My biggest fear for me when I decided to go natural was how to deal with shrinkage. You see, my hair is the typical course hair, very kinky and coily. If there was a hair type after 4c, that would be my hair type.
After washing my hair I would just find myself reaching for my blow dryer. This went on for months until I experienced heat damage.
I had breakage, my hair felt stringy, and don’t even talk about how dry my hair always seemed even after moisturizing it. After my big chop, I had to find other ways to stretch my hair without using heat all the time.
Below are some of the methods I’ve used to stretch natural hair without heat in just 10 minutes.
How To Stretch Natural Hair Without Heat In Just 10 Minutes
The following are simple methods you can use to keep your hair stretched without using heat appliances:
Let’s start with the method I found to be the easiest way to stretch natural hair without heat: banding.
Banding is basically using small (preferably thin) elastic bands to stretch your hair.
It’s simple, you part your hair into 4- 8 sections.
You can have more sections if you have thick hair or if you want to end up with super stretched hair.
You’ll then moisturize the hair and use a detangling brush to detangle each section.
When detangling, start from the ends to the roots of the hair.
Tie the roots of your hair with one elastic band, another in the middle, and one towards the ends.
You can band one section with several elastic bands if your hair is longer for better results.
If you don’t want to use many bands, you can use one band and stretch it as you wrap it around the section of your hair until the band is fully stretched.
Add another band and do the same until the end of the section.
Either of the ways works.
I personally prefer the band-stretching as I don’t have to use so many bands.
I find Bantu knots to be a quicker way to stretch natural hair and a great way to achieve loose curls.
You can do Bantu knots on either dry or damp hair.
You’ll then part your hair into several sections.
Take each section, divide into two, twist, and then wrap the twist around itself to form a Bantu knot.
Repeat for all sections.
Give your hair several hours before you can take out the knots.
For better curls though, let your hair stay in Bantu knots for some days.
I like to do them in the evening and take them out in the morning.
For quite some time, I didn’t think of buns as a way to stretch hair.
Well, that was until I noticed how stretched my hair was every time I took out the buns.
You can use bunning on dry or damp hair although I find it easier to do them on dry hair.
Before tying your hair in a bun, start by detangling and moisturizing your hair first.
The only downside with bunning is that your hair will take longer to completely dry (if your hair was damp).
The center of your hair is the area that takes longer.
The best thing about this method is that you can rock your buns in different ways and wear them for long.
It’s both a stretching method and a protective hairstyle.
The good old twist out is another quick way to stretch your hair.
What I love about this style is that it requires no tools (no elastic bands), just your hands, and some moisturizer and oil.
This is a perfect go-to style after washing your hair.
This is how I do it:
After washing and conditioning my hair, I dry it using a cotton T-shirt and then I section my hair into several parts.
I take one section, apply my butter and oil, detangle using a wide-toothed comb or my bamboo detangling brush then twist the section tightly (but not too tight that I hurt my scalp).
I repeat this procedure for all sections, wait a couple of hours and unravel the twists out. And voila!
My hair is all stretched out ready for styling.
If you want more definition, you can wear the twists as a protective style for a few days before you unravel them.
Always make sure that your hair is completely dry before you unravel the twists.
Not only will your twist-outs be well-defined, but your hair will be super stretched as well.
This is another of my favorite ways to stretch my hair.
I find it quite easy and my hair really stretches out.
I like to braid my hair on my wash days so that I can later unravel the braids and get a perfect, super-stretched braid out.
From my own personal experience, I think you can stretch natural hair without heat in just 10 minutes or less when it comes to braids.
This is especially true if you have long hair.
Here’s how I do it: I start off by saturating my hair with water before I shampoo my hair.
I like how hydrating it is and how it rinses off so fast which saves me time.
Next, I generously apply their coconut conditioner.
After rinsing the conditioner and drying my hair, I section my hair using my fingers.
The number of sections I end up with will depend on how stretched I want my hair to be.
I prefer eight sections, four on each side of my head.
Also, smaller sections dry faster than bigger sections.
If your hair takes longer to dry (especially people who have low porosity hair), consider making even smaller sections.
Once I am done with sectioning, I take one section at a time, apply some moisturizer and then do a three-strand braid.
I repeat this procedure for all sections, wait a couple of hours and unravel the braids to achieve great braids outs.
Please make sure you unravel the braids when your hair is completely dry to make sure your tresses don’t shrink soon after achieving the braid outs.
Just as is the case with twists, If you want more definition, you can wear the braids as a protective style for a few days before you unravel them.
After my damaged hair episode, I used roller sets a lot to stretch my hair.
I found it quick and easy but also because I had lots of rollers sets from my relaxed hair days.
I would do the roller sets in the morning, go about my house chores and take them out in the afternoon when stepping out of the house to run some errands.
For this style, I start by spritzing some water on my hair to make it damp.
I then part the hair in smaller sections so that the stretch I end up with is a bit lengthy.
Next, I take each section, add more moisturizer and apply oil before slowly detangling the section.
You want your hair to be knotless and smooth to work with to achieve the best results with this stretching style.
Finally, I roll the section on the roller.
I use the big rollers since I don’t want any curls on the hair. I only want it stretched.
It’s basically just how you set roller on relaxed hair only that in this case, you don’t use any heat to dry the hair but you let it air dry instead.
Another of my favorite heatless ways to stretch my hair is African threading.
I like to use this style in between my washes.
So for this method, I use the regular nylon weaving thread but there are other types of thread for this method.
As usual, I start off by sectioning my hair.
I part them into 10-12 sections, sometimes more sections.
It depends on how stretched I want my hair to be.
I then apply moisturizer and seal with oil of my choice.
I rotate between almond oil, grapeseed oil, or argan oil, but any oil works.
Remember to apply more moisturizer and oil to the tips as they are more prone to dryness than the rest of the hair.
I then cut my thread into sizeable lengths.
For the size, you will be guided by the length of your hair.
Taking each section by the root with my left hand, I wrap the thread around the section starting from the root to the tip.
You can choose to do the wrapping with the thread so close or apart depending on how straight you need your hair to be.
Once at the tip, I tie a loose knot so that the thread doesn’t unravel.
I then repeat this procedure for the rest of the sections.
Once done, you can wrap your hair if going to bed or allow it to air dry if you had washed your hair.
You can wear the African threading as a protective style for days before unraveling.
The longer you stay with it, the more stretched your hair will be.
I usually undo my threads the next morning and my hair is always dry and stretched.
Stretching natural hair requires a lot of experimenting.
If you are just starting out, try out all the methods I’ve shown you and pick two or three that work best for you.
You’ll find that you can stretch natural hair without heat in just 10 minutes especially if your hair is long.
If you have short hair (hello TWA gang), it may take about 15 – 20 minutes.
There are styles that work best after washing while others are great for in-between washes.
Of all the methods I’ve discussed in this post, I find that the roller sets give you the most stretch followed by African threading.
If you want your hair stretched but with some definition, twist outs, braid outs, and Bantu knots are your to-go styles.
Try them out and share with us what stretching method works best for you.