The ABC's of relaxer stretching

Relaxer stretching is a term used in the healthy hair world that simply describes the amount of time you take between your relaxer application days.

Ideally this should range from 8-12 weeks, but it really depends on your hair, what your goals are, how much new growth you can handle, etc etc.

I decided to start stretching for 16 weeks and above, because:

(1.) I wanted my hair to get a rest from too much relaxing. Prior to my hair journey, I recall a time when I relaxed my hair 3 times within 2 months. I was getting married and my then hairdresser insisted that my hair needed to be relaxed at least every 4 weeks and also before the wedding to achieve the sleek look. Clearly this was not the case, but somehow I caved in and allowed him to do this to my hair.
Results so far: Yes, my hair has gotten a rest as I have only relaxed twice this year to date

(2.) To achieve healthier looking ends due to less exposure from chemicals.
Results so far: I have not really seen an improvement in the quality of my ends up to date. I still have to dust off my ends every now and then.

(3.) To achieve more thickness.
Results so far: Definitely my hair (especially the last 3-4 inches of my hair) is not thinning out as much as it used to before. See comparison picture below

(4.) To retain more length.
Results so far: I am retaining more length than before, but I think this is more due to the healthy hair care practices which includes less frequent exposure of ends to chemicals such as relaxers.

There are many tips and tricks out there that can help you in stretching your relaxer successfully. Here are a few points:

A lways moisturize and seal properly. When I say properly, this is not the same as when you are 6 weeks post relaxer. I would:
1. Separate my hair into 6 sections
2. Spray each section with abit of water
3. Moisturize my new growth by going in and applying moisturizer to the new growth in smaller sections
4. Moisturize the length of my hair (I used Pura Body MMMM most of the time)
5. Seal BOTH new growth and strands with shea butter or my castor oil mix.
6. On wash days I would detangle twice thoroughly: During the pre-poo step and when I would apply my leave-in conditioners.

See this video which shows how to moisturize that new growth proper!

B reak the protective style routine. My hair was in wigs, and flat twists most of the time during my last stretch. But every now and then I would do something different just to break the routine and feel good. This included flexi rod sets and curlformers. However, this was an exception rather than the norm because curly styles can also be difficult to maintain and detangle when on a long stretch.

C onsistent and continuous hair care is a must. It can get quite difficult when you have to do a 6-hour wash day coz of so much time spent detangling and avoiding knots and tangles. But in the end your hair will thank you for it, especially your new growth. And when you are in a protective style, you don't have to manipulate it that much, if at all. I continued to wash my hair (every 2 weeks because the new growth became a lot to handle), deep condition, moisturize & seal, and minimize manipulation as much as possible.

D o not continue the stretch if you are experiencing breakage at the point where the different textures of your hair meet. Stop, relax, and try to lengthen your stretch next time. 

Sigh, I will leave the list at D today, and will continue the list of ABC's after my next stretch when I get more tips and tricks to help me along my stretch. We are always learning something new after all, isn't it?

Have you been on a long-term relaxer stretch and what was the most important thing you did to have a successful stretch?


  1. I'm 21 weeks post. I mostly rely on protective styling to prevent manipulation. My longest stretch has been 25 weeks, it was rough towards the end. I totally agree with ending ones stretch when it becomes too much

    1. Congratulations for reaching 21 weeks! I hope this one will be smooth sailing :-)

    2. And thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Hi Becca! I have been seeing you on lots of people's comments so I thought I should come over and show your blog some love! I was a subscriber by the time you said you are from Kenya (you had me at Kenya lol)

    ok so I just watched that video and It really helped me. I think I learnt how to target the new growth with my moisturiser. So next time I should handle my stretch much better.

    Last year I was going crazy with the stretches - I even did a 7 month stretch one time. This year I said I would only be doing 4 month stetches but no - 5 months every time! very frustrating!

    I love this ABC list that you have. Always moisturise and seal, Break the protective style routine,
    Consistent and continuous care and finally Dont ignore your hair stop and relax if its starting to rebel.

    I have to say that the first Time I did a long stretch the difference in my hair was HUGE! I had so much volume. My hair was so much thicker as a result. I don't know what causes that...

    Oh Becca - are you texlaxed?

    1. oh wow!!! Thanks Kangopie for showing my blog LOTS of love! This is the longest comment I have received to date :-)

      that video is where I learnt not to be shy in moisturizing my new growth as much as is needed.. Try it out and see if it helps a tad bit..

      Please leave a link to your blog in case I have not stumbled upon it as yet. Thanks for sharing your experience Kangopie! And yes I am transitioning to texlax, I still have about 3 inches of bone straight ends.

    2. Yay! almost done! transitioning to Texlax is very difficult coz you have to deal with three textures.

      my blog is come over and say hey!


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