Why Keep Your Natural Curls Stretched?

Naturally kinky hair is easily identified by shrinkage, which is also a sign of healthy elasticity. So, the question is, “Do we embrace the shrinkage or should it become a regular practice of stretching kinky hair?” Read on for both perspectives.

stretching natural hair

Before getting into why stretching kinky hair may be a good practice, let’s look at some common questions related to the practice.

Does Stretching Your Hair Damage It?

One of the biggest concerns ladies with naturally kinky hair have is, “Will stretching my hair damage it?”

Let’s get this one out of the way. The answer can go either way. Yes but also no.

If your response to that statement is “Huh? How sway?” Then, allow me to explain.

Stretching your hair can damage it if any of the following factors come into play:

  • You pull your hair too tight (not taut) when you stretch it. This is too much stress on the hair. Stress causes breakage.
  • Your hair is very dry aka not moisturized when you’re stretching it.
  • You’re using a lot of heat to stretch your hair.
  • You’re stretching your hair too often.

Let me explain the last one. The other factors are self explanatory.

By stretching kinky hair too often; I don’t mean you can’t do it as often as every wash day. On the contrary, it should be done every wash day because that is when you have the most shrinkage taking place.

To be clear, after you stretch your hair on wash day, you don’t want to be stretching it every night. Natural kinky hair doesn’t need to be completely stretched out. It just needs to be stretched enough so it doesn’t tangle too much upon itself.

If you stretch your hair every night, you are over-stretching it and weakening your hair’s natural elasticity. This will lead to breakage.

As you can see, there’s more than one way you can damage your natural hair by stretching it. If you don’t do these things, you’ll be good.

Does Stretching Natural Hair Help It Grow?

The next common question some kinky naturals have is, “Does stretching natural hair help it to grow?”

This is an easy straight to the point answer. Semantics aside, the answer is no.

This may not be as apparent to all but since hair grows from the scalp, it’s not possible for it to grow by simply stretching it out.

What happens when you stretch your hair is you make it appear longer by cutting back the shrinkage. No pun intended.

Cut the shrinkage and you greatly reduce the instance of tangling and breakage.

If you’ve read this far then you have just discovered the why behind why stretching kinky hair is a good idea. It’s all about length retention.

Why Stretch Natural Hair?

So, the simple reason naturally kinky hair needs to be stretched is shrinkage causes the hair to become tangled and knotted. Knots and tangles cause breakage. If not breakage, then you will have to cut your hair to remove knots.

If you are trying to grow your hair, it’s less about growing the hair and more about retaining the length you grow. That’s because all hair grows.

It doesn’t typically need help to do so. God designed us to grow, shed and grow more hair. This is the natural order of things. When there’s a disruption to that natural order, then you will need help with the hair growth.

For the purpose of this article, let’s assume the natural order is in place.

Hair grows. One way to help you retain that length that you are growing is to keep your hair stretched.

How to Stretch Afro Kinky Hair

We just looked at how stretching your hair can cause it to break. We also dispelled the myth that stretching your hair makes it grow.

Since it’s all about length retention, how can we make stretching our hair part of our regimen?

The routine of stretching your hair can be done in a number of ways. You can try the various ways to see which you prefer and which method causes the least amount of stress on your hair.

Here are some stretching methods you can try:

  • African threading
  • Banding
  • Braiding
  • Twisting
  • Roller/Rod sets
  • Curlformer sets
  • Tension blow drying
  • Flat ironing
  • Doing hair knots/Bantu knots
  • Stretching with satin strips

To read more about these stretching techniques, check out this article:

Stretching Natural Hair Without Heat – This article includes an overview of the ways you can stretch your hair with heat as well

stretching kinky hair

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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