After struggling with retaining length for over two years, I finally saw success thanks to all of your invaluable suggestions. It really helped to get me in gear and focused on these last two relaxer stretches. After cutting about three inches in October 2015, I was able to gain it all back (see: last length check). And now I plan to continue implementing what I learned, because it worked. Even though I already did a thorough post and video on the subject of how to stretch your relaxer for 12 weeks or more, here are my top 5 most effective tactics to retaining length while on a relaxer stretch.
A seamless wide tooth comb is great to have for obvious reason. Try stretching your relaxers without one and you will quickly regret it. If detangling has never been an issue for you then you may not be concerned with this next tip. But once my new growth gets to be about an inch, I’m looking for all the help I can get. Using hair products with slip when I am in need of a good detangling session can make all the difference in how long it takes to detangle and whether I get stressed throughout the process (here are some of my favorite slippery products). Now using protein on the ends/length of my hair wasn’t an obvious tactic for me. I know my hair needs protein, but I never considered that my ends/the bottom half of my hair needed more. But the fact that adding this step into my routine dramatically slowed down the thinning of my ends is not lost on me. I will be doing this “protein layering” forever more (Thanks, Yahya and Nadege). The fourth tip of having 2-3 go-to low manipulation styles was more of a personal tactic that got me through the monotony of stretching. My main styling option is a bun, but wearing a bun for months and months and months would wear on anybody. So being able to break it up with a roller set here and a flexi rod set there helped to boost my moral as the weeks went by. Now when it comes to my new growth, my relaxed hair and the point where they meet, I need my hair to be elastic, which typically means more moisture. I take care not to over do it, but deep conditioning, co-washing and/or thoroughly moisturizing and sealing every 3 to 5 days helps to keep my hair moisturized and elastic (major key🔑).
All of these tactics work towards the same goal of fighting a girl’s worst hair enemy — breakage! Despite all the great things that come from stretching our relaxers, we are making our hair more vulnerable to breakage when we do it. However, using these five tactics together we all can retain length while stretching our relaxers.