Saturday, 24 November 2012

My Stretching issues 8-9 weeks post relaxer


*disclaimer: this is a lengthy Hatter post!*

Okay, now that you're prepared, read on valiant reader!

On my last relaxer stretch I successfully made it to 9 weeks post. *woop woop!*

Ironically, the only other time I successfully stretched that long was earlier this year on my very first relaxer stretch of my hair journey. Since then I've only been able to manage my new growth for about 7-8 weeks before getting fed up and going to the hairdresser.

As I've mentioned before, by the 7-8 week post relaxer mark I usually encounter these issues:

  1. by eight weeks post my hair does not feel "slippery" or smooth and lubricated after deep conditioning. 
  2. detangling after washing and deep conditioning becomes almost a nightmare as breakage, tangling, matting (and tears) increase and rollersets become increasingly difficult.

Although I adapted my regimen slightly during my last stretch to try to deal with these issues, I still encountered similar problems. =(

Some things I thought would have helped:
  •  using diluted moisturizer to hydrate and soften my new growth. (This actually did work! My new growth was as tame as a lamb lol.)
  • more low manipulation and protective styles during the week such as buns and braidouts.
  • I also stopped using combs everyday and decided to finger comb more often. I do think that this contributed to less breakage than I usually experience around 8 weeks post relaxer.
  • I focused on keeping my ends moisturized by generously apply deep conditioner from tip to root, as well as coating my ends with oil at night.
  • I used a heavier protein treatment to deep condition with. 

On my last wash before my relaxer I used the Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise after pre-pooing with the Optimum Care Fortifying Conditioner. I realized that I gave my hair a double shot of protein! That might explain why I still experienced significant breakage on my last wash day. My hair might have gotten too much protein, causing it to snap and break off. 

This is actually ironic as my hair usually loves protein. I guess I messed up my moisture/protein balance that time.

It also didn't help that at 7 weeks post, I failed to detangle properly and as my hair air-dried I got some wicked dreadlocks forming at my roots. (For realz)

I can't understand why my hair gets so tangly and rough after 7 weeks post. Is it that my cuticles remain raised? If so a product like Roux Porosity Control or even an apple cidar vinegar rinse may help to close my cuticles and make my hair smoother and easier to manage.

Or maybe 8-9 weeks post just isn't a viable option for me. I know that the longer I stretch, the healthier my scalp becomes between relaxers, but I really don't want to sacrifice the health of my hair. My hairdresser claimed that the texture of my hair makes it difficult to stretch longer than 8 weeks. Honestly, I think I agree with her. I have a tight curl pattern...picture the thickest,  most dense afro you can imagine...



...yup! That resembles my 4c hair texture.

Can that texture and relaxed hair realistically coexist for an extended period of time? My experiences seem to be telling me no =(

I hate the relaxer process and I really want as few trips to the salon as possible in a year, but the cons have been outweighing the pros of stretching 8 weeks and beyond. The breakage (and tangling in particular!) I experience at 8 weeks post have to stop as I really can't bear to continue dealing with them in the near future.

I'm honestly not looking forward to stretching beyond 8 weeks again, so I think that on my current stretch, my last wash day will be at seven weeks post, then a couple days after that its relaxer time.


Any advice?

~Hatter

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Relaxer Update


On Saturday 3rd November 2012 I had my hair relaxed at the salon at nine weeks post.
The hairdresser used Ultra Precise Relaxer in Mild formula, and again, my results were excellent.

Ultra Precise relaxer in mild strength.


This time the hairdresser didn't base my scalp (eek!) but, gloriously, my scalp hardly got burned by the relaxer (yay!) It's either due to the mild relaxer strength or the fact that my scalp hasn't been very sensitive lately. In fact, I haven't had a flare up of seborrhoeic dermatitis for over a month =)

I'm quite impressed by this relaxer. Compared to the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Relaxer in normal strength, the Precise does not irritate my scalp nearly as much and it gets my hair much straighter. (Maybe this is because I can leave the Precise relaxer in my hair for a longer time? Either way I'm loving it!)

