Transitioning without big chop and stretching your relaxer have a lot in common. Both require hard work, a defined regimen, a balance of protein and moisture and patience! Let’s dig in a little deeper and talk tips for maintaining a healthy head of hair while navigating through this hair journey.
Tips for Transitioning without Big Chop and Stretching Relaxed Hair
(1) Proper Detangling (Pre-Wash & Post-Wash)
I use a 3 Step Detangling Method to ensure proper detangling is achieved:
Finger Detangle – removes shed hairs and knots so the comb does not snag or rip my hair
Hercules Sagemann Jumbo Rake – great for light detangling but doesn’t complete the job
Ouidad Double Row Detangler – provides deeper detangling and removes additional shed hairs (I purchased mine from Sephora)
(2) Balancing Moisture & Protein
I’ve written articles on balancing moisture and protein but honestly, I don’t believe there is an accurate way to describe how best to achieve the balance. It’s just something you have to figure out for yourself. It takes a lot of trial and error but gosh, when you get it right, it’s like hitting a home run. You’ll definitely know when you’ve arrived to the perfect balance. Your hair becomes resilient and doesn’t break with every little tug.
1 to 2 times a month
(3) Patience & Realism
I start each wash day knowing I will see my fair share of breakage and shed hairs since I’m not manipulating daily. Setting my expectation alleviates the urge to panic when I see snapped hairs or glob of shed hair. I’m very patient and I only wash when time permits because rushing leads to poor technique and breakage.
(4) Low Manipulation Styles
Flexi rods, ponytail rollersets, braids, plaits or buns are my favorites. I’m better off not having immediate access to my hair because I have a series comb addiction. *shame on me!* Therefore, wearing wigs during this stretch has really helped calm that urge.
(5) Wash Day Healthy Hair Tips
My hair has responded favorably to washing once every two weeks with sulfate shampoo. The sulfate shampoo removes any buildup that I may be dealing with and allows my conditioners to penetrate more. The reduced manipulation of not washing weekly is also a win. As the weeks roll around and my hair craves more hydration, I may be forced to reconsider my wash frequency. But for now, every two weeks it is.
I have a love / hate relationship with co-washing. It provides a short-term fix but the moisture is not lasting. Plus, I cannot see myself unraveling braids mid-week, co-washing and re-braiding my hair. It takes about an hour to braid my hair so I highly doubt co-washing will be happening while I’m in wigs. Perhaps, I’ll utilize co-washing more in the summer when I have immediate access to my hair.
Washing my hair in 4 sections worked at one point but no longer. I now wash with using 8-10 small sections. The smaller sections are easier to manage, apply product to and detangle. Since washing in smaller sections, the problem wash day knots in my crown have vanished. *knocks on wood*
Using conditioners that offer awesome slip for shower detangling is a must! A good shower detangling session really helps to keep post-shower foolishness in check. Once out the shower, I’m able to comb through my hair without issue or resistance. Washing and detangling in smaller sections has been a huge game changer.
Some of my favorites:
Silk Elements Kera Minerals
Sally’s GVP Conditioning Balm
Sally’s GVP Nexxues Humectress
Click >>here<< for a list of my other faves!
(6) Tension Blow Drying and/or Banding
I don’t always have time to heat style so tension blow drying (on cool) and/or banding are staples for drying my hair. It stretches the new growth and keeps it from shrinking and feeling packed down to my head. Air drying with loosely hanging hair is out of the question. While it’s the quickest drying method, it’s also leaves my hair feeling driest and with the most shrinkage.
(7) Keeping Ends Trimmed & Healthy
Healthy ends make for easier detangling which translates to easier stretching. Problematic ends have lifted cuticles and split-ends which cling and clump together which makes for some hectic detangling. Now that I’m dealing with healthier ends, detangling isn’t nearly as chaotic. I use the Feye’s Trimming Method or Split-Ender to cut / trim up my ends.
Which tip will you use when transitioning without big chop and/or relaxer stretching?