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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let Me Show You How To Stretch: Taming the Beast

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 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 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.


  1. Just in time because I am officially doing my first stretch! I'm hooked! Great tips keep em coming....

    1. I certainly will! Thanks for reading! :)

  2. Hi there, been following you blog for sometime now thanks for the time and effort. I have a question do you M and S every day when youre stretching? sorry for any mistake first language its portuguese.

    1. Hi! I don't moisturize and seal every day during my stretch. I find that a good DC session during my weekly hair washing session is sufficient for my hair.

  3. NIce tips!!! I just completed a 53wk stretch (no extensions no weaves) that ended may 27, 2012... I am on my second yr long stretch (14wks post this coming Sunday) and you are sooo right... Wash, treat, style and leave it alone worked wonderfully for me... I was going to stretch longer but I began to miss my hair when the weather started to get hot...

    1. 53 weeks!! That is awesome! :D

      Leaving your hair alone is probably the best stretching tip that I can think of. In my experience, those who have issues with stretching are typically in their hair more.

  4. Hmm, so you just don't worry about putting things on the roots (like JBCO), because you aren't disturbing them at all during the week, huh? I don't like to comb frequently either, but around 14-15 weeks, I start thinking I need to something to the roots. Maybe it's just paranoia. Leaving the roots alone doesn't seem to have hurt you a bit, I'll try to keep my hands,combs, and overly wet moisturizers alone next stretch.

    Life in a Shoe

    1. Yep. I pretty much get moisture to my hair (and roots...esp my roots) on wash day. I avoid doing mid-week moisturizing sessions because it can be too much manipulation for my hair. However, my hair gets all the moisture it needs every wash day so I rarely ever see the need to moisturize during the week.