How to Stretch Relaxers Successfully
The price that women must pay for beauty sometimes is enormous. Yet, women cannot fight the urges to perm, die, and fry at every chance they can get. As knowledge is increased, ladies who often relax their hair have come to realize that less is more. The less you relax your hair, the healthier your hair can be. The stretching of relaxers has many benefits and has been found to help women to realize healthier and thicker locks. To stretch a relaxer means to go beyond the time that is considered to be normal, which is usually anywhere from 4-8 weeks. So your stretch may begin at about the 8th week post relaxer. One of the benefits of stretching is to avoid overlapping, applying new relaxer on already relaxed hair. This process can very easily take place, if you are not careful when applying the chemical. If you practice stretching, most likely overlapping will not be much of an issue, because there is so much more new growth to cover, and the line of demarcation, (where the relaxed hair and natural hair meet) is very clear. But the dilemma of not being able to manage tangles or new growth exists. There is also the issue of finding the right styles during stretching. These practical tips should be of some help in maintaining healthy hair while stretching, and give tips on how to get through the stretching process.
The first thing to remember when stretching relaxers is to keep your hair moisturized. Moisture plays a big role in stretching as the new growth tends to get dry and sometimes brittle. Many people find natural oils to work best. Particularly, coconut oils contain properties that soften the new growth, hence making it more manageable. Mainly coconut oil has softening and moisturizing properties that allow your new growth to appear more like the relaxed hair. It also promotes healthy hair in general. Purchase coconut oil in its purest form-100 %. Massage some into the scalp and also apply it directly to the new growth to make it more manageable. You may also use other moisturizers to achieve more manageable hair, and follow up with an oil to seal. This will ensure moisture and help keep hair looking and feeling its best while stretching.
Co washing is another tactic many women use to stretch relaxers successfully. When you cowash, washing with conditioner only, you are keeping moisture locked in your hair, and avoiding stripping your hair of its oils during the shampooing process. Co washing is said to soften the new growth and help to keep it more manageable.
Use a wide tooth comb to detangle, as well as a good detangling shampoo. Be careful not to manipulate your hair too much while stretching, as this can cause breakage as well, especially in the roots. Use a leave in conditioner to keep the hair constantly nourished.
Protective styles are suggested when stretching. Buns, ponytails, braids, and roller sets are some suggestions. Be careful not to get braids too tight, as that can only add tension leading to breakage. Some women opt to “hide” their hair under a wig or a weave. Just keep the hair well moisturized and deep conditioned underneath.
Deep condition your hair to keep it strong and healthy. Many women experience breakage during stretching attempts. Why? Because they don’t care for the more fragile hair, (relaxed hair) and it tends to break at that demarcation line. They treat it as if they are natural and not relaxed, when in reality they are at a higher risk of breakage, because the strong hair is putting strain on the relaxed ends. Basically, the deep conditioning process helps the entire head of hair to remain strong and revitalized. A good protein based deep conditioner should be done about once monthly to increase strength. Be careful not to overdo it with the protein, as protein, in excessive amounts, can cause severe breakage.
Realize your breaking point and listen to your hair. If your hair starts to break or shed excessively and you have applied all of the proper care procedures, it may be time to stop stretching and relax. You may want to ease into stretching. Try increasing the stretch by a week or two each time, and eventual ly, your hair should be somewhat trained to be stretched. Know your limits. Journaling and recording your stretching results can be of great benefit to you. Figure out which products are best for you and make a note of them in your hair journal. Take pictures of your hair to add to your journaling.
Stretching is a great way to realize healthy and thicker hair. The essential thing here is to realize that your hair has its limits and you must know them. You can only enjoy the benefits of stretching when your hair is properly cared for. Happy hair growing!