Relaxer Update (Nov. ’13) | Tweaking My Regimen

My most recent relaxer stretch ended last week and it was 16 weeks and 5 days of a lot of tender love and care.  I continued with my no heat regimen.  Most of my wash days were supported by ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo, Darcy’s Botanical Pumpkin Seed Conditioner (or L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm) and Darcey’s Botanical Lemongrass Transitioning Creme.  I moisturized my ends through out the weeks with Elasta QP Recovery Moisturizer and I wore my hair in a bun for almost the entire stretch.  When I was not wearing a bun, I wore a medium height ponytail (although I did wear my hair down in a roller set at about 9/10 weeks post relaxer).  With all of that I was surprised to see that my ends were thinning when I flat ironed it three weeks ago — who am I kidding, I was really disappointed.  I thought for sure all my hard work would pay off, but it seems that my recipe for maintaining thicker ends isn’t quite complete.  While my ends are definitely better than they were back in March (see my hair update for comparison pictures), they aren’t as good as I would like.  So, I’m making some more changes to my hair regimen.

Here’s my plan:
Add more oils to my ends throughout the week — I’ve been fighting this moisturizing & sealing thing for my entire hair journey, but I’m finally going to start sealing with an oil after I moisturize.  (So far this stretch, I’ve just been adding oil to my ends because my hair is still straight from relaxer day.)  Also, with the weather cooling down I plan to get back on my hot oil treatments.  I’ll aiming for weekly/bi-weekly hot oil treatments/pre-poos.
More protein to my ends on wash day — I learned from that Relaxed Hair Health blog post that the protein content at the ends of my hair are more depleted than the newer/younger hair closer to my scalp and therefore they need a little more protein.  I’ll start with adding a protein conditioner to my ends bi-weekly and hopefully that doesn’t disrupt my protein moisture balance.  If it does, I’ll pull back to monthly.
Continue Moisturizing through out the week — I started this two relaxers ago and while I don’t do it every single day, I do get around to it several times a week and I think it’s helped me thus far, so I plan to continue.
Shorter relaxer stretches — After a few of you mentioned this to me, I’ve decided that you might be right about this.  I didn’t have so much trouble with thinning ends when I stretched my relaxer for 12/13 weeks at a time.  And lately (since late 2012), I’ve been doing 15-17 week stretches, which seems coincide with the new hair drama.  Therefore, my new plan is to go back to my 12 to 14 week stretches.
And there you have it, for the next 12 weeks, I’ll be implementing these new elements into my healthy hair journey.  Hopefully, my ends will at the very least stay the same.  As you can see from the pictures I did NOT do a major trim–I didn’t have the heart to go back to just above BSL again.  Instead I trimmed one inch from the ends of my hair as I was flat ironing (see video above for demonstration).  I will continue with this method of trimming for my next relaxer as well.  My general plan is to hold tight at MBL until I can get my ends together.  Hopefully that won’t take more than 2 or 3 relaxer stretches.  
What do you think of my plan? 
Those of you who mentioned that you were struggling with thinning ends too, what have you decided to do?

20 Comments


  1. Hi Kim!! Your new plans look great! I'm definitely not into long relaxer stretches; the max I go is 14 weeks.

    I do have a few tips that have benefitted my ends tremendously … So maybe it will help you!

    1. Monitor breakage daily when M&Sing. I M&S in 6 sections and pay very close attention to the breakage I have in each section. My hair is a great gauge at letting me know if something is off or it doesn't like a product because it will start to break!

    2. Consistency. I know a lot of people like to use a lot of products, but once I found a regimen that my hair likes (my current regimen), I stick with it with little deviation! I may try a new product now and then, but I have my regimen basics that I always use.

    3. Protein leave-ins! Since using Carol's Daughter monoi serum and anti-breakage spray … My ends have been transformed! I have very little breakage! I use a light-protein leave-in weekly, but do what works for you!

    4. Is your Elasta QP moisturizer water-based? I have used their products before with ok results. Some of their ingredients wasn't optimal for my hair, so I stopped using them. My moisturizer is Alterna Caviar White Truffle Elixir and boy do I love it!! Helps keep my ends moist and strong!

    5. Coconut oil in pre-poos. Every week. No exceptions!

    6. Roller set weekly. It's a pain in my behind (literally), but my hair just doesn't like being air-dried. I find it breaks more when it's air-dried, for some weird reason. As much as I miss air drying and shorter wash days, I know my hair thrives when it's set and dried.

