Traditionally we are told by hair stylists that relaxed hair should be touched up every six weeks. Waiting longer than six weeks however, can drastically improve the health of your hair and scalp. This is referred as “stretching your relaxer”. While stretching your relaxer can take some getting used to, there are many benefits. Here’s why you may want to consider stretching your relaxer and how to care for your hair while stretching.
You have more flexibility with your hairstyles. Once you touch up your hair it will be straight but as you stretch the relaxer you will have the chance to try some natural styles if you want without committing to going natural.
It prevents overlapping because the hair is allowed to grow out more and it will be easier to keep the relaxer from getting on the already relaxed hair.
Your scalp gets a break from the harsh chemicals.
You save money
It can potentially lead to longer hair growth
If you decide to stretch your relaxer realize that you will have to change the way you care for your hair or risk hair breakage. The line of demarcation, which is the point where your relaxed hair and new growth meets, is very fragile and prone to breakage. Here are some tips to avoiding breakage at the line of demarcation.
- Never let your new growth curl up. When your hair dries, make sure it dries in a stretched state by braiding it or putting it in multiple small ponytails.
- Keep the new growth moisturized by deep conditioning and using leave in conditioner
- Only use wide tooth combs and refrain from combing your hair in general
- Add products that contain protein to your routine to strengthen your hair and prevent breakage.
- Once you have a very considerable amount of new growth wear low manipulation styles such as twist outs or buns. You can also choose to wear weave or braids.
- Lay off of the heat.
- Be very gentle with your hair especially when you are at the end of your stretch.
Almost treat your hair as if you are transitioning to natural hair. Think the stretched relaxer lifestyle is right for you? Try it! Try to wait a little more than six weeks before your next touch up and feel free to share with me your experience!
Brandi Giles, Editor of Health & Beauty