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.
Happy Thursday lovelies!!
I hope you're having a happy and productive day so far. This post was inspired .by a question I saw recently on LCHF about stretching...and my general lack of discussion about stretching even though I post about my own trials and tribulations regarding stretching. Honestly, styling your hair and the benefits of stretching are the focus of most stretching posts while caring for your new growth and dealing with the frustration that is stretching is primarily overlooked. Yes stretching is great and everyone should do it but try tell that to someone who is used to relaxing every 4 weeks...you gotta be prepared to tell them how to deal.
Well, I'm going to remedy that. I'm going to try and address one of the most basic of stretching concerns: dry, puffy new growth.
Personally, I am a long term stretcher. I never intended to be...I just lose track of when I had my last relaxer and when I look up, I realize my last relaxer was months ago. I typically relax at 20 weeks and my hair has thrived. Contrary to the myth, no your hair will NOT break off if you don't adhere to a rigid every 6 to 8 weeks relaxer schedule. However, your hair will break off if you don't care for it.
Every stretcher can attest that when the new growth comes in, it's pretty dry. Keeping your hair, especially your new growth, moisturized is essential to a successful stretch. How do you do that? What products do you use? How do you know it's working?
What products do you use?
The deeper you get in your stretch, the more you need to incorporate super moisturizing products-starting with your shampoo. The deeper I get into my stretches, the more I begin to reach for the products whose sole purpose is giving moisture. Choose a moisturizing, sulfate free shampoo (Elasta QP Creme Conditioning shampoo and Shea Moisture Moisture Retention shampoo are my picks) and follow up with a moisturizing DC (ORS Hair Repair, Silicon Mix, and Aubrey Organics White Camilla are all good picks). It is also great to have a good moisturizer (Darcy Botanicals and Qhemet Biologics AOHC are great choices) handy.
What's the technique?
For a successful stretch (especially for newbies), I think it's important to approach this whole moisturizing thing as something that needs to be done throughout your regimen rather than thinking you need to moisturize at one step, post wash. Additionally, long stretches really require special (almost obsessive) focus on the new growth. If you start with a sulfate free shampoo, you are cleaning your hair (new growth included) without stripping your hair of the moisture it needs-which is a good thing and a great starting point for your stretching regimen. The next step in keeping your new growth moisturized and happy lies in a moisturizing DC. It is important to apply this DC directly to your new growth (yes, this takes a little bit of time to do. Having a moisturizing DC will not help if you are only applying it to the length of your hair. Finally, if you choose to use a moisturizer, it needs to be applied directly to your new growth as well. I've found that when stretching, you really have to pay attention to and baby your new growth. You can't just slap on a product to the length of your hair and think everything is going to be all right. On the contrary, you will have a big ol' mess and will want to run for the relaxer the first chance you get.
How do you know it's working?
It's pretty easy to determine the success of your moisturizing technique. When my new growth is well moisturized, my new growth takes on its natural curl pattern instead of being puffy. It also feels moisturized (instead of dry) and is easier to comb through (should the need to comb arise).
Those are my tips for upping your moisture game during the deepest of stretches. Is there a point I missed? If so, let me know in the comments below!