The quickest and easiest way to stretching my natural hair is to use a blow dryer. But a few months ago I was told by Trichologist (hair/scalp specialist) Teresa Angelina that I blow dry my hair too much. In my head I was thinking...she doesn't know about the shrinkage I have to deal with when my hair gets wet. Those with at least 75% shrinkage can relate to my pain.
How can I possibly get my hair to stretch to it's full potential without the use of heat? Of course the first thing I did, was jump onto my computer and start to do some research. Thankfully I discovered that i wasn't alone and there are so many different ways to stretching your hair without using your blow dryer. You've got to love the internet.
Here are 4 great ways to at least minimise your shrinkage or stretch your hair.
1 / Washing hair in braids
Before you shampoo/cowash, put your hair in braids or plaits, as it's a great way to minimise shrinkage and to reduce tangles.
Check out the video below which illustrates how this method keeps your hair nicely stretched during the cleansing process.
2 / Twists and Braids
Doing two strand twist or flat twist on wet/damp hair is a great way to stretch out length and prevent shrinkage. Alternatively you could use braids, as they create a little more stretch or tension than twists, giving you a little extra in length.
I currently use a mixture of braids and flat twists to air dry my hair. This allows me to achieve as much length as possible and also keeps my hair really moisturised. Here are the steps that I take in order to stretch my hair...
- After my hair has been shampooed/cowashed and then towel dried with my microfiber towel. I then spray my Creme of Nature argan oil leave in conditioner throughout my hair.
- I then section my hair into 8 sections (4 on each side of my head) and complete my LCO (Liquid, Cream and Oil) method.
- Liquid - Creme of Nature Argan oil leave in conditioner (which has already been applied). Cream - Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner or a oil moisturiser. Oil - Coconut/Jojoba/Olive/Argan/Grapseed oil to seal it all in.
- Each section is braided and then I create bantu knot at the ends to ensure maximum length and to prevent dryness.
- Once my hair is dry, I take down the twists, detangle and then do two large braids (one each side of my head) to give it one last stretch overnight.
The following video is very similar to the regime that I follow. It's also great for those transitioning.
Another great way to stretch your hair with twists...
3 / Hair Sets
At the moment Curlformers are a very popular heatless natural hair stretcher and you can stretch out hair of any length with this set. But sets like straw set, roller set, flexirod set etc generally stretch natural hair.
The following video shows you how to stretch short natural hair using Curlformers.
4 / Banding
Banding is the process of using ponytail holders to gently stretch out wet natural hair. The hair is divided into sections then the holders are wound tightly down the section from root to tip so that the hair stays stretched as it dries. If you're going to try this method, be sure to use elastics bands made without the metal piece that can snag your strands.
What's your favourite method for stretching your hair? Share your comments below...