If you have curls, coils or waves then you are probably very familiar with the term shrinkage. Most of us have it but the problem arises when your shoulder length hair turns into a TWA. As cute as the TWA look is, if you’ve worked hard to get the length, then you probably want to show it off from time to time. Here are some ways to stretch your coils and show off that length!
This method is great for stretching the hair without straightening it since it’s simple to do and doesn’t involve heat of any kind. All you will need are some small seamless hair bands. Start off by separating a small section of your hair and loosely securing the rest of your hair so that it does not get in the way. Then take your first hair band and secure it at the base of your hair. Take the next one and secure it around the same section about an inch above the first hair band. Continue to do this all the way to the end or leave about 2 inches of hair at the end to preserve the curl pattern if you are trying to stretch a wash and go or braid/twist-out.
It’s important to note that if you’re using this method to dry your hair or stretch it for a style like twists, then you should detangle first to remove any knots and ensure that the hair gets as stretched as it can. However, if you are using this method to stretch a wash and go or other style, then do not detangle before hand and try to do very little to manipulate the hair in order to maintain your curl pattern. Lastly, remember that the closer together the hair bands the more stretched the hair will be.
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Begin by separating a small section of your hair and tying off the rest loosely. Then take that smaller section and loosely braid it all the way to the end, or leave about 2 inches of hair at the end to preserve the curl pattern if you are trying to stretch a wash and go or braid/twist-out. I to do this method on an old wash and go that has already lost most of its definition because it tends to distort my curl pattern and change my wash and go coils into braid out waves. Therefore, if you want to maintain your curl pattern, then ensure that you braid very loosely.
Try as we might, there will come a time in our life when our hair gets as dry and as hard as a brick. This is our hair’s way of crying out for some special treatment, so every now and again we should set aside some spa time for our hair and consider using one of the following conditioning treatments, many of which have a 'softening' side effect.
The humectants in this treatment draw moisture from the atmosphere and into your hair to make it softer and more manageable. Some women also claim that it even elongates and loosens their curls, but I didn’t get that same result. For this treatment you will need:
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 3 jars of banana baby food (it is important to use this as pureed bananas can be very hard to wash out…trust me)
- 1/4 cup of Blackstrap molasses
- 1/4 cup of olive oil (or any other oil of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- An applicator brush
For those of you who don’t already know, the Cherry Lola treatment was created by a blogger of the same name. She figured that since hair is just protein and protein is made from amino acids, the remedy for damaged hair should involve putting the protein back into it. That is where the liquid amino acid comes in. Whether or not the science behind it is valid, I do not know, but what I do know is that many women, including myself, who have tried the treatment have noticed softer, curlier more manageable hair with slight curl loosening. All you will need is:
- 2 cups of organic plain yogurt
- 10 tbsp of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (this can be found at most health food stores near the soy sauce)
- 2 ½ -3 tbsp of baking soda or enough to aerate it and turn it foamy
It’s important to note that some women use a lot less Braggs and baking soda (about 2 tablespoons of each) than Miss Lola and leave the treatment in for less time (about 15 minutes) to avoid protein overload. I followed the original directions and suffered no ill effects, but my hair loves protein.
The measurements and instructions are taken from her video found here.
Henna and cassia have long since been talked about in the natural hair community for their ability to loosen curl patterns to give the hair more hang time, and for their ability to soften hair and give it brilliant shine. CurlyNikki is often thought of as the queen on henna and has a great method outlined on her blog as well as a pictorial.
Coconut milk Treatment
When the topic of curl loosening or softening is brought up, the coconut milk treatment is almost always mentioned because of its effectiveness. This treatment can be done using ingredients probably already in your pantry and it really softens the hair. I have tried this treatment many times. and each and every time I’m left with really soft hair. So if you are interested in doing this treatment then you will need:
- A can of coconut milk
- 2 tbsp of honey
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil or any other oil of your choice
- 4 tbsp plain organic yoghurt
- The juice of one lime
- Cornstarch to thicken
So just remember that when your hair shrinks up and decides to fight back the answer is merely a hair band away or tucked away in your pantry.
Full fat yogurt pre-poos (15 minutes before my wash, mixed with a conditioner) not only help the detangling process, but clumps and stretches my curls a bit post wash. Please, PLEASE wash it out thoroughly or your dry curls will smell of assvomit. I also find that henna loosens my tight s-waves in the front and sides of my head but the 'O' shaped coils in the back are left #OnAndPopping. Of course, damp or dry twist and braid-outs are probably the best way to achieve a bigger/more elongated curl, albeit short lived. Good luck and have fun with the versatility!