In the Let Me Show You How To Stretch series, I will not only cover the benefits of stretching but I will cover ways to deal with your hair during the stretch-from moisturizing to general handling to styling.. This series may be extremely beneficial to stretching newbies, those who want to extend their stretch, and those who are considering transitioning.
It's Thursday yet again and I am back with another post in my relaxer stretch series! This post will cover general handling of hair during long relaxer stretches. I have to admit, most (ok, all) of it may sound like common sense BUT I have to emphasize the importance of the tips I am going to mention. Stretching for long periods of time can be frustrating and if you are committed to long term stretching, you need to do everything you can to ensure that it is successful.
Most long term stretchers will tell you that the key to having a long term stretch is basically leaving your hair alone. I have to say that I agree. However, that doesn't mean completely neglect your hair...it just means that you don't need to be in it ALL THE TIME! But what about the times when you are in your hair? What about when you're trying to get your hair to behave? What do you do then? WHAT DO YOU DO!?
During a stretch, the only time I am in my hair is during wash day. Outside of that, my hair is in a set style for a week. However, I still have to deal with my mass of hair on wash day and that can be a chore. Here is what I do during wash day:
1) I do everything in sections.
This is an absolute must for me. At start of my wash, I put my hair into four plaits...and that is how I proceed for the duration. I shampoo in sections, I DC in sections, I detangle in sections. If I don't do this, my hair becomes way too much to deal with too fast.
2) I detangle at every point in the wash that I can.
I had to learn this lesson the hard way. The deeper you are in your stretch the more effort you must make to detangle your hair. I'm talking about detangling from the moment water hits your hair until the moment you have set your style. Otherwise, you could find yourself in the middle of a tangled mess.
If I follow those 2 rules, my wash day is pretty smooth for the most part. However, what about general handling? What about combing? What about slicking your edges down once they start looking natural? No worries. Here are my tips:
Combing: It is a rule of mine during a stretch to not comb my hair if its dry. Therefore, my detangling/combing occurs on wash day. It is a lesson I have been following since childhood and I pass it on to you. You better not try and run a comb through 15 weeks post hair that is dry...you will regret it. However, if you absolutely, positively must comb your hair, try and grab a spray bottle of water or load your hair with moisturizer or a leave in conditioner before you do.
Slicking down hair for buns: This can probably be the most frustrating part of stretching. Everyone's go to hair style for a stretch is a bun. However, getting a slick,sleek, smooth bun at the height of your stretch can be difficult to say the least. However, there is a solution for that...the scarf method. The scarf method has given me the sleekest buns every.
But what about dem edges?
If your edges fight any attempt to be tied down, put some moisturizer, oil, and some Ecostyler Olive Oil Gel on your edges and tie them down with a scarf for about 15min. Your edges never stood a chance.
Other than those key things, I cannot stress enough how important it is to LEAVE YOUR HAIR ALONE!!! Find the style that requires minimal interference from you during the week and call it a day. The more you find yourself in your hair, the more you will battle the new growth and the more frustrated you will be. My rules are simple but they allow me to get through these long stretches without really thinking twice about it. Hopefully, they help you all too! Stay tuned for styles that aid in a successful deep stretch.