Fine natural hair is the most fragile of all hair types.
It tangles easily and is most prone to breakage than any other hair type. That’s why one of the best ways to preserve fine hair and prevent it from breaking is to keep it stretched. Stretching naturalhair helps reduce the risk of it tangling up as much as if it were in it’s curliest state. It’s also a bit easier to manage.
Stretching naturall hair can be done in many many ways. Here are some of the popular methods:
African Threading – a method that requires the use of smooth thread to wrap around sections of hair from root to tip. The more sections wrapped, the more the hair is stretched overall.
Banding – Similar to the threading method in how the hair is stretched, banding utilizes elastic bands (preferably seamless) to stretch the hair. Like threading, the bands are wrapped around sections of hair from root to tip. Securing the bands in this manner allows the hair to stretch out because it’s being pulled taut.
Braiding/Twisting – Putting hair in braids or twists to stretch out the strands while air drying. Hair can be braided or twisted while damp for faster drying time. If stretching and pinning the braids/twists around the head is done, the hair will be more stretched.
Roller/Rod Setting – Using hair rollers, flexi rods, Curlformers or any other typle of hair roller to stretch the hair out, while simultaneously creating elongated curls. When using this method, hair can then be wrapped and pinned to remove the roller set curl for an even more stretched appearance.
Tension Blow Drying– Working with hair in sections, hair is held taut at the ends while a warm//hot hair dryer is angled to run up and down the hair shaft. The result is blown out, stretched hair. This method can also be used with a blow dryer set with cool air but it takes a lot longer to do.
Flat Ironing – Using a heat straightening appliance to pass through sections of the hair to stretch out any visible curl pattern. This is obviously the method also used to make hair very straight but not the kindest for fine strands.
SSS Plates – Wet/damp hair is stretched and clamped down on plastic plates and released when dried. The result is super stretched hair with a slightly visible curl pattern remaining
Obviously, not all of these methods are good for fine natural hair due to the use of heat involved in those processes.
In addition to the hair stretching methods above, there’s three more methods (lesser known) that can effectively stretch natural hair in a way that’s gentle and does not require the use of heat. This is exactly what’s needed to achieve a solid stretch on fine natural hair without risking breakage.
The Coil Pin Stretch Method
This method of stretching does leave a bit of texture to the hair but it’s a stretched texture, making the hair appear curly but in an elongated way.
Items needed: seamless elastic bands and bobby pins
- On freshly washed and conditioned hair that’s damp (not wet), hair is secured in ponytails with seamless elastic bands.
- The hairs of each individual pontail are then stretched and twined in the same way that you would twine hair being set for finger coils.
- The coiled section of hair is then stretched across the head and pinned in place.
- Allow hair to dry before unpinning and releasing the bands.
* This method is great to prep for other hairstyles that you’d like to have a bit of texture to.
The Double Knot Stretch
A surprisingly effective stretch, I stumbled on this method by accident when securing it after washinging and not being ready to style.
Items needed: Puff Cuff Minis, optional: bobby pins, brush
- On freshly cleansed/conditioned hair, split hair into two even sections.
- On one side, gather the hair in that section into your hands while smoothing the section.
- Hold section tight while twinding the hair in one direction as if to create a bantu knot.
- Wrap the twinded hair around into a small knot
- Secure with the Puff Cuff mini. For a more secure hold, use bobby pins
* This method also works on dry hair that you want to stretch out. You just need to finger detangle your hair a bit for a more effective stretch.
The Satin Strip Ponytail Method
Of the three little known heat free natural hair stretching methods, this by far yields the most stretch.
Items needed: long cut strips of satin in varying sizes, seamless elastic bands
On freshly washed and conditioned hair, optional: work a light oil throughout the hair (this helps with moisture retention and shine).
- Section hair into 4 sections
- Secure each section with seamless elastic band, creating four ponytails
- Tie a strip of satin over the top of the elastic band to secure
- Wrap the satin strip aroud the section of hair overlapping the satin from the top to the middle and tie off the strip.
- Tie another strip of satin where the first strip ends repeating the process until you reach the end of the ponytail. Then, tie off to secure (optional: another elastic band may be used to hold the end of the satin strip in place)
- Repeat the process for the other 4 sections
- Tie hair down with a satin scarf to allow hair to dry and set over night
Note: Satin strips should be wrapped snuggly but not tight
Utilizing heat free mthods to stretch natural hair, epecially fine natural hair, is the most gentle way and should be done as much as possible to reduce the risk of tangling which can lead to breakage.
Have you tried any of these hair stretching methods?