I can stretch my hair relaxer time for up to a year comfortably. On a regular basis, I relax my hair twice per year, that’s every six months, and I know that I am not unique in this regard. There are many ladies who know how to handle their two textures comfortably and have managed to avoid breaking or shedding hair even though they are so far post relaxing. There are advantages to wearing both hair textures for such a long time, the hair is thicker and stronger when you finally relax up to the root area and there is a clear demarcation line between your curly hair and your straight hair. So how do the ‘twice per year’ ladies do it without getting severe hair breakage and shedding? They do not manipulate their hair very much. I think that’s the major thing. I have never worn a wig or weave, so when I say low manipulation, I am not talking wearing protective styles with wigs or weaves. Here’s what I do:
When the hair is so far past relaxing, we are talking about transitioning hair territory. Usually the natural hair is about three to four inches long, so the key is to get both hair textures moisturized and happy. Happy hair is hair that does not want to weep to the floor.
If you have never waited so long to relax your hair, you should do it in stages and build up to it. If your usual time was every eight weeks, then stretch your time gradually, go to twelve weeks and then on to sixteen and then twenty and so on.
Pre-Shampoo- This stage of hair care is not optional when you are this far post relaxer. Warm your carrier oils and an essential oil and pre-poo hair overnight; allow the oils to seep into both of your hair textures. Especially pay close attention to the hair’s demarcation line. After applying your pre-poo, cover hair with a plastic cap and tie this with your silk wrap and allow the heat generated to give you a good hot oil treatment.
Shampoo- Wash the pre-poo out of your hair in the morning with your sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free shampoo. At this stage in your hair growth, you do not want any chemical laden shampoos around, your hair needs every help with moisture that it can get and most store bought shampoos dry and strip hair. If you want to avoid the battle use the best shampoo you can.
Condition- After shampooing hair, condition with a ‘cone’ and ‘sulfate’ free conditioner. The thing about conditioners with the cones is that though they give the hair great ‘slip’, they are ultimately drying to hair. Any whiff of the word dry is something you want to avoid altogether. If you want to stretch for long periods without hair breakage, avoid conditioners with these chemicals. Another option is to make your own conditioner. (At least you know what is in the conditioner at that time.) Yogurt and shea butter is a good base for creamy deep conditioners. You can build on it with other moisturizing ingredients from there.
Moisturizer: Your moisturizer at this time can be as simple as spraying filtered water with your favorite essential oil on your hair when it feels dry and then sealing with your favorite carrier oil.
Combing/Hair Styles- Use your fingers as much as possible. Reduce “hair-combing” times to once per week. This means that you need to utilize several curly hairstyles to hide your separate textures. Here are some ideas from the article: 3 Ways To Make Relaxed Hair Curly.
Night Time- In the night, cover hair with a satin scarf.
This advice can also be used for people who are transitioning.