I am now 35 weeks along 5 MORE WEEKS TO GO!!!!!
Second picture is primarily because my hair looked a hot mess in the first pic :-/ LOL...anyway on to the topic of this post:
What is "stretching"?
Stretching is distancing the time between each relaxer. I will say pre HHJ, I used to relax my hair every 4 weeks, I thought it was routine to relax your hair once a month. Once I began my HHJ, I began stretching them out to every 20-24 weeks.
Typically you would want to stretch each relaxer out to at LEAST 10-12 weeks...some say 8 but I personally don't see "enough" new growth showing at that time.
Most beginning stretchers, begin by stretching one or two more weeks than usual. For example, if I were to normally relax my hair every 8 weeks, I'd attempt to stretch my next relaxer day to 9 or 10 weeks after that, then 11 or 12...and so forth.
Some call me a "Super Stretcher" because I attempt to only relax my hair 2 or 3 times a year. I would loooove to relax my hair only once a year, during the Summer, but I like to straighten my hair too much for that. Which brings me to the tips when attempting to stretch.
Keep in mind the longer you stretch the more new growth you are accumulating and having to deal with 2 different textures (your natural coils and your relaxed ends).
Because of the difference in protein structure, the new growth being stronger than the relaxed ends, it makes it extremely sensitive to breakage. Learning to carefully manipulate your hair during lengthy stretches is crucial. Which is why I have yet to make it past the 24 week mark, I always seem to get breakage at the very top of my head and in my nape area....I know that I am too rough, heavy handed with my hair...anywho, I am rambling, let me get on to the tips. I feel qualified to offer these tips because I have been stretching for 2 years now, have learned from a few mistakes and still make a few :-/ Don't judge me!lol
Tip 1. MOISTURIZE YOUR NEW GROWTH!!!!
Being on a HHJ we know moisture is important at any rate, relaxed or natural. However keep in mind that these two different hair textures has two different needs. Your new growth, naturally full of protein will require more moisture, while your relaxed ends, whose protein bonds have been altered will require more protein.
Tip 2. WHERE LOW MANIPULATION or PROTECTIVE STYLES!!!
This is my personal downfall! I know at 12-16 weeks post I can probably get away with flat ironing my hair and wearing it straight...but for me to complete that feat at 16 weeks and beyond without experiencing some breakage is probably possible, but I just have yet to find the technique to do so, soooo about 20-24 weeks, I begin planning for a relaxer. The less you manipulate your hair the lower your chances of receiving breakage at the line of demarcation.
Tip 3. DETANGLE IN THE SHOWER.
Its soo much easier...PERIOD!!! TRUST ME!!!!
I would say DC weekly...that does help with moisture, however that contradicts the low manipulation, having to wash (or cowash) your hair weekly. After 20 weeks, I begin stretching my wash/DC days to biweekly, just to further limit the manipulation. Soooo I will just say incorporate more deep conditioning than once a month, it helps add moisture and flexibility in your tresses.
Well those are my top 4! I was trying to think of another to make a TOP 5...but in my personal experience I think this is the best that I have lol. Feel free to drop your advice, tips or questions in the comment section & as always
THANKS FOR READING!!!