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What Is Stretched Hair?

Stretched hair is hair that has been elongated. Curly and coily hair naturally shrink, so stretching the hair can make styling faster or help your little one achieve their desired look. For example, stretching an afro can make a bigger fro.

Is It Better To Stretch Wet Or Dry Hair?

Wet (or damp)! Here’s why… Have you noticed hair immediately after a shower appears longer? That’s because the detangling process along with the weight of water help the hair to hang. To prevent the shrinkage that occurs during the air-drying process, you can use your preferred stretching method. Stretching the hair will help it dry at its longer (versus shrunken) state.

How To Stretch Hair?

You can stretch the hair with or without heat. For example, blow drying the hair (with a brush or comb) naturally releases the curl/coil and will make the hair appear longer. For those that prefer heatless methods - braids, twists, buns, bantu knots, banding, clipping, and pineapples can also stretch the hair. These styles will temporarily mold the hair into a new shape and/or pattern. You just have to make sure the style completely dries before undoing it. This means letting the hair fully air-dry after a couple of hours or days. If the hair is wet or slightly damp, it may attempt to revert to its natural curl pattern.

Different methods will achieve different results. For example, a braid out, will result in crimped hair, twist out wavy hair, bantu knots will create spirals, and the blow out leaves a stretched puff. Some are obsessed with these different looks exactly the way they are, but you can take the stretched hair to another level by dry brushing with a detangling brush. Dry brushing is simply brushing the twist out or braid out. This brushing will again remove the wave, spiral, or curl to lengthen the hair even more.

You’re essentially stretching the hair in multiple stages so that the stretching process is gentle on the scalp and curls.

Is Stretching Hair Painful?

It shouldn't be. But it depends on the child, their scalp sensitivities, and your ability to be gentle. In our home, we love bantu knots because it's such a cute style that's quick and isn't tight.

How Long Is Stretched Hair?

It depends on how much shrinkage your little one has. If their hair shrinks 60% or 80% expect double the length or more. If the hair only shrinks 20%, expect a slight elongation.

Does Stretching Damage The Natural Curl?

Using too much heat when blow drying can alter the curl over time. It can fry the hair if too hot or cause it to lose its curl. Similarly banding or braiding too tight can injure the scalp. The blessing is there are so many methods to try. If you notice any discomfort from your child, try something else. A healthy stretching routine will lead to curls and coils that happily bounce back after a good wash.

Why Stretch The Hair Before Braiding?

Stretching the hair before braiding loosens or removes the natural curl pattern. The result is a tighter and smoother braid that doesn’t have any random curls or waves popping out of it. In other words, stretched hair can create a more predictable and uniformed braid. Plus braiding on stretched hair can reduce the amount of times your fingers get tangled or caught in a curl. Please know that both can achieve absolutely beautiful results, it just depends on the desired look you are going for.

Stretched and detangled braid vs non detangled natural braid

What’s The Difference Between Stretched Hair and Straight Hair?

Straight hair may not hold a natural style. For example, the straight ends may just unravel. Stretched hair is still textured. This trait makes it naturally better at holding braids, twists, and bantu knots without needing assistance from accessories like hair ties, rubber bands, or bobbie pins.

In summary, stretched hair is used to achieve ...

  • Quicker styles

  • Uniformed styles

  • Longer styles

  • Bigger styles

  • A new look

Mentioned Products

What's your favorite way to stretch hair?

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

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