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Tips for Stretching your Relaxer

I'm nearing the end of an 8 week stretch. Before I first started the hair journey in October 2008, I would relax every 6 weeks. Sometimes I couldn't wait that long! I had no idea how to tame new growth, especially the new growth near the crown of my hair, which is usually under-processed. Since the hair journey, I'm vowing to stretch to 8 weeks. Personally, I don't want be looking rough much longer than that. The first stretch was HARD, no lie! But, you pick up things as you go along and this current stretch has been relatively easy. So, without further adieu, here are my non-researched, PERSONAL-OPINION tips for stretching your relaxer. I advise you to listen to your own hair and do your research as well.

TIP #1: PROTECTIVE STYLES. A good protective style is a great investment. It can help to keep your ends protected and keep you looking fresh! Many ladies try bantu knots, roller sets, and (my favorite) half-wigs. I personally don't really like bantu knots & roller sets because they take a lot of work compared to just throwing on a half-wig! Don't neglect the hair under your half-wig! It's easy to throw a wig on over dry, tangled hair... but moisturize and seal that hair, and preferably use corn-row braids under the half-wig to further protect!

TIP #2: LEAVE-INS. Leave-ins are essential for bringing back moisture and elements that are stripped from the hair during the washing process. I personally mix a cheapie conditioner with water, aloe vera gel and oil. Others use glycerin, rosewater, etc. Leave-ins help my new-growth to lay down and soften.

TIP #3: FREQUENT DCs. My first stretch I didn't DC at all and my hair was always tangled and somewhat dry. This stretch, I DCed 1x-2x week after I was 4 weeks post. I mix Lekair cholesterol, honey, oil, a tablespoon of salt, place a shower cap on, and let it sit on for 2-3 hours at the most.

TIP #4: ACCESSORIZE. Scarves, cute pins, bobby pin updos ... be creative while stretching!

TIP #5: MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE! I notice that as the weeks add up, my hair craves more and more moisture! Remember to moisturize often (and understand the balance between Moisture and Protein!


3 Month Update

I'm 7 weeks post today :) Today, I deep conditioned with Lekair's Cholesterol Plus, honey, oil and a tbs. salt. My hair has been over-moisturized lately (can't believe I can actually say that! LOL) I've been using Maxi Professional detangler. The first two ingredients are water & glycerin (yes) and the rest are herbal extracts. I LOVE it as a moisturizer, but it doesn't do a great job of detangling. If my hair is dry, I spritz my hair w/this stuff, seal it, and baggy for an hour or so. Brush my hair back, wrap it and go to sleep... the next morning my hair is VERY soft and moisturized.

So, with all this moisture, I've been trying to make sure to balance with protein. Using protein SCARES me... I've had so many overloads in the past. Anyway, I've upped my co-washes to every 3 days (Mon, Thurs, Sun... etc) so now I use Aphogee 2 min. or Fantasia IC deep treatment with some of the co-washes (depends how my hair is feeling!)
I've also jumped on the vitamin bandwagon! I've been taking daily supplements on/off for the last year but am pledging to stay committed this year. I was also able to buy BIOTIN 1000 mg and GARLIC pills for $1.50 a bottle! :) They were on sale for $3 each at Publix and I had a $3.00 off coupon... Yes!

I didn't get the odorless garlic :( but they haven't been THAT bad, I usually try to take them with food (bananas are great at masking that taste). The BIOTIN has made me break out a little (I've been taking the 1000 mg 1x day for 4 days now). I put on some acne cream (the generic kind from Wal-Mart) and the pimples are already going away. If the acne becomes too much, I'll only use the BIOTIN on the weekdays and give my face a break for the weekend. I have noticed that my sideburns are growing :/ which is kind of weird, don't wanna look like Elvis. Hopefully my hair is growing.
Because I was finally able to get my hands on some garlic pills, I gave megatek another chance. I applied it 2 nights ago (2 nights after I started taking the garlic pills). VERY LITTLE SHEDDING/BREAKAGE IN THE SHOWER TODAY! I had been having a lot of breakage the last few weeks, but today was there way less and most of it was white-bulb shedding. so the garlic pill hype is true!
I'm almost out of antifungals :( I have no idea where my MN is, probably left it in my hometown. And have just a wee bit left of Tolnaftate. I don't think my Walmart has the generic MN up here and Big Lots is so far away (to get the Tolnaftate). I want to stay consistent with the antifungals I use, I don't wanna put everything and anything on my hair. I was at the Dollar Tree today and was tempted to get some other antifungal (Clotrinzole?) but naw...
My hair is GROWING! When I DCed today, I noticed that most of my hair is "officially" nape length, and some are mid-neck. I think I should definitely be at full SL by May *crosses fingers*
I tried Bantu Knots in December and with a little more practice they'll come out right.
I want to relax this upcoming Thursday (ending and 8 week stretch).
Having trouble with my Fotki so pics TBA...

Holiday Update #3 - Kiya Fizzie, MN, DCs

Final Update from the break...


Man oh man... I have a lot of updates. This break from school has allowed me to have a lot of free time that I don't normally have … so I've been experimenting different things.

I've been braiding my hair (as usual) and wearing the half-wig. I moisturized 2x a day (for the most part... lol).

I read about the “Kiya Fizzie” on some of the boards and decided to try it. I got confused though. I thought the chick Kiya was mixing citric acid, baking soda and salt together. I used vinegar as my citric, we had baking powder (not soda) and added some salt. I mixed this with Lustrasilk's Tea Tree Cholesterol conditioner, honey, coconut oil and DC with a cap for about 3 hours.

