Healthy Hair: Stretching your Relaxers

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In the midst of all the natural hair madness going on lately the use of relaxers is being stigmatized more than ever now.  Ladies have been breaking free from the “creamy crack” and trading in their bone straight hair for their natural kinks and coils in hopes of a healthier, stronger and maybe longer mane.  I applaud the ladies who have made the natural hair jump but for some of us that leap isn’t so practical right now.  So I’m here to offer a couple tips for the relaxed heads out there who want to whip their luscious locks like Willow!

A lot of women believe you can’t have long, strong, healthy hair while using relaxers.  That’s not entirely true.  You can experience breakage, thinning or hair loss while using relaxers but you can also have healthy hair. The trick is learning how to relax properly.  There are so many mistakes women make while using relaxers but one of the biggest is getting a touch up too soon and too often. The general rule of thumb is to relax every 3-4 weeks or as new growth appears but that couldn’t be more dangerous.  DO NOT RELAX THAT OFTEN! It is a huge no no!

If you relax that often, chances are you’ll end up overlapping your perm and causing major damage.  Relaxer overlapping is when you relax hair that has already been permed.  Once you relax your hair it is forever relaxed until you cut it (hence the need for the big chop to become natural).  Adding more relaxer to hair that has already been processed will further weaken your hair and cause major breakage.  It’s simply too much stress on your strands.

A great way to avoid overlapping is to practice relaxer stretching! It’s healthier for your hair and will save you some money in the long run too.  Instead of rushing into the shop for a touch up every month or so start going less often.  The best way to start stretching your relaxers is to increase your stretches by a week with every touch up.  For instance, if you relax every 4 weeks after your next touch up try stretching your relaxers for 5 weeks.  Gradually add a week with every touch up until you feel comfortable.  I usually stretch my relaxers for about 6 months.  I get a touch up around November and then wait until around May (or maybe later) before I relax again.

This method is pretty easy but it does require a bit of work.  But then again, achieving long, healthy hair at any state takes a bit of elbow grease! While stretching your relaxers you will have to deal with your new growth more often and for longer amounts of time.  It’s no easy chore.  Trust me.  But the reward is definitely worth it!