Live Your Most Beautiful Life
Off the the stretching finish line! For the last relaxer, I stretched 15 weeks. For this relaxer, I'm pushing it for a week more (16 weeks). It may just be an additional week of stretching, but I believe in taking it week by week when it comes to adding on stretching time. That way, I slowly evolve with learning how to take care of additional new growth over time.
I have to pat myself on the back with this one: By Valentine's Day week, I will have reached four months of stretching my relaxer. Close to half a year of stretching. Plus, I can still wear my hair down and still get that "swing" action going without dealing with abnormal breakage or shedding.
Stretching this long, however, doesn't come without some type of major adjustments. I am increasing my dedication to working out this year, and my roots immediately thicken up and poof out after an intense workout. As a result, I can't just pull down my ponytail after a workout like I can after a fresh relaxer and transition into a loose, hanging hair style. I have to pin it up in some way until I can get around to washing my hair in the next day or two. Some people in such a situation opt for co-washing, but I caution against doing that if you truly want to clean your scalp and have healthy hair. Conditioners are not designed to actually get your scalp clean, so if you work out a lot, your hair will be a lot healthier if you opt for a less harsh shampoo and cleanse your scalp well.
By the way - even if you don't care for a loose hanging hairstyle during your stretch (protective styles are always encouraged if you are stretching for a long time anyway), you still want to wash your hair according to how often you work out. If you do intense cardio workouts 4-5 times per week, you may want to opt for washing your hair 2-3 times per week during your stretch. Otherwise, your scalp can accumulate "build up" over time and compromise the health of your scalp and hair.
If I have an intense cardio workout one night and I wore my hair down earlier that day, I know that I will have to pin it up the next day if I don't plan to wash my hair that night. However, I don't like going too many days of not washing my hair (especially if I work out a lot), so I carve out time between workouts throughout the week to shampoo/condition/deep condition my hair. Ultimately, the stretching process and working out don't exactly fall beautifully in sync, so it really comes down to how your schedule works out and where you can fit in time to really take care of your hair. I can understand why some women would cave at this point and just relax their hair to make the hair management process a whole lot easier. However, I refuse to cave under "stretching pressure." I'll continue pressing toward the goal I've set, and then start the next stretch (which will be a little bit longer than this one).
I will do another journal post before my next relaxer in a few weeks and post some pre-relaxer pics. Till next time! :)
-Written by: Kris