The Ins And Outs Of Relaxer Stretching

I vaguely remember getting my first relaxer. There are some parts of that memory that I no longer have but I do remember some things. I remember that my mom, sister, and I got ours all on the same day, who the stylist was, how old I was, how I felt when the relaxer was applied, and when I saw the results. Additionally one of the only things I remember the stylist telling us when it came to caring for our hair was to get a touch-up every six weeks.

For several years after that, we religiously would go to the salon about every six weeks to get our touch-ups. Once I got my first job in high school my mom had me start paying for and setting my own relaxer touch-up appointments. This resulted in me going whenever I felt like it and could afford it. So every now and then I would go every six weeks, most times I would go nine plus weeks.

Little did I know was that by getting my touchups every nine weeks or more I had started doing something that was good for my hair and wasn't talked about.

Another Post About Relaxer Stretching...Or is it? | A Relaxed Gal
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So what was I doing? I was stretching my relaxers.

So what is relaxer stretching?

Simply put, relaxer stretching is going more than six weeks between relaxer touch-ups. I tend to stretch my relaxers for a minimum of 12 weeks.

Relaxer stretching isn't something I had ever heard of before and wouldn't hear until I started my healthy hair journey in 2014. Because when I first got my relaxer stylists and even hair experts in magazines were always touting the six-week rule. Now that has been debunked and I've seen stylists on Instagram and in articles saying that you should go longer than six weeks.

The benefits of relaxer stretching

When you stretch your relaxers you have more new growth which makes it easier to see where the line of demarcation is which is the line between the relaxed hair and natural new growth.  So it's clear how much hair is natural and should be relaxed which minimizes the potential for applying relaxer to already relaxed hair. This is called relaxer overlap and it can weaken your hair strands even more resulting in breakage and thinner hair.

The downsides of relaxer stretching

You do have to be careful with stretching your relaxer though. If you stretch for too long you may negate the benefits that come from it and cause more harm than good to your hair. I've seen stories about women stretching several months and having lots of breakage and dryness with their hair. 

How to relaxer stretch

If you want to stretch your relaxer it can be helpful to do it strategically and slowly. What I mean by that is to have a target goal in the number of weeks you want to stretch and then slowly work towards that number by adding a week at a time. This will help you not feel overwhelmed and get to know your hair better. Plus, you'll be able to tell what is the maximum amount of time you can stretch your relaxer without causing damage. 

I've been able to stretch my relaxer up to 18 weeks but my personal preference is about 12 weeks. I have enough new growth to avoid overlapping but my hair is still manageable and I don't see any crazy amounts of breakage.

One thing that was helpful for me when I started to purposefully relaxer stretch was reading articles and watching videos to see how others were stretching their relaxers and what tips they had to share.

So instead of regurgitating more information that is already out there on the web, I'm going to share some of my favorite articles and videos on relaxer stretching along with some of my own tips. Enjoy!

A Relaxed Gal: 10 Tips For Successful Relaxer Stretching

A Relaxed Gal: How I Manage My New Growth During Relaxer Stretches

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