You are currently viewing How I Stretch/ Straighten my 4C  Natural Hair Without Heat.

How I Stretch/ Straighten my 4C Natural Hair 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 and tangle.

Benefits of Stretching Natural 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 4c hair with braids
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)


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.
How to stretch 4c hair without heat
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.
Stretching 4c hair with flat twists
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

Thank you for reading, share with everyone and support my blog here.

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

Valerie Kinoti

Valerie Kinoti has loved all things hair since she was 8 and always dreamt of having long hair. Decades later she is living the long hair dream and sharing all tips, tricks she has learned over the years.

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