Tired of relaxed hair breaking off while stretching your relaxer? You are not alone, thus this blog post is for you.
What is Relaxer Stretching?
Relaxer stretching, or stretching your relaxer, simply means to extend the timeframe between your touch-ups which minimizes the potential for overlapping which leads to overprocessing.
What is Overlapping?
Overlapping occurs when the relaxer is applied to previously relaxed hair. When this happens, the previously relaxed hair becomes overprocessed and we all know what happens to overprocessed hair — it becomes fragile and eventually breaks even with your best effort to strengthen the hair with protein treatments.
My Relaxer Touch-Up Interval?
Most of my relaxed hair journey has been spent getting touch-ups every 10 to 12 weeks. Prior to become a DIYer for all things hair care (excluding relaxer touch-ups), I was getting touch-ups every 6 to 8 weeks. Oddly enough, I did not feel my hair was overprocessed or fragile at that time. However, now that I understand healthy hair care, relaxing at 6 to 8 weeks is not ideal, unless you have a lot of new growth present.
A Moment In History!
Can you believe I use to relax my hair every 4 weeks at one point in time way, way, WAY back in the day? I also use to overlap my hair excessively and the leave the relaxer on for well over the recommended timeframe. Now looking back, I am surprised I had hair. I do believe the mild nature of the box relaxer I was using worked to my advantage. My hair was super thick and long despite my poor techniques. I DO NOT advise or recommend you do any of what I stated in this paragraph. I was just sharing a moment of foolishness from the past.
When Should I End My Stretch?
The answer to this question can be an entire new blog post by itself but in short, you can end your stretch at any interval that you desire. However, a stretch should be ended when you are unable to successfully continue your stretch without excessive dryness and breakage and you have a reasonable amount of new growth present.
How Much New Growth Is Enough?
Rather than quoting a specific number of weeks like I use to, I now suggest ending your stretch when you have enough new growth present to minimize and/or avoid overlapping. This interval comes at different times for different people based on their growth rate. My growth is roughly 1/2″ per month so ending my stretches at 10 to 12 weeks would put with me about 1″ or 1.5″ worth of new growth. Many recommend relaxing when you have at least 3″ of new growth present to lessen the probability of overlapping and I now agree. While my hair did well with relaxing at 10 to 12 weeks, extending the timeframes between touch-ups would have helped my hair a great deal, especially in the areas of relaxer runoff.
Related Article: Relaxer Run Off: The Silent Killer
Tips for Stretching Your Relaxer
I am excited to share my recipe for a successful relaxer stretch that I have packaged together to be 15 Tips to Stretch Relaxers without Breakage. I am currently 15 months post relaxer and have used these tips throughout my relaxer stretch. I also have included a pin for your Pinterest board so you can refer back to these tips for stretching your relaxer at your convenience.
Successfully Stretch Your Relaxer [VIDEO]
PIN TO PINTEREST!!