Healthy Hair Tip: Stretching Your Relaxer for Hair Growth
It has been discussed ad nauseum how relaxers can have damaging effects to the hair....however....this does NOT mean only ladies without relaxers can grow long hair. During my healthy hair journey, I learned that stretching the time in between me receiving relaxers would not only save my pocket books, but it saved my hair. My hair would be **much** thicker and longer....I had a lot less breakage.
What is relaxer stretching?
Relaxer stretching is simply stretching the amount of time you go in between relaxers. It prevents your hair from being "over relaxed" and helps thicken your hair. 9 out of 10 African American women who relax their hair are relaxing their hair too much--the result is thinning hair, dryness, breakage, and hair that appears it will not grow.
If you typically relax your hair every 6-8 weeks, try stretching for 10 weeks. If you typically go every 12 weeks...stretch to 15-16 weeks. Now before you look at me like I'm crazy (..I see you...stop that....) it is totally possible. I began by stretching my relaxers to 3 times a year and eventually got down to relaxing my hair only 1 time a year before I decided to give up relaxers altogether.
But won't I have a lot of breakage? How do I make the new growth blend with my relaxed hair?
I was able to resist breakage and tangling by adopting the practices that generally seemed like they were "for natural hair only." Truth is...the tips you find here and elsewhere that are directed to those w/ natural hair can be used and should be used for ladies with relaxed hair as well.
- I deep conditioned my hair twice a week with SoVAiN Deep Moisturizing Conditioner.
- I detangled my hair in the shower underneath running water with my hair COATED in conditioner. I used a seamless comb for easier detangling. Check out my favorite comb here.
- I moisturized and sealed my hair daily. Sometimes twice a day if my hair was especially dry.
- Whenever I pulled my hair in a bun or ponytail, I made sure to wet my hair to make combing easier and apply a good amount of SoVAiN Deep Moisturizing Conditioner. I did not wash the conditioner out. The conditioner, because it lacked chemical fillers and cheap ingredients, would absorb into my hair during the day so I wouldn't have sticky, product build up. The natural ingredients didn't erode my cuticles so my hair wasn't damaged. Leaving the conditioner in my hair helped keep my hair soft and moisturized.
- I used no heat. Heat dries out hair and can cause as much (if not more damage) to hair as relaxers....so I stayed away 99% of the year. I preferred to wear curly styles or buns to protect the moisture in my hair. Bantu twist outs and the chignon became my best friend.
- I used shea butter or SoVAiN Protein Repair Conditioner along with a satin scarf on my edges to get them to lie flat. I applied these products with my handy dandy toothbrush.
- Did I mention I deep conditioned twice a week? That is worth repeating....SUPER important.
- Don't forget protein conditioners. I used SoVAiN Protein Repair Conditioner after every 3rd deep condition.
- I *only* co-washed my hair...shampoo was nowhere to be found in my regimen. At all.