Tag Archives: curlformers

How to stretch your hair without using heat (updated).

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Shrinkage is no fun when hair becomes unmanageable, knotted and prone to breakage. Stretched hair is more pliable and easier to manage, plus, you get to show off more length.  When I first went natural I thought my only option was to blow dry my hair out, after every wash. Too much heat led to dry hair and slight heat damage. There are many methods of stretching the hair without having to rely on heat. Here are some old ideas revisited plus some new ones.

Shrinkage

Shrinkage

Braids and Twists

This is the most common method. Hair is put into medium to large braids or twists to wear in a stretched out style, such as a braid out or twist out.  If this is done after washing, larger twists or braids can be done and kept in overnight; this will be a quick way to stretch the hair for easier styling the next day.  If you do braids or twists on dry hair (other than a light spray of water), this will stretch the hair out even more.

Bandingbands

Purchase a packet of hair bands, preferably the seamless, snag proof ones.  After washing, divide hair into medium-sized sections (usually 8-10).  Then band each section, working from the roots to tips. Each band should be an inch or so apart. Here is a good tutorial on banding.

 I enjoyed this method but it was a little time-consuming. I have only tried it once.  It’s good for achieving a heatless blowout.  I found that it took a while to dry, especially the sections of hair covered by the bands.  Covering your head with a satin scarf will delay the drying further.  Leave your head uncovered and sleep on a  satin pillow case,  or cover your pillow with your satin scarf.

 Buns

After I take my hair down from a bun, it is always stretched out.  My hair is most stretched after being in a low bun.  I put my hair in a low ponytail, then  braid the ponytail and tuck it under into a bun.  This can be tricky with thick hair, so you can do two or three large braids to make it easier.  After taking down the bun and finger combing my hair slightly, my hair looks like a blowout.

You can also put your hair into two low buns after washing, and leave it overnight. This will stretch it out for the next day. Top knots, high buns and doughnut buns also work well for stretching the hair.

 Roller sets

Putting your hair in large rollers and sitting under a hooded dryer  (or air drying), leaves the hair stretched.  It may even look like it has been straightened or at least blown out.  Again, this may be time-consuming, but should leave you with stretched out hair for a week or even longer.

 Roll tuck and pin

A quick and convenient protective style, that can be done after washing.  If done after washing, your hair will be stretched when it is dry.  This can work with shorter hair as well, but it may require the use of more pins.  Invest in some strong hair pins!

Kimmaytube has a great tutorial on this.

 French braids

It is best to do this on damp hair that is more pliable.  If done on dry hair there may be too much manipulation involved, especially if your hair is in a shrunken state.  After taking your hair down from a French braid, it will be wavy and elongated, with a flat twist out appearance. You could do two French braids on either side, one large braid down the middle, or a bohemian braid around your head to frame your face.

french braid hair

 Heatless blowout

This can be achieved by finger combing your hair or gently using a wide tooth comb, after it has been in an old twist out or braid out. Or after it has been in curlformers, rollers or flexi rods. Before washing your hair you can wear it in as a blown out style without the use of heat.

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My heatless blowout

Stretching out your hair leads to greater manageability and less breakage when styling. The kinkier your hair is, the more you will benefit from wearing stretched out styles. It can also help to reduce single strand knots and  tangling.  How do you stretch out your hair? Share your ideas below.

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The Versatility of Natural Hair (Part 2)

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If you haven’t seen part 1 check it out. Here are some more examples of why natural hair is so versatile. It certainly dispels the myth that I had when my hair was relaxed, that you can’t do as much with natural hair. I haven’t covered everything as there are many more styles and techniques I am yet to discover myself. I hope this inspires you and really gets you to explore the different styling options available to you. Of course the beauty of natural hair is that it can be straightened as well. The only difference is that it isn’t permanent (if you take care when doing it). So  you can try out all these different styles and still straighten your hair occasionally or wear wigs and weaves. There are many options available to women with natural hair.

Puffs

This is definitely my back-up style. If all else fails I just put my hair in a puff.  I also found this style suitable for work and very convenient to do in the morning. You can cut off the leg of an old pair of tights or pantyhose and use that to put your hair in a puff.  Or you could use a stretchy headband. I use the Goody brand.  You don’t need to gel your hair back first, you could just use Shea Butter or Aloe Vera gel  to smooth your edges.

Side puffs

High Puffs

Normal Puffs

Curl formers

I haven’t actually tried these myself (curl formers are expensive!) but they show how versatile natural hair is. Check out these tutorials.

Short hair

Long hair

Flexi rods

Again I never thought it was possible to put natural hair in rollers or rods (I know, silly right?). I thought perhaps natural hair was too thick to stay in the rods and that our natural curl pattern would interfere somehow.  Anyway, below is my favourite flexi rod tutorial. These styles would be great for special occasions. Putting your hair in flexi rods or curlformers also helps to stretch out your hair, so you could take advantage of this by doing a twist-out or braid-out afterwards. It will turn out great with stretched hair.

Updos/buns

Great for work and formal occasions. There are so many updo styles I can’t list all of them in one post! Below are some of my favourite ones.

High bun

High bun (without donut piece)

Grecian inspired French twist

This is one of my favourite protective styles.  It is easy and quick to do and lasts for about one week. I can’t really do one big twist all the way around my head so I do two on either side.  Check out the tutorial below.

Cornrows and Flat Twists

These are great for protective styles and when you are transitioning.  I have started cornrowing my hair and it is a skill I really want to develop. I believe it is a skill that will come in handy when you have children. YouTube is great for learning how to cornrow and flat twist.  Below is a picture of a style I achieved through following a tutorial. The video taught me how to section my hair before cornrowing. Although it was a style done one a child’s hair,  I thought I’d give it a go, and I was happy with the results. Unfortunately that YouTube account has since been closed.

Cornrowed Bun

If you are feeling really creative natural hair is so versatile you could try out all sorts of styles with cornrows and flat twists.  You can even create your own styles when you become really good at it. Who knows what you could come up with? All it takes is practice and creativity and you could practically learn anything with YouTube

Felicia Leatherwood Cornrowed Updo

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Mini twists

This style is great for going on holiday or for when you miss your hair resting on the back of your neck. Mini twists are a good low manipulation style, meaning that once they are done you can leave your hair alone for a while. I usually try to keep them in for a month. You can wash and deep condition your hair in mini twists and you can curl them and try out different styles. Check out Naptural85’s tutorials and styling ideas on mini twists.

The Afro!

No explanation needed.

I hope this has been helpful. Share your favourite hair styling ideas here and anything I may have missed. I’m sure there is a lot more to discover.