Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Game Changers" and Deceiving Shrinkage

Am I going natural or will I eventually end my relaxer stretch? I'm not sure yet. I made the decision to put off relaxing my hair because I am considering going natural to support my mother (who is natural but doesn't believe she can achieve long hair). I'm the queen of indecisiveness so it's no surprise that I am still on the fence. Stretching my relaxer hasn't caused any issues (so far) so I'm just going with the flow until I make my mind up. Oh, and I think it's so cute that my mother is just over the moon that I am sincere about possibly going natural for her. Way to take me at my word Mom, haha.

While we're on the topic of relaxer stretching... I most certainly have multiple textures growing out of my scalp. The loosest texture is located at my crown and moving outward from there, the curls tighten. The tightest curls are at my edges and then my nape. Whenever I detangle, I always get distracted by my shrinkage at my nape because it's so deceiving.


"Game Changers" Stretching for this long has made me wonder about just what has made such a difference in my routine that I've been able to make it to 8 months. Here are the "game changers" I think have beeen the most helpful:

1. Keeping my new growth stretched. This change in my regimen is the one that has made the biggest difference. In the past I would abandon my attempts to extend my stretches because the tangles drove me up a wall. Thankfully, I've been able to stay away from the walls this time around by keeping my new growth stretched.

Even though it takes me a bit longer to detangle and stretch my new growth using the tension method, it is time well spent. Stretching my new growth drastically reduces the number of tangles because it prevents my new growth from wrapping around each other.

2. Moisture, moisture, moisture with protein to prevent moisture overload. As you've most likely heard, maintaining your hair's moisture/protein balance is very important. There is no set ratio of moisture to protein use . . . it would be amazing if there were! What works best for my hair is focusing on moisture with a bit of protein to prevent moisture overload. As you've noticed from my wash day posts, I deep condition with a moisturizing deep conditioner weekly. I often deep condition a second time during the week. If I don't, I moisturize and seal almost daily.

Some faves:

3. Tackle tangles at every step. "Begin with the end in mind" — that's the best way to summarize my approach when it comes to tangles. Working to both loosen tangles and avoid causing new ones at every step means I have less tangles to deal with when it's time to detangle than if I simply went through my wash day and then detangled. 

A few examples of how:
  • Before washing/pre-pooing: Use oil or conditioner to finger-comb out any knots or tanles, as well as remove shed hairs.
  • While washing: Wash hair in sections (I use either 4 or 6 sections). Check out this video on a couple ways to shampoo your hair to prevent excessive tangles.
  • Deep conditioning: Use a deep conditioner that penetrates into the hair shaft, softens, and detangles.

26 comments:

  1. You inspire me to keep stretching! Im 26 weeks post and ive fallen in love with my hair type. I have a similar texture to you in the photo above, i want to say 4a, The majority of my hair is a 4b and 3c.in the crown.

    Ive fallen so in love with my hair types..ugh..relax or transition? hm

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  2. Where's the link to the videooooo? :)

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  3. Just go natural! There! Decision made!

    http://scarletgoal.wordpress.com/

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  4. Great post! I have no idea how many weeks post I am and have decided to NOT relax until I reach my weight loss goal. Weaving/wigging it has made it painless and easy thus far but I agree that stretching the NG with slight direct heat and prepoo'ing seem to make a world of difference!

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    1. Looking foward to your fitness and touch up post!

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  5. What's going on Jeni, transitioning on the sly are we?? Lol

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    1. Lol! I promise I won't keep it a secret

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  6. "If it ain't broke don't fix it" a couple of inches of new growth and a full head of natural hair are very different beasts. You have created a healthy regime that suits you, I'd be scared to lose all that progress but lets wait and see what you decide! Good luck

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  7. Wow!!! 34 weeks! amazing. When I stretched the last time, it was about 18 weeks and I too was like "texlax or transition to natural, hmmm?" eventually when I texlaxed I kindah missed my new growth, I think that was made worse by the fact that I'm finding that my hair was really underprocessed as the days go by (on the left side of my head) lol trials!. You are so inspiring though Jeni! I don't know if our hair is similar, I think so, and U have definitely inspired me to try to stretch even further this time, and see where that takes me! :-) Congrats!

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    1. Same here, I always miss my new growth right after relaxing. Good luck on extending your stretch this time around!

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  8. Wow 34 weeks, before you know it it's 52 weeks ;) I'm already fully natural but keeping your hair stretched does help a lot with reducing tangles. Doesn't matter how you stretch it, as long as it's stretched. Great post!

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  9. Great tips, especially the one about stretching out your new growth. Those tangles can be so defeating. Even still, I'm in awe of your ability to stretch this long. It takes great patience. I think it's so sweet that you're being so supportive of your mother. Although quietly, I'm looking forward to your next relaxer update--whether that's next week or next year. But I enjoy following you on this journey, where ever you end up! Happy Hair Growing, Jeni!

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    1. Oh I agree, tangles are so defeating, and frustrating. Thank you for your support! HHG!

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  10. 34 weeks is such a huge accomplishment to me, wow. I've never stretched any more than 6 months as the tangling gets the better of me. I'll be interested to know what you decide as I'm trying to decide whether to go natural or not too. Great tips Jen x

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  11. All the best with your stretch, im still rooting for you to be natural :). Do you still use Kanechom conditioners?

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  12. Either way you decide, you have learned how to tame your mane. I think that transitioning will be a walk in the park for you.

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  13. Awesome tips Jen! Shrinkage is a beast. What a great accomplishment to have hassle free wash days that encourage you to keep on stretching at 34weeks. You know what you hair loves and its working for you. Keep up the good work.

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  14. Great Post Jeni. Weird (but also great) how a lot of ladies hair blogs I follow have commented on this post. It is great to see such camaraderie.

    Jen - I am currently transitioning the front of my hair and I get major tangles during wash day (especially after my deep condition) I follow the ethics of washing in sections etc etc, what could I be doing wrong? Thanks! :)

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  15. You betta get it Jeni! Congrats on making it this far. Regardless of the decision that you make or when you make it, I'm sure that your mom enjoys the support!

    KLP | SavingOurStrands

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  16. Hi Jeni, I'm new to your blog, but I'm very impressed. I tried and tried to stretch my relaxer but wasn't sure how and ended up relaxing after 12 weeks (couldn't take it). You've inspired me to learn what works for my hair and given me some great tips so that I can stretch a little longer. Thank you and All the Best in your decision!

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  17. I cannot believe you have stretched fro 8 months, your curl pattern is so cute! I cannot even imagine stretching that long without a long term PS.
    All the best with your decision to go natural (or not)

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