Natural Hair Tips,  Stretching hair

How I Stretch/ Straighten my 4C Without Heat.

Stretching 4c not only gives you more length but also minimizes knots and tangles.

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stretching 4c hair without heat
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Don’t get me wrong, I love my shrunken Afro and frohawk but I’ve days where I wanna see my length or install some juicy two strand twists or braids and that calls for stretching my hair. I don’t use heat on my hair. I last used heat early last year and before then I hadn’t used heat for 3-4 years, the thought of heat damage scares me.

So do I use heat to stretch? Definitely No. I use heatless methods like using flat twists, braids, twists and banding to give me a little length. Is stretching important? I believe it is especially for our 4C hair which tends to shrink and curl up on each other.

Why do I stretch my hair:
  • To show off the length lol. I mean, who doesn’t love the feeling of flipping your hair and tucking it behind your ears cos it’s all over the place.
  • To minimize knots and tangles. Stretched hair is less likely to tangle compared to the shrunken Afro. With the shrunken Afro, the strands curl up & hug each other.
  • I do stretch my hair before installing protective styles. I always install my mini twists or chunky twists on stretched hair
Stretching using braids vs flat twists

How do I stretch my hair without heat?

I do stretch my hair using either;

  • Braids
  • Flat twists
  • Twists and banding (rarely)
  • Cornrows (may be once or twice)

Braids.

In Kenya, we call them matuta. I love braids because they give me both length and definition. 

  • First, section your hair into 4-10 sections, the number of sections is up to you. Moisturize your hair. If your leave in pops your curls the better.
  • After moisturizing, use a wide tooth comb or fingers to comb out your hair and get rid of the tangles if any.
  • Braid each section at a time, don’t hold the braid too tight but make sure the strands are firmly held.
  • Let your braids dry and Voila, stretched and defined braid out. Make sure your braids are dry before unraveling otherwise you will end up with a shrunken Afro.
Braid out/ Braids stretched hair

Flat twists.

This is currently my favorite stretching method because flat twists are easy to install and they give me more length than braids. I install 3 or 4 flat twists.

  • Start off by sectioning your hair. The number of sections depends on the flat twists you’re installing. If it’s 3 flat twists, section your hair into three parts.
  • Moisturize each section and comb out.
  • Twist without holding your hair too tight.
  • You can keep your flat twists for a couple of days if they are looking cute and neat. If you don’t intend to keep them for longer, wait until they are fully dry before unraveling 
  • Follow the same procedure for cornrows. I’ve stretched using cornrows maybe twice, they give length and definition but installing is a struggle for me.
Flat twist out/ Flat twist stretched hair

Twists and Banding.

Twists don’t give me much length, but I realized when I tie hair bands along the length, they give twists a little more hold and stretch. How to go about it;

  • First, section your hair. Number of sections depends on you, your hair length and volume.
  • Moisturize each section, use a wide -tooth comb or fingers to comb out and detangle.
  • Twist each section at a time then tie hair bands along the twist’s length to hold the twists without them shrinking.
  • Let the twists dry before unraveling. The twists take longer to dry,  you will need more patience with this method.

I use this method to stretch my mini twists and chunky twists where I section them, moisturize and tie bands along the length to stretch them.

Other heatless stretching methods;

  • African threading
  • Bantu knots
  • Banding

Do you stretch using heat? If not, which heatless method do you use? 

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