair and how I “feel” about my hair a tremendous uplift.

Physical Benefits of Relaxer Stretching

It allows for recovery. The relaxer is literally changing the structure of the hair shaft. I look at it as major reconstruction because once curly hair is straightened by a relaxer, it cannot return back to its curly state. Therefore, undergoing a chemical treatment is stress to our strands. Stretching from 6 week touch ups to 12 week touch ups, doubles the time I can baby my hair and let it rest.

My ultimate relaxer stretch goal is 6 months!

Emotional Benefits of Relaxer Stretching

Are there emotional benefits? Well if your hair has ever been over processed, thin, and breaking, you know the answer is, yes.

I had a color service done in a salon (also a chemical service) and a few weeks later my hair was breaking like crazy and shedding with every stroke of the comb. Emotionally I was broken inside. I felt insecure and cried every morning when I had to comb my hair into some kind of style for the day.

Going for months without any type of chemical service, gives my heart relief… especially now that I see my hair getting thicker and longer. I cannot recall ever being happy about the health of my hair before.

If I can do it, you can too!

After about 6 weeks, my new hair growth makes its glorious appearance. This leaves me with two different hair textures. I have a straight hair texture that is easy to detangle and moisturize, and I have my naturally curly (4C) hair texture that is dry as a bone and has major shrinkage.

So, it has taken some time to learn how to manage my hair and keep it moisturized and strong between relaxers so I don’t have breakage at the line of demarcation (where the two textures meet).

Still, the time you invest in finding the right products and the right regimen that will allow you to have successful relaxer stretches will be worth it all!

I am shouting and giving God the praise because my hair has not been this thick since I was a little girl and has not been this long….EVER.

Subscribe to the bog today and stay tuned to learn exactly how I take care of my hair beyond the notorious 6 week mark.



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