*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:
- by eight weeks post my hair does not feel "slippery" or smooth and lubricated after deep conditioning.
- 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.