Do you want a stretched style but don’t want the excessive heat? If you’re like me then you’re looking for the best ways to achieve a stretched ‘hair-do’ without applying the ‘dreaded heat’ to your curls which could possibly ruin your hair texture. It is common knowledge that afro-textured hair women (especially type 4 hair) sometime suffer from extreme shrinkage, and when our hair is in this state it prevent us from enjoying certain styles (unless you plan on using heat to straighten your hair). But Like I’ve mentioned in several of my posts heat saps the hair of moisture (which we need in our afro-textured hair), weakens the strands, and causes breakage, so using less heat (or completely removing it from your regimen) can help to greatly reduce those effects.
While heatless stretching is a lot less tedious and damaging to our curls than heat it can be detrimental to the health of our hair if done carelessly or too frequently. One thing to remember when attempting to do a heatless stretched style is that you will not achieve bone straight hair. During this process your hair will only get stretched to about 70-80 % of its entire length. Here are 4 ways that you can achieve that stretched look without heat.
- The Banding Method
The banding method involves using hair ties to gently stretch the curls by holding the hair in a stretched position for a period of time. This then forces the hair to stay in said position until it has been re-moisturized. This is a great way to stretch the hair, but there are certain precautions that must be taken in order to avoid any breakage. Some include:
- Not applying bands to the ends of the hair
- Not stretching the hair all the time (too much of one thing is a bad thing)
Here’s NaturallyChea showing how she stretches her hair using this method +some quick tips!
2. African Threading
African threading is another effective technique that is used to stretch afro-textured hair. This technique has been used for ages in African tribes (hence the name) to elongate the curls which gives the hair a straighter appearance. Many naturals prefer heatless options when straightening their hair because this prevents possible heat damage, and it preserves the health and length of their hair.
This technique produces a straighter look than the banding method so if you are looking for a sleeker or straighter look then this might be a great option for you. Here’s a quick video showing a tutorial on how you can achieve this style.
Cornrows or braids are great styles that keeps the hair in a stretched state. One important thing to note is that with these styles you will still maintain some of your curls, and your hair will not be as straight as with the banding or threading technique. But you can still enjoy more voluminous and stretched hair. I’ve personally used cornrows to stretch my hair, and I experienced fuller and more elongated hair than before, so this option would be perfect for you if you desire semi-stretched hair (hair that is stretched to about 50-60% of its length)
Curlformers are used in alternative to regular hair curlers to provide curls that are fuller and more elongated. They come in different sizes that makes them flexible for all hair types and lengths. They provide a stretched style that is long-lasting, voluminous, and sleek.
Here’s a video demonstrating the application process.
What’s your favorite heatless technique for stretching your hair?