Before beginning my hair journey, I once did an eight month stretch because I had intended to go back natural but then changed my mind midway. I do not remember having excessive breakage then but my hair was much cut in a bob so it was much shorter and there was not as much length to detangle. I now want to try stretching again with longer hair. I realize now that any difficulties I had in the past, going past 8 weeks with longer hair was simply that my hair was not conditioned well enough. As long as I am using something that works well for me and softens my roots then I do not experience excessive demarcation breakage. My edges, which have always been very short and thin are growing in really nicely so this has been a great experience so far.
To do this stretch successfully I have been washing my hair in braids to avoid the extra tangles from being wet and it really helps. I divide my dry hair into six sections, detangle and then braid. To detangle I apply a lot of moisturizer to get my hair soft, supple and very slightly damp because detangling on completely dry hair leads to breakage. I have also tried applying oils to detangle but found that the moisturizer works better.
I do not think i will go for as long as 7 months right now but maybe in the future I will. I am currently going on week 11 and right now I think I will relax at week 12. I will straighten my hair today to see how much length I have retained and to ensure my hair is not thinning and then decide if I would like to try and stretch even longer than 3 months.
To complicate things a bit I am also doing this because I got highlights over Christmas break. I know it wasn’t the best thing to do but I really wanted them and decided that the worst case scenario is a set back that I will get over. I will post more on this soon to give details on what my experience with double processed hair is like. The stretch is therefore partially a way to avoid chemicals for as long as possible to give my hair a good long break but if it works out well, then I will keep on stretching from now on
My biggest tip with stretching is not to do it if you are noticing a lot of extra demarcation breakage. I think it honestly just takes practice, learning to deal with the two textures and finding the right products. I used to lose way too much hair, going beyond 8 weeks or so but I know how to manage my hair a lot better and so will continue doing this if the benefits outweigh the negatives.