I did my relaxer today, and I blow dried and flat ironed to check my length and thickness. I'm not very pleased with the outcome :( I do notice length increase but I lost some thickness. On a positive note, the relaxer application was successful - no over processing and no scalp burns.
I learned a new relaxer technique: By making bigger parts and apply more relaxer to each section, I drastically reduced tangling (and thus broken hairs) and saved 6 minutes during application. Fortunately, I figured this out in time to apply this new technique to the front of my hair. Unfortunately for the back of my hair, I didn't make the realization until after I relaxed the back. Here's a picture of the amount of hair lost from the back vs the front. So I lost some thickness in the back and on my "weight/hem" line.
Hair lost from the back (left) vs front (right)
I wouldn't call this a setback per se. But if I have the same problem the next time I self relax, then I will go back to my stylist in DC to do my relaxers. I might need to hide the scissors for a while too, I'm very tempted to cut another 2". I will probably wear curly styles until my next relaxer. Curls give the illusion of thickness, so I'll be less tempted to cut.
It's after midnight and I'm beyond exhausted. I will post pictures of my hair tomorrow.