How to Stretch Natural Hair
When you hear the phrase “stretching natural hair” what exactly comes to mind? If you are fairly new to the natural hair community and haven’t been following any naturals on social media. We are not only going to answer all of your questions but will walk you through the process as well. Stretching your hair does not give you add length, it’s basically elongating your hair, free of curls and coils to show off your length. Stretching your hair is sometimes necessary for certain styles, performing a trim or wanting more volume. If you stretch your hair too frequently your curl pattern can disappear. Being sure you’re taking the proper steps for maintaining your hair, with either a satin or silk scarf, bonnet or pillowcase. It will prevent your hair from tangling and matting in your sleep and saves a lot of time in the morning since you wouldn’t have to do much to do it.
1How to stretch natural hair?
Stretching your natural hair sole purpose is to show off length, avoid shrinkage and prep your hair for a particular style. There are tons of methods to stretching your hair with or without heat. We will cover the methods used to stretch your hair without heat later, but for now, we will walk you through the process of stretching your hair with heat. Before you reach for your blow dryer, be sure your hair is washed, moisturized and you have your heat protectant ready. Even though you will be alternating between warm and cool settings, you will want to eliminate as much heat damage as possible.
Part your hair into 4 sections and pin them up using hair ties or clips being sure to leave one section out to work on. Now part that section into three, it is easier to work in smaller sections like so, the longer your hair the more breaks you may need to take to prevent your arms from getting sore. Apply your heat protectant, and begin blow drying your hair on cool, if your blow dryer includes a comb attachment it would be best to use that, if not you will need to keep your detangling brush or comb handy. Once you start to notice your hair becoming elongated you may switch to warm heat and continue the process, as a reminder to not stay on the warm setting for too long. Alternate back and forth, once that part is completely and thoroughly dry you may twist it up or leave it alone and move along, repeating the process for your entire head.
There are millions of products on the market to protect your hair, but conditioners help repair damage and also aide in making your hair stronger and manageable. Deep conditioning hair is important no matter if you decide to stretch your hair or not. Deep conditioning your hair is recommended for people with extremely damaged hair, and it should be done with every wash. Moisturizing your hair is also important, always opt for carrier oils that are excellent at sealing in moisture, and the best thing about this is that it can be applied to wet or dry hair.
2How to stretch natural hair without heat?
Stretching your hair without heat is possible, this method is especially good for those naturals wanting to avoid getting any heat damage. This process, however, does takes time depending if your hair is soaking wet or just damp, it will also consist of you allowing your hair to completely air dry. So, if you have some errands to run, you can place a head wrap on your head and go about your business, or if wearing a bonnet outside is your style you can do that as well. There are many different methods out at the moment that you may choose to try, each method is tried and true and proven to work.
- Hair Tie Method – this method is simple, it involves securing small sections of your hair down with ponytail holders. For example, part your damp already moisturized hair in small sections, the parts don’t have to be perfect just neat enough where you won’t be able to grab any extra strands. Placing ponytail holders on the section from root to end, making sure they are snugged but not tight. The bands should be half an inch apart starting at your roots and going all the way down to your ends. The more bands you have in and the closer they are the more elongated your hair will be.
- Stretching Plates – this method is fairly new and involves the use of a tool, but overall this device can make stretching your hair much easier no matter your hair type. Starting with freshly washed hair and being sure your hair is damp and not soaking wet, align small to medium sections of your hair on the plates and using the clips, pin your hair down.
- Curl formers – this method serves a dual purpose, just like performing a twist out, braid out, or Bantu out on your hair. It will take your gorgeous fro and make them into some beautiful curls, similar to what you will achieve from a wand curl. These can be the best tools to get not only heatless curls but stretched hair as well, giving you double the styling option. Once you’re done with them, or they begin to fall you will just finger detangle to get rid of any existing curls and gentle comb threw your hair.
- Banding Method – this technique is probably as old as time, people for many generations have used this. Similar to the hair tie method, the only difference is that you will be using cotton-based yarn. Now when wrapping the yarn around you may use any wrapping method you like, normally this technique is performed with one strand of yarn, but you may use two and cross them over each other forming an “x”. You will want to also make sure the yarn is wrapped snuggly against the section of hair so that it will not slide down, and that you have wrapped leaving small spaces in between. Beware your hair may be sticking out from your head because of the stiffness, but it will be all for a good cause when you unravel and see your results.
- Twist Outs, Braid Outs, ETC – This is method is really easy since your hair is already slightly stretch from the previous style all you have to do is finger detangle to remove any existing curls and gently comb through. Being sure to work from the ends to roots to remove and prevent any tangles or knots from forming. Despite this being the simplest form, your hairstyle will not last since your hair be more prone to buildup
No matter which method you prefer it would be best to avoid using any water-based products, adding them to your hair will benefit from revert your curls back to their natural state.
3How to stretch natural hair after washing?
Most of the time you will be stretching your hair after washing it, but if before your wash day you decide to purposely stretch your hair to show off your length and avoid shrinkage then you want to opt for a style that will serve you a dual purpose. Twist Outs, Braid Outs and Bantu Outs can show off your length until your next wash day and help prevent you from over manipulating your hair. If you choose to blow dry your hair and straighten your hair after washing, it is important to make sure your hair is dry thoroughly before straightening, not doing so can cause stress on your hair, give you unspeakable heat damage and cause massive breakage.
4Stretching 4c hair
If your hair type falls under the 4c category, your hair is very coily or kinky. People with 4c hair can be very fragile and breakage can occur easily, constant manipulation or use of ANY chemicals can make your particular hair type dull and brittle. People with 4c may also utilize stretching cream which can aide in elongating your curls and give some definition. If your looking into stretching cream be sure to find one that is lightweight, non-flaky and non-greasy. After washing and detangling your hair, or if you’re performing this on dry hair you will want to spray your hair with water, be sure to moisturize your hair and then apply the stretching cream. Afterwards, perform your preferred stretching method, allowing your hair to completely and thoroughly air dry, and style to your desired liking. Stretchingcreams can also produce unbelievable results, such as shine, softness, manageability and give you moisture for days.
Despite your hair type being different, everyone can benefit from products with natural ingredients, then can very beneficial for your hair and your overall pockets. Yes, they are more on the pricier side, but you only need small amounts and they always offer small packages you can buy, to test out before committing.