Relaxer Stretching, Shrinkage, Transitioning Talk

My 3 “Game Changers” and How Shrinkage Is A Liar

Am I going natural or will I eventually end my relaxer stretch? I’m not sure yet. I made the decision to put off relaxing my hair because I am considering going natural to support my mother (who is natural but doesn’t believe she can achieve long hair). I’m the queen of indecisiveness so it’s no surprise that I am still on the fence. Stretching my relaxer hasn’t caused any issues (so far) so I’m just going with the flow until I make my mind up. Oh, and I think it’s so cute that my mother is just over the moon that I am sincere about possibly going natural for her. Way to take me at my word Mom, haha.

While we’re on the topic of relaxer stretching… I most certainly have multiple textures growing out of my scalp. The loosest texture is located at my crown and moving outward from there, the curls tighten. The tightest curls are at my edges and then my nape. Whenever I detangle, I always get distracted by my shrinkage at my nape because it’s so deceiving.

“Game Changers” Stretching for this long has made me wonder about just what has made such a difference in my routine that I’ve been able to make it to 8 months. Here are the “game changers” I think have beeen the most helpful:

1. Keeping my new growth stretched

This change in my regimen is the one that has made the biggest difference. In the past I would abandon my attempts to extend my stretches because the tangles drove me up a wall. Thankfully, I’ve been able to stay away from the walls this time around by keeping my new growth stretched.

Even though it takes me a bit longer to detangle and stretch my new growth using the tension method, it is time well spent. Stretching my new growth drastically reduces the number of tangles because it prevents my new growth from wrapping around each other.

2. Moisture, moisture, moisture with protein to prevent moisture overload

As you’ve most likely heard, maintaining your hair’s moisture/protein balance is very important. There is no set ratio of moisture to protein use . . . it would be amazing if there were! What works best for my hair is focusing on moisture with a bit of protein to prevent moisture overload. As you’ve noticed from my wash day posts, I deep condition with a moisturizing deep conditioner weekly. I often deep condition a second time during the week. If I don’t, I moisturize and seal almost daily.Some faves:

3. Tackle tangles at every step

“Begin with the end in mind” — that’s the best way to summarize my approach when it comes to tangles. Working to both loosen tangles and avoid causing new ones at every step means I have less tangles to deal with when it’s time to detangle than if I simply went through my wash day and then detangled.

A few examples of how:

  • Before washing/pre-pooing: Use oil or conditioner to finger-comb out any knots or tanles, as well as remove shed hairs.
  • While washing: Wash hair in sections (I use either 4 or 6 sections). Check out this video on a couple ways to shampoo your hair to prevent excessive tangles.
  • Deep conditioning: Use a deep conditioner that penetrates into the hair shaft, softens, and detangles.