On to the results! Wait! Before you look, can you guess how much length I've retained? =D

~~~~~~~



              
September relaxer results.
My November relaxer results: I'm almost armpit length!!

I'm almost armpit length!! Woooot! APL is my goal for December and I might have one last touch up for the year in late December or I might stretch to early January. Either way it feels thrilling to get closer and closer to the first length goal of my hair journey :)

As I'm sure you can tell, I need a good trim! I tried to trim my hair and it was a failure but I'm determined not to let my hairdresser come near me with scissors. Hopefully doing a thorough dusting of my ends again within the next few weeks will even out their appearance.
    

Celebrations aside, I lost a lot of hair during the relaxer process! On my last wash before relaxer day, I literally just left my hair alone with all its tangles and knots. Consequently, on relaxer day, the dreadlocks that formed at my roots were broken down by the relaxer and combed out:

Hair I lost from matts and tangles being combed out after my relaxer.

My hair doesn't feel much thinner but I can definitely tell that I've had quite some breakage throughout my hair.

Anywhooos, I'm now two weeks post and I had a very good wash day today. I'm glad that, after the hair drama I experienced these past few weeks, my hair still looks modestly healthy.

I can't wait to regain the full health and thickness of my hair! Don't you hate feeling that just when you make progress something happens that puts you two steps back again?

I'm seriously doubting that I'll be stretching to nine weeks again in the near future. My last experience just took too much of a toll on my hair. 

Has anyone had a similar experience? How did you overcome your hair health setbacks?

Much love from
~Hatter


Friday, 9 November 2012

Playing Hairdresser

University girls are on a budget, and that budget doesn't always include the weekly or bi-monthly trip to the hairdresser for a wash and set.

My sister has been learning to deal with this fact by washing and conditioning her hair herself, and then having me rollerset her hair.

That means this Hatter has been the default hairdresser for both me and my sister! lol

Here are some pictures of the rollerset that, yes, I did on my sister's hair!

Front view of the rollerset

Side view of the rollerset

It didn't come out too bad, if I may say so myself!

Maybe I can harness my hairdressing skills and start a business on my hall! 
haha a Hatter can dream =) ...but seriously, who knows?

Goodnight folks.
~Hatter

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Hatter Snap: Braidout Bun

Yesterday's braidout bun.




I slept with my hair in two braids, then in the morning I finger-combed my hair into a top bun. Even though I got really loose waves, I loved the volume I was able to achieve, especially as my hair was just relaxed on Saturday. =)

Protective styling to longer, stronger hair.

Have a happy day peeps.
~Hatter

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Relaxer Preparations



On Saturday 3rd November I had my hair relaxed at 9 weeks, 3 days post. Did you really read that?! Yesss Hatter finally made it to nine weeks post. *happy dance*

My relaxer update will follow in another post, so for now I'll just recap how I prepared my hair for my relaxer.

This stretch was in many ways better than my previous relaxer stretches. Unfortunately, there were still some annoying issues that really tried my patience! (I'll be examining these later this week).

On my last wash before the relaxer I:

1. prepooed overnight with a mix of Soft Sheen Carson Optimum Care Fortifying Conditioner and Vo5 Moisture Milks Moisturizing Conditioner.
(Ebony C. Princess reviewed the Fortifying Conditioner on her blog, longing4length.com) 
After rinsing out the prepoo my hair felt very soft and silky. After I've used the Optimum Care Conditioner for a couple of weeks I'll also post my thoughts on it.

2. shampooed, then deep conditioned for about an hour with ORS Replenishing Condidtioner.

3. rollerset my hair. (this was not an easy set! My hair was still clumpy and sticky from the results of my previous wash day)

4. During the week I moisturized and sealed.

5. On relaxer day I applied some of the Optimum Care Fortifying Conditioner to my previously relaxed hair. As this conditioner is protein-based (claiming "instant breakage reduction"!!) I thought it was a good idea to use it to help prevent the damaging effects of relaxer overlapping.
I was also supposed to coat my hair with oil after applying the conditioner, but I just didn't feel like bothering my hair too much.

As I mentioned earlier, this last stretch was quite an experience for me...although I've been trying to reduce my stretching issues such as tangling, matting and breakage, I haven't seem to have targeted the root of my problems. Besides changing my products and perhaps my weekly wash day routine, I've even been thinking of reducing the length of my stretches so that I can manage my hair more easily in the weeks leading up to relaxer day.

Anywhoos, what is your experience like deep into your relaxer stretches?

Stay tuned for my relaxer update! :)

Peace & lurrvvv y'all
~Hatter