Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Healthy Hair Practices: Stretching Relaxers

Hello everyone,
Today I want to focus on relaxed hair and shed some light on one of the most important practices that contributes to healthy relaxed (bone straight or texturized) hair.

What does it mean to stretch your relaxer?
Traditionally hair stylists have encouraged women to relax their hair every 4 to 6 weeks. Stretching your relaxer means lengthening the period between your touch ups, so instead of 4 to 6 weeks, you wait for 8 to 10 weeks or more.

Why stretch your relaxer?

-To prevent over lapping
Hair grows on average  half an inch per month. When touching up a relaxer, chemical is supposed to be applied to the new growth but if there is only half inch of curly new growth it becomes very difficult to prevent relaxer from getting on the already relaxed hair. This results in overlapping the relaxer which causes the hair to become over processed, brittle and prone to breakage.

-To give your scalp a break from harsh chemicals

-To give you enough time to treat the hair and strengthen it before the next chemical application.

Risk associated with stretching relaxers
The line of demarcation is where the relaxed hair meets the natural new growth, this area is the weakest point on the strand and can easily be broken. If you are not planning to following all or most of the tips below, it is better to stick with the traditional 4-6 week intervals for relaxing. You will do more harm than good if you stretch your relaxer without taking proper care of your hair.

Tips for stretching relaxers

1. Never allow your new growth to curl up.
You must always allow your new growth to dry in a stretched state. This can be done by drying in 6 to 8 ponytails, bantu knots, braids, canerows. All of these styles pull the roots straight, remember this is to be done while the roots are wet so that it dries stretched.

2. Keep the new growth moisturized
Deep conditioning and moisturizing with a spray containing glycerine helps to moisturize the new growth. Many long term stretchers use 'S-curl' spray on the roots (only the roots) every night, then pull the hair into a stretched state (using one of the above methods) and allow it to dry overnight.  Please note this spray is to be used on the roots only, not on the relaxed hair and it can cause the hair to become too soft.

3. WIDE tooth combs ONLY
When stretching your relaxer it is not advisable to use fine tooth combs to comb through your tightly curled new growth, that's just asking for breakage

4. Protein
Protein is very important as it helps strengthen the strands. Get protein by deep conditioning and also by using a leave in with protein on your relaxed hair.

5, Stretch Gradually
Gradually increase your stretching period to get your hair accustomed to stretching and for you to master the different techniques. If you currently relax every 6 weeks, then try for 7 the next time, then for 8 and continue to build up to an interval you are satisfied with. I think 10-12 weeks is good for bone straight relaxed hair. Texturized ladies can stretch a bit longer because their line of demarcation is not as fragile. I texturize my hair every 6 months.

6. Low Manipulation
Try to comb your hair once a week for the most, at 8 weeks post relaxer is not the time to comb through your hair every day. Instead, opt for low manipulation styles like updo's, roller sets, braid outs, bantu knot outs. Try banana clips instead of ponytails that leave a big 'hump' at the top of your head. Some people use braids and weaves but be careful with this as the weight of the synthetic hair can put stress on the fragile line of demarcation. Also remember to continue to spray your hair with a good leave-in conditioner containing protein while its in the braids/ weave

Again, while streching the hair is fragile, be gentle and patient while detangling. Try to do this while the hair is wet and full of conditioner. If dry detangling works better for you, be sure to use a detangling spray on the roots.

For more information on stretching relaxers, search it on youtube, there are many ladies with beautiful relaxed hair that share their journey and techniques concerning this practice.

I hope this post was useful, feel free to ask questions.. thanks for reading.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Healthy Hair Styling: Safe Flat Irioning

Hi Guys,

I flat ironed my hair yesterday and I figured that I should do a post on safe flat ironing. It seems that with all the information out there about caring for our hair, heat has become the enemy. I believe that like everything else, heat can be used in moderation without having harmful effects to your hair. Below are some useful tips for flat ironing:

1. Deep Condition for atleast one hour prior to flat ironing. This is important as it infuses moisture and protein into the strands. Curly hair normally reverts when flat ironed because of humidity (moisture in the atmosphere), if your hair is moisturised well, it would not suck moisture from the atmosphere into your hair, thus your press would last longer.

2. Use a liquid leave-in. I have found that cream leave-in conditioners make my hair heavy and limp when I flat iron.

3. Use a heat protectant
A good protectant is absolutely necessary when using heat. Fine strand ladies should use a  liquid and for thicker strands a serum can be used.

4. Try to air dry your hair in braids or blow dry on the cool setting prior to flat ironing
Most people blow dry their hair to prepare for flat ironing. This helps stretch out the curls and makes the press last longer. Instead of blow drying on high heat, a warm or cool temperature can be used along with the tension method. A better alternative is to braid the hair and air dry or sit under a bonnet dryer.

5. Try low manipulation styles on pressed hair.
Twist outs, braid outs, bantu knot outs etc. are great on pressed hair. After wearing a fresh press for about a week, it tends to get a bit heavy and the *swag* is gone. These styles are great as it allows you to wear your press for a longer time. My flat ironed hair can last for about a month. This helps in reducing how often heat is used. I think using heat once a month should be the max. for our hair.

This is a BIG mistake many ladies make. Please do not do this, it is very damaging to our hair. The effect may not be visible immediately but after some time you will get breakage.

7. Use the comb-chase method. This is simply inserting a comb into the root of the section you are ironing, as you move your comb downward, insert the flat iron behind the comb and follow it down to the ends.

8. Be mindful of the thickness of your strands and using the appropriate temperature. Thick strands need a higher temperature 450F is good for this type of hair. Medium hair like mine should be pressed using 400-430 F and fine hair ladies should use a temperature below 400F. This is just a general guideline as curl pattern and general health of the hair must also be considered.

Below are some pictures of my flat iron results, yes I am aware that I am posing like super woman lol, I was just trying to give an idea of where my natural waist is ;)

freshly washed and deep conditioned hair

Blown out on low heat using tension method

I hope these tips are useful, thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment and subscribe.



Friday, January 4, 2013

Healthy Hair Styling: Twistouts

Hello Ladies,

A Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all!! Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to read and subscribe. Just wanted to share another one of my staple styles with you.... The Infamous Twistout.

This is another great set which requires little manipulation and can last for about a week. It is achieved by setting the hair in two strand twist, letting it dry completely and then untwisting. The result is very similar to the braidout, however the twist create a 'S' pattern whereas braids create a sharper 'Z' pattern. After wearing a twistout for a couple days, the hair can be pinned up into various updo's.

This set is done using the same method and products as all my other sets. The hair is sprayed with a moisturizing spritz, sealed with my whipped shea butter and set using a gel. I separate my hair into about 12 twist. See pictures below for my results.

These are the twist, they are a bit chunky, if you want a more defined look, do smaller twist.

I use bobby pins the secure the roots of my hair as it tends to get a bit puffy, I also use the scarf to lay down my edges.

Finished Look Below :

I hope that this was useful and that you are encouraged to try the twistout. It really is a great versatile healthy style.

As usual, please feel free to ask questions if anything is unclear.

Thanks for reading and HHJ