My name is now Miss Indecision as I have gone back and forth about continuing my stretch for the past few weeks. To be honest it has been a struggle for me and I actually sit down and weigh the pros and cons of stretching and relaxing every 8 weeks. I know why stretching is important: it prevents the creation of too many weak points along the hair strand and it prevents thin ends due to relaxer run-off.
If I were to relax more often I know I would be creating more weak points along the length of my hair but there has been many a lady able to grow her hair long, and arguably strong, while relaxing every 6 to 8 weeks. This is a fact. Some have good enough growth after such a short period to enable them to relax that often.
My next concern is thinning ends due to relax run off. I decided to search on the LHCF to see what ladies who are seniors in the hair care world do to protect their ends. I found a thread from 2005 and found some interesting tips.
Besides the usual response of applying oil or conditioner to the ends of the hair, I found the suggestion of applying a layer of petroleum jelly on the ends after applying the relaxer and just prior to rinsing. The reasoning behind it being that it would be difficult to separate the hair while relaxing if you applied it beforehand. Another suggestion is the apply neutralising shampoo to the previously relaxed ends. I plan on trying both of these tips. I will apply the neutralising shampoo to my previously relaxed ends while relaxing and then add a layer of petroleum jelly just before rinsing my hair.
Finally, I know I have been going back and forth on the issue but it hit me today while reading a post from another relaxed lady. She was talking about styling your hair and enjoying it along the journey rather than waiting until you get to your ultimate goal to then focus on making it cute. It resonated with me because I am not enjoying my journey and when am I going to start enjoying it? Protective styling is not my issue because I have done so many cute buns and updos and I feel like I enjoy my hair when it is able to be coiffed. However, since this year began and my growth rate increased I have begun to feel like my hair is no longer attractive past 6 weeks post. I have difficulty getting my new growth to lay down and as I don't intend to fight with my new growth so I let it win and do whatever it wants. My new growth seems thicker than ever and I am ashamed to admit it, but I leave the house sometimes looking a bit unkempt. That's not fun and I am tired of it. Hair should be enjoyed and I am not enjoying it. It requires so much of my time, money and effort that I should be reaping the results. I don't just want long hair, I want long, attractive hair.
So my stretch ends this week. I will be relaxing this Thursday at 9 weeks post and 8 weeks post relaxer thereafter. Time to enjoy my hair. This is my final decision. Next blog post will be my relaxer progress pics, I promise.