I used an applicator brush to apply the mix. I usually apply the DC directly to my new growth first with the brush and then use my hands to put the DC on my ends. I noticed that as soon as I put this mix on my new growth, my ENDS were soft and laying down... it was so weird. I thought this was the sign of a wonderful mix....

NOT! My hair was soft in the shower but there was just something weird about my hair. I conditioned with my lovely Vo5 Moisture Milks “Passion fruit smoothie” and followed with leave-ins and coconut oil. After my soft hair dried, it was a hot mess. Hard, rough, crunchy, thin and stripped. It was like this for 3 days until I DC and co-washed again. No matter how many times I moisturized, baggied, etc... my hair would instantly return to this dry, rough state. It felt like my hair had holes in it... just rough. I have to say that the mix did straighten my hair out a bit. No “after-relaxer” results but definitely something for my new growth, since I was 5 weeks post-relaxer. Still wasn't worth the rough hair.

I re-braided my hair and just tried not to deal with it too much until my next co-wash. (Maybe I should try letting the mix stay on my hair for 5 min. compared to 3 hours).

My next DC and co-wash was so nice. I mixed honey, a tablespoon of table salt (the real Kiya Fizzie), aloe vera gel, a little of the Ego Trip Invigorate Conditioner, coconut oil, and the Tea Tree Cholesterol. With the salt in the mix, the conditioner was really creamy. Let that sit on my hair for 2 or 3 hours. My mom has the Silk Therapy Moisturizing Conditioner. I've heard rave reviews about it so I wanted to co-wash with it. I looked at the ingredients list before I used it and wasn't impressed. I decided to give it a try anyway. NO SIR! It didn't do anything for my hair, actually made it a little drier than the DC. It's not “bad” but I just wouldn't spend any amount of money buying such a blah conditioner (and I've seen it at Sally's for $5-6). I followed up with my Vo5 Moisture Milks (that cost me $1) and … ah!!! Soft, lovely hair. The salt definitely straightened my hair a bit and might be the reason for my soft hair... I'll need a few more DC's to prove it!!

3 words. Refined coconut oil. :( I've been using this oil for a few months now and it's been pretty good to me. But I was reading around online and saw that unrefined oils are best because they retain the vitamins and nutrients. Ah well... I'm about ½ way finished with this jar of oil anyway.

My next relaxer date is set for January 15th (a few days shy of 8 weeks).

In review,
No vinegar/baking powder mixes.
Salt is benefiting in my DC's.
Unrefined oils, not refined.
No Silk Moisturizing Therapy Co.

Holiday Update #2 - MN

One of my unposted updates from the holiday break.


MN Update

I found some generic MN at Wally World since I've been home. $4 for 45 g. It goes really fast though. I've been applying it 2x a day and I'm already almost finished with the tube. I've decreased the applications to 1x a day and only where my hair is struggling to grow. How much fungus could possibly be on your hair, anyway, where you would need to apply 2x a day?

I want to do some research on hair. There's some word for hair fungus – dermatitis or something like that. I want to see what treatments they use to make the hair grow. Somebody made an interesting point on one of the boards: MN is specifically made to be used on the fungus in your vagina... is that fungus going to be on your hair? But from what I've seen already, the same antifungal is used for different areas on the body (just go check out the antifungals at Wal-Mart... you'll see what I'm talking about).

I've experienced NO side effects whatsoever --- headaches, shedding, dry scalp, etc --- except for new growth! LOL It's DEFINITELY made my nape grow. The rest of my head is inconsistent; I have very little growth on my front hair line, but the middle/crown area of my head (where I need it the most) is definitely seeing some growth. I have almost 2 inches of new growth on my crown. I find it easy to apply to wet hair.

The new growth is coming in so pretty, too. Curly and soft. I'm tempted to transition to natural hair. So many people have had something negative to say about my hair. I remember telling my friends a year ago that I wanted to go natural and they crushed those thoughts... quickly LOL “Some people can't do natural, Gaela.” LOL It was said in love... but still. Now that I'm learning to manage my new growth and it's soft and moisturized... natural hair is an option. I could always perm and flat iron... we'll see though.

MN has also made my hair REALLY thick. Where I live, “good hair” is defined as straight, long, and somewhat thin hair. Once people see my textured, short, thick hair, I'm immediately told about it. “Girl, your hair is so thick.” But, in this week that I've been using MN, my hair is 2x as thick, if not 3 times. I flat-ironed my hair on Christmas day, and my mom noticed how thick it was. When I braid my hair under the half-wig, it's pretty thin. But these braids I have in now are so wide and thick. So, I guess MN is like mega-tek.. thicker hair more than longer hair.

So, in review:

No side-effects from MN.
New growth but not consistent for my whole head.
Should only apply 1x a day.
Apply preferably to wet hair.
Thick hair, fast.

Holiday Update #1 - Ego Trips Invigorate Conditioner

Big Lots – yeah!

So, I was able to go to the Big Lots in my hometown. The “big conditioner” aisle was nowhere to be found like last time. But I did find this conditioner:

Ego Trips Invigorate Conditioner (Retail: $4.99) Conditioner for men.

It has ginseng, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, rosemary extract, biotin, camphor, panthenol and vitamin E.

A great replacement for my Aveda Rosemary Mint conditioner (which I've used up now). I got the 8.5 oz bottle for $1.80! The Aveda 8.5 oz would have cost me $10. The only thing I don't like about the conditioner is that it's really thick and creamy so it's hard to dilute it so it will spray from my homemade leave-in bottle. I'll figure it out though for $1.80 LOL. Also, if I leave it on the ends of hair, it makes them really thin and fragile. So, it's definitely just a new growth/scalp treatment for me.

In review:
Love Ego Trips!
Thick consistency should be diluted little by little.
Don't use Ego as a leave-in on ends of hair.