I received this question and comment from a lovely reader recently:
Why do you not stretch longer than 12 weeks? I find that fascinating seeing as all the other prominent YouTube gurus make it seem like you are doing your hair a disservice if you do not stretch a minimum of six months.
First of all – girl, did you just include me in the phrase ‘prominent YouTube guru’?! Shut ‘cho mouth! *doing the wop* (and if you are too young to remember the wop, don’t make me feel old by telling me!) Secondly – great question and I don’t think I’ve ever fully explained my stance on why I don’t stretch my relaxers longer than 12 weeks in its own post.
Well – the number one reason is very simple: I retain more length with shorter stretches. I do go beyond the traditional time between relaxer touch ups, which is usually recommended as 6-8 weeks. I touch up between 10-12 weeks consistently. At the start of my journey I was neck and chin length and stretched for about 7 months. This is the progress I made in about 8 months at the start of my HHJ:
A clear improvement but staggering? I think not! By comparison, here is a photo of my 2012 progress, about the same length of time but stretching only 10-12 weeks PLUS I’ve trimmed during this time and I still retained more length.
This is pretty much the pattern I began to notice, stretching relaxers for long periods of time did not give me the amazing progress I’d hoped for so i started relaxing more frequently and saw better results.
Reason number 2 – I like my hair. I like wearing it out, down, enjoying it, styling it, being creative, having fun with it! The idea of NOT wearing my hair whichever way I choose because my new growth is too unmanageable seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Why would I force myself to do something along this journey that I don’t enjoy? I’m not in a race to get the longest hair in the shortest amount of time possible. Yes, of course I long 4 length (cue corny drumroll) but I know the length will come. It’s cool. I’d much rather wear styles I enjoy rather than be forced to bun my hair half of the year because I’m “stretching” to 6 months.
Hopefully that answer satisfies any of those who have wondered the same thing. I’m not saying this works for everyone, I’m not even saying it works best for me. It depends on your hair and your goals. If I had something that I immediately wanted long hair for , which I don’t, I’m sure I would’ve stretched and protective styled the living crap outta my hair. But since I don’t, I’d rather enjoy my healthy hair journey en route to my hair goals.