By Choya Randolph
One of the most important things we have to do as naturals is keep our hair detangled. In doing this, we’re avoiding breakage and retaining length. Because our kinky hair strands love to get all close and cozy with each other, our hair is constantly getting tangled. A way to combat this is by keeping our hair stretched. Many of us stretch our hair traditionally by using a hair dryer. Though heat can be good for our hair, heat on dry hair has little to no benefit other than the fact that our hair is stretched and dry. But the blow dryer isn’t our only option. Here are ways you can stretch your hair without using heat.
Who doesn’t love a classic twist out? Twist outs are usually meant for styling but they can also stretch the hair. What’s great about twist outs is that we can decide how big or small we want our twists to be. Instead of doing a twist out on stretched dry hair, try doing a twist out on soaking wet hair. After you wash your hair, you probably use products to put moisture back in your hair that the shampoo may have taken out. When you do this, put the products in your hair section by section. Once you’ve lathered your hair in your desired products, twist that section. Do this over and over until your hair is completely twisted. If your hair is soaking wet, you may have to get a plastic bag to wrap around your head.
The twists will naturally stretch your hair. Plus, the water and products should weigh your hair down which only amplifies the stretched hair you’re working for. Not only does this avoid any heat usage, the twists preserve your natural hair texture when wet while giving you the classic curl twist outs are known for.
Bantu knots are a multipurpose method to use on our hair. To accomplish a bantu knot, do the same thing you’d do for a twist out. Once you’ve twisted a section, wrap that section around itself until it looks like a knot. Don’t wrap it too tight but make sure it’s snug so it can stay in place. Once you’ve done your entire head, wait for it to dry.
Bantu knots take stretching your hair to the next level because, compared to just a twist out, they stretch even further when wrapped around itself. If you’re a lazy natural, you can even wear your bantu knots in a style like Rihanna did in her Pour It Up music video. Once you’ve taken out the knots, you will immediately notice that your hair is as curled as if you used curling rods. Fluff those curls out and now you have a stretched and detangled style.
Twists outs and bantu knots may be familiar to you but you may not have heard of african threading. African threading is a style in itself since it resembles a dread. It involves wrapping sections of hair in a thread. This does take longer than the other methods but it will stretch your hair more than a twist or bantu knot could. Plus, of course, no heat. If you know how to do faux locs then this method should be easy for you. All you need is thread. Do not use regular thread because it could potentially damage your hair. Use nylon or african thread.
After washing and hydrating your hair, section your hair in about 10-12 sections. The smaller the section, the more stretched your hair will be. Once your hair is sectioned, start wrapping the thread around your hair as if it were a faux loc. Wrap it from root to end then tie the end of the thread in a knot. It should look like a dread once it’s done. Cut off any excess thread. Wait until the next day to take them out. Taking them out is the fun part. You simply pull the thread and you’ll see your beautiful stretched hair unravel. Be gentle when doing this as you don’t want the thread to cut your hair. Though African threading takes a while, your hair will look even better than if you blow dried.
When trying any of these methods, make sure your hair is detangled. Having stretched but tangled hair is not the wave sis. With these techniques, you can put that hair dryer away and the breakage that it sometimes comes with. Not only that, all of these methods can be worn as a style, so you can stretch your hair safely while styling it.