Managing Two Textures
Benefits aside, it was a nightmare. I was still fully relaxed at that point, but I was not prepared for just how much work managing two textures would take. Plus I had gotten used to wearing straight styles all of the time and protective styling just wasn’t a thing for me.
I quickly found that what I was doing would not work for long term stretching. In fact, the key to successful stretching is the exact opposite so you should opt for more textured styles.
Now that I stretch quite regularly I’ve found that my favorite benefit is the increased length retention I’ve come to see as a result.
Other ways that ladies have found to manage the two textures while stretching is roller setting, braid outs, perm rod sets or any other style that help you blend the two textures.
Another good idea is to air dry your hair with a scarf to flatten your edges, this gives you a neat look so you can continue to rock sleek buns, ponytails or half up half down styles deep into your stretch.
Why Stretches Work For Length Retention
If done correctly, length retention is definitely one of the great benefits of stretching. Why? Well, if you look closely at the way you treat your hair during stretches you will find your answer.
Your hair is more susceptible to breakage during a stretch because among other things you are dealing with two very different textures. These two textures need different things and are most sensitive in the spot where they meet, the line of demarcation.
To combat this a lot of women turn to more deep conditioning*, more moisturizing and more protective styling during their stretches. These things are not only useful during a stretch, but also form the basics of healthy hair care. And as we know, healthy hair leads to longer hair.
However, what’s longer hair without its partner in crime: thickness? Relaxer stretches also make for thicker hair but for more for a mechanical reason.
Waiting longer means more new growth to deal with so when you (or your stylist) is applying your relaxer you can apply it just to your roots as the difference in textures will be more visible.
This of course prevents overlapping (treating already processed hair). Overlapping is a contributing factor to why relaxed hair becomes weaker and thinner over time aka; the main culprit behind breakage.
The most important thing to remember about stretching your relaxers is to listen to your hair. For some people a stretch means going 10 weeks instead of 8. Others can go 24 weeks and only relax twice a year.
Remember that you want to maximize the benefits of your stretches without causing your hair undue damage so increase the time between touch ups by a week or two each time until you find your perfect number of week.
Some signs that you have gone too far are uncontrollable shedding and/or breakage. Having a setback is the exact opposite of what stretching is meant to do and only you know your own limits so don’t overdo it.