    7. Use a light sulfate shampoo weekly to remove product buildup. I'm paranoid about product buildup on my hair, so I use a sulfate shampoo as my initial wash, followed by a sulfate-free shampoo ro replenish moisture. I was on the sulfate-free wagon at first, but I saw the devastating impact product build up could have by causing breakage.

    These are just a few tips that have really allowed my ends to resist breakage and keep my hemline full. Hopefully they will help you out' :))


  2. sounds like a great plan to me! what method of moisturizing are you using? maybe a thicker oil or perhaps a butter to seal can help? or layering your products! e.g. LOC, LOCO etc… and how often will you moisturize? also an anti breakage serum could help and i like the idea of you using more protein on your ends. also, maybe another protective style besides buns???


  3. Good plans! I think long stretches can cause more harm than good to some hair types. It is with no doubt good for the scalp but when it comes to the hair it means a lot of detangling, smmothing edges, braiding and i am convinced that is taking its toll on the hair.

    Good luck!


  4. I would have to agree with LaShanda's points and also the points you have raised in your post. Long stretches are really not the best thing to do, and I really do find that air drying tends to dry up my ends and they get week so roller setting is better for me, but yes more work.

    I have never tried the protein leave ins for the ends but that really does sound like it would work really well, I am definitely adding that to my regimen.

    Your hair looks lovely though! Good luck with your 'new' regimen!


  5. Looking good Kim 🙂
    I think I'm going to keep cutting to get rid of my thin ends, they're the bone straight parts I don't want anymore anyway which I've been slow to cut off (even now) because of not wanting to lose length.
    I'm definitely trying adding protein to my ends, I've been majorly slacking with my hair this week, but I'm hoping to do it in between my usual wash days.
    I can never decide with long stretches as some of mine go without a hitch. Then sometimes I get to 3 months and I'm shedding like crazy, my ends are thinner :/. Maybe try a shorter stretch and see how it goes? I'm rambling! Good luck with the regimen 🙂 x


  6. good plan, i plan to relax next week too at 8 weeks instead of 12 because i notice im getting too much breakage. I did a black tea rinse and my hair feels soooo soft.good luck with the plan.


  7. I think your plan sounds great! I've been using the CHI Keratin Leave in as a weekly leave in and have noticed a trememndous difference in the amount of breakage I see. I can't wait for an update!


  8. I definitely retain better by not stretching and think that could be a factor for me also. Why were you trying to avoid sealing after moisturizing? I feel like I never knew that about you?! Anywhoo, your tweaks sound great!


  9. Wow, thanks! You're so thorough and I really appreciate it, LaShonda!

    The Elasta QP Moisturizer is water-based and you can't take it away from me, LOL (I really like it).


  10. Thanks!! I try to moisturize daily, but it only ends up being about every other day. I do use the Elasta QP Anti Breakage Serum every once in a while.


  11. Thanks, Yvonne!

    Roller setting with each wash is just a little bit too much manipulation for me, right now. Once I get my thinning ends under control, I might try them again. But I'm sticking to a few (2-3) roller sets per stretch for now.


  12. Thanks, Lesley! Ramble on! …And good luck with your ends too. There are so many factors to consider, but I'm sure we'll figure this out.


  13. That's the kind of encouraging information I like to hear. I'm glad the the protein leave-in is working for you, Courtnea! I hope that I experience some improvements too. Thanks!


  14. lol, laziness mostly, I guess. Plus I never really got the layering on top of layering approach to the moisturize and seal theory. But I'm growing…I only started moisturizing regularly this year, now look at me. I'm about to start sealing too, lol. Thanks for commenting, Ebony!


  15. Kim I have a question, do you think that the ORS creamy aloe shampoo that you use weekly could be drying out your ends, in my regimen its a strong shampoo, it does leave my hair feeling nice after i use it but it got me wondering, even though you replenish afterwards with a sulfate free shampoo. I have a breakage issue on wash days when I roller set which I am trying to combat but to no avail. I read Nadge blog about extra protein on my ends and tried it sill having breakage but ill continue and see how it works out over time. I wish you best of luck!!!


  16. Your tweaks seen solid! Oh, I've nominated you for the Liebster Award!!!


  17. I really hope not. I've already had one wash day where I pre-pooed with evoo, shampooed with my ORS creamy aloe and applied protein conditioner to my ends. If the ORS is contributing, I hope that the oil pre-poo helps to protect my ends a little better. Thanks for the suggestion. If these new adjustments are working, I might consider going back to my GVP Tea Tree Oil Shampoo instead.

    Thanks, mzddann!

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