For those unfamiliar with the term, stretching your relaxer time means prolonging the time between your relaxer. The recommended time is six to eight weeks – anything longer than that would be considered a stretch.
The greatest benefit of stretching relaxers is avoiding overlapping – when you relax previously relaxed hair. When you stretch your relaxer, there is a distinct line between regrowth and previously relaxed hair, making it easier to apply the relaxer creme. No overlapping means less thinning and breakage.
TIP: If your scalp starts burning while relaxing before the recommended processing time has lapsed, you need to rinse the relaxer off immediately and apply shampoo and conditioner. Relaxers don’t have to burn to be effective.
Here are some tips to help you stretch your relaxer:
- Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle: Detangling the hair when stetching relaxers is probably the biggest challenge because of the different textures. When detangling, divide the hair into about six sections, then use a wide-toothed comb. It will easily and gently move through the regrowth without breaking your hair.
- Deep-condition: A monthly protein or moisture treatment is essential to keep your hair nourished and strong.
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- Use protective hairstyles: Protective hairstyles such as braids, cornrows and weaves can make the stretch easier. Whatever hairstyle you choose, however, you need to take care of it the same way you would if it were your natural hair. If you neglect your hairstyle, your hair will break and thin once you change it. Keep it clean and moisturised so that the hair underneath is healthy.
- Moisturise: Keeping your hair moisturised will ensure the regrowth is always soft and nourished. When moisturising the hair, use a leave-in conditioner and follow this with an oil or butter to seal the moisture. I also recommend you keep the “line of demarcation” moisturised – this is where your regrowth meets previously relaxed hair – it’s a weak spot.
- Use a satin scarf: I know satin scarves aren’t the sexiest and they also tend to fall off during the night, but they are the best protection for your hair when you’re sleeping. Alernatively, get yourself a satin pillowcase to prevent breakage as a result of friction.