2. Twists, braids, or banding (Heatless)
These are the methods I use. Not because I am anti-heat, but just because my hair likes it better.
a. Twists and Braids
This is pretty simple. Wash the hair, detangle, seal in moisture with your favorite oil or butter, then twist or braid. Flat twists and cornrows stretch the hair better than free form twists and braids. (But be that as it may, I cannot flat twist to save my life so it’s free form for the ol’ Ashter.)
The Hair will stretch more if you wait until it is about 70% dry before twisting or braiding. For a more defined look, make smaller twists/braids.
If you plan on doing something else to it, such as putting it in a bun or updo, big twists will suffice. Pictured above are what mine usually look like. It doesn’t take as long as one might think, once you get the hang of it.
b. My version of Banding
Banding is when you take all of your hair, or sections of it, and wrap elastic bands around it in order to keep the hair from moving (and thus shrinking) as it dries.
I do this occasionally if I am on the run, for instance if I only have an hour to shower and wash my hair before I have to be somewhere. Read about my regimen here, dry her as much as I can with a black t-shirt.
Then, when she’s still damp but not dripping, I seal the moisture in with my olive(affiliate link)/jojoba oil(affiliate link) mix, and throw her into a puff as far back as it will go (But not too tightly!). This will keep her from shrinking as much as if I just did a wash and go.
I usually will twist her later, because she’ll still be damp enough hours later for me to do so. This is my version of banding, because I would tear my hair out doing it the traditional way. To each his own, right?
The main constant in both heat and heatless stretching, as well as allowing your hair to shrink, is moisture. No matter what you decide to do, your hair will not be happy if it is not moisturized.
Perhaps you are like me and find that it is easier to maintain moisture when your hair is stretched. Or you could be the opposite, and find that the manipulation of stretching isn’t right for you.
Now, I am by no means a one-hair-rule-fits all type of person. As a matter of fact, I hate hair “rules”. Yes, you can heat stretch your hair and then twist/braid it. Yes, you can twist/braid your hair and then sit under a hood dryer. (Although I don’t use heat anymore, hooded dryers were soooooo relaxing to me.) It really depends on what works for you, and what you prefer.
What are your thoughts on shrinkage, Beauties? If you do stretch your hair, what methods do you use?
Originally posted 2012-05-12 19:00:47.