The Long Term Stretch is a powerful pathway to healthier hair for those of us who relax. If you didn't know already, stretching helps preserve health and thickness by reducing the amount of time we have to touch up a year. By minimizing the number of times were are relaxing, we are promoting the integrity of the strands and reducing breakage in the long run. Those who are successful at the long term stretch reap bountiful benefits of gloriously thick hair. Sounds wonderful right? So why haven't I stretched for 6 months or longer? Well in order to stretch successfully, one must overcome the hidden dangers along the way. It's kinda like playing a video game with multiple levels where the "bad guys" get stronger at each level. The "bad guys" of long term stretching include tangles, shedding, and breakage cause by the battling textures. In a couple of weeks, I'll be four months into my stretch. Based on my past experience, four months tends to be my limit. I desperately want to last to six months because I know that once I've done it once or twice, it could become the norm for me. I just have to make sure the reward is greater than the risks. Thanks to the increase moisture levels I've been experiencing from my new deep conditioner, I finally feel as if a six month stretch could actually be possible.
I'm almost ashamed to say that I've never experimented with henna on my hair. This is partially because I heard that quality henna makes all the difference in the results and some women with relaxed hair experienced dryness following application. I remember having dry hair after a tea rinse some time ago. Once that happened, I gave up tea rinses just as quickly as I started. My hair is always searching for moisture so henna was not all that appealing for me to look into much further. Since I first heard of henna, many pioneers have worked to improve the process and end results by adding oils and other goodies to the mix. Now that I have steamers and more powerful moisture creating/promoting products, I can let my henna guard down and actually try it. Of course I'll post a review once I get to experimenting.
I'll never forget the day, several years ago, when a Dominican stylist recommended a keratin treatment to me as I was getting my hair done. After doing a quick search online, I learned that this process would add much needed keratin to my chemically processed hair. Overcome with excitement I posted about my desire to have this process done asap. Then someone posted a comment about the potential dangers of this process because of the use of formaldehyde. After further research I learned of the possible cancer risks associate with this ingredient. Since then, there have been advances in formulation and there are now brands on the market that claim to be formaldehyde free. Luckily for us, the whole keratin treatment phase has created a whole new genre of keratin containing, over the counter, products. It's a 10 Keratin Miracle Leave-In plus Keratin is one of my faves. I've also fallen in love with Coppola Keratin product as well. So ultimately, I haven't felt the need to have this service done. If I ever feel the need to infuse strength into my strands with a heat source, I think I will purchase the Fibre Architecte from Kerastase.
I have to confess and let you know that I had weave sewed in when I was like 19. Back then "wet and wavy" hair was the shiznit. A friend of mine knew this girl who was a "professional dancer" and could install a full head of hair in no time. If memory serves me right, she braided the hair but glued in the tracks versus sewing it in. Peer pressure got the best of me so I caved. Soon I was walking around with a pack & a half of wet and wavy. Let me tell you that I felt like my whole life had changed when I had my new hair. Guys were hollerin' and I got so many compliments from girls on how great "my hair" looked. All was right with the world....that is until it was time to remove it. I don't remember all the details, but what I do remember was having cutting out a partial braid in order to remove the track that was glued to my cornrow instead of my scalp. You should have seen the look on my face when I saw my own braid in my hand. I was mortified. From that day on, I've sworn off all forms of extensions with the exception of synthetic braided hair.
It's kind of sad that I've had this aversion to weaves ever since this once incident because proper use of weaves/wigs can really help protect the hair. How many women have made huge progress on their hair journey from the use of weaves in their protective styling? Nowadays I've seen weaves that look amazing. Girls are even able to pull their extensions into ponytails. It's incredible how natural looking some of these installs look. Honestly, I would love to get a professional (not street professional) install especially in the summer time when humidity and my hair go into all out war against each other.
What I'd like to do is become more open minded to these four things that I've avoided for so long. Or at the very least, I'd like to find alternatives that provide similar benefits without the negative side effects.