One of the many wonders of natural hair is its ability to defy gravity. It can grow down towards the Earth and up to the sun, sprouting rays of sunshine in every direction.
As a curly girl, you have infinite possibilities with your hair. But sometimes you want to channel that energy in one particular direction or another.
Which brings us to hair stretching.
What is hair stretching? Hair stretching is the process of elongating your natural hair to keep the curls in a less tightly coiled state. There are many methods to stretch the hair, including methods that involve heat and methods that are heatless. It is often recommended to give preference to heatless methods in order to avoid potential heat damage that can arise when too much heat is applied to the hair.
What are effective natural hair stretching tools?
- Rubber Bands/Elastics
You also have the option to use hair stretching methods such as:
- Bantu Knots
- African hair threading
You might be wondering why go through all of the trouble of stretching your hair? Why not just let it dry in its shrunken state?
Is hair stretching good?
Well, truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with wearing your hair in it’s shrunken state.
From beachy waves to curly afro, there’s beauty in it all.
However, the more tightly coiled your hair is, the more susceptible it can be to tangles and knots. And this is a troublesome thing because it can make detangling a time intensive process. It can also lead to breakage if you’re not patient. Sometimes you can remove tiny knots if you have the patience and if they are loose enough to work out. But sometimes they are too tiny to work out and have to be cut out. Too much of this can and will affect the overall length of your hair. If it gets out hand can lead to reduced fullness and unevenness.
Thus, anything to reduce knots and tangles is a good thing.
That’s when hair stretching really works its magic.
Besides this fact, hair stretching is a very practical way to retain some of the length of tightly coiled hair, keeping the true length of the hair visible.
Many naturalists use hair braiding and twist-outs to stretch the hair. We are going to build upon that method by focusing on adding weights to the ends of the hair for added length retention.
This article focuses on heatless methods to stretch the hair. Particularly using hair weights as an effective hair stretching tool.
I was in the market for some hair stretching tools recently and I could not find anything to fit the bill. The tools that I came across where either bulky and cumbersome or prohibitively expensive. So i decided to get creative and make my own. And now I’m going to take you over the shoulder for a little DIY tutorial on how to create your own hair stretching tools at home for your natural hair.
So if you want to:
✓ Stretch your hair at home
✓ Stretch your hair without heat
✓ Stretch your hair when wet
You’re in the right place.
You can find the necessary materials at your local craft store or beauty supply or probably a Target or Walmart. It’s really simple and easy to make.
Materials that you’re going to need for making your hair stretching tools are:
- jump rings
- necklace or bracelet pendants
- snap clips with hole at the tip
And that’s it!
I happened to have some pendants around the house already. I originally bought them because I thought I was going to make bracelets with them. It turns out I never made the bracelets and so I happen to have the pendants but if you go to your local craft store you should be able to find something suitable. I also went to a local store (I think it was the Dollar Tree) and they had snap clips that had the holes in them so i was able to find those pretty easily as well.
1. Open up the jump ring with my pliers
Open up the jump ring slightly. The best trick for using jump rings is not to pull it apart. You want to want it to slide the ends past one another, as opposed to pulling it apart so that you don’t bend the shape of the circle. Because if you manipulate the jump ring by bending it out of shape, the circle will become distorted and it’s really hard to get it back into that perfect circle.
So just remember don’t pull it apart, slide it apart if that makes sense.
2. Slide the pendant on
3. Stick the jump ring through the little circle at the tip of the snap clip
4. Use the pliers to close the jump ring
And that’s really all there is to it. I had a set of 10 snap clips so I made 10 hair stretching weights. And the idea is to install them the same way you would put a barrette on the end of your hair. Although it’s not really for sporting as a full on hairstyle BUT if you make them cute enough you can you can wear them outside as well.
The purpose here is just to have a little weight on the ends of your twists or braids or whatever hairstyle that you’re creating where you want to keep some of your length visible. The kinkier or curlier or coily-er your hair is the more it’ll shrink as it dries.
And I know that a lot of us naturals like to keep that length visible. This is one way to stretch your hair without resorting to heat of any kind.
If you’re planning to stay in for the evening you can go ahead and use your hair stretching tools and get some damage-free elongation.
Note: I did sleep on these overnight and had no problem.
Just to give you a point of reference here the weight of the pendants that i’m using is about 0.2 ounces which is about as heavy as a nickel. Not a whole lot of weight but enough to give you some weight on the end of your twists.
After washing, conditioning and flat twisting my hair you’ll see that my hair is pretty even all around. Next I put the snap clips on the ends of my flat twists . You’ll see that the pendant is at the end along with the part where the fasteners are. The metal rings are not actually on my hair, they are at the tip of the clip and not where my hair is at.
I’m wrapping my hair just a bit around the top which is the wider part of the snap clip.
I put the hair stretching barrettes on the ends of about two-thirds of my hair on the sides. I wanted to compare to see how much they would effectively stretch my hair. That is why you’ll see them on one side and not on the other.
Even before I’ve finished installing the hair weights my hair already is starting to shrink. One side is clearly shorter than the other. We will see afterwards how much of a stretch, if any, did it achieve.
The next morning I take the clips out. I slept on the barrettes and I did not have any problem whatsoever. They were not uncomfortable. However, I did lose two. One broke before I even went to bed one and one fell off in my sleep. So all in all we had two casualties between when we installed the hair stretching tools and when we woke up in the morning.
Check out the rest of the video to see the results…
I hope this has been helpful, leave a comment if you plan to try this hair stretching method. Until next time, Be Well.