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Curly Nikki

My Natural Curls Fare Better in Stretched Styles

By January 27th, 202147 Comments

My Natural Curls Fare Better in Stretched Styles
Hola Chicas!

I’ve noticed (and shared on multiple occasions) that my hair fares better when it is dried in a stretched out state (twists, braids, or bantu knots). It prevents tangles, helps me to retain moisture, and reduces splits and single strand knots. Also, as long as I don’t play in the resulting braid or twist out too much, the next detangling session is much less daunting.

When I was a Wash&Go girl, I had a ridiculous amount of mats, knots, and splits. My hair felt drier and the moisture (from wash day) only lasted a day or so. During this phase in my natural journey, my hair never grew past my shoulders.

I’ve seen many a fotki where the chica grew her hair from TWA to mid back length by Wash&Go’ing daily! On the other hand, I’ve seen many naturals that swear by stretched styles.

So which are you? A Wash&Go’er or a Stretcher, and what has your experience been with each?


  • bedsheets says:

    i tried stretching for the first time last night after i did my yogurt and honey treatment. Oh my! my hair loved it and this morning i was able to pull back the sides into a style. Hair type 4 something. My hairdresser thinks it is 3c. No worries. I'll be using the stretching method from now on.

  • Anonymous says:

    this explains why my hair was knotting so much! just realized it's going to be stretching from now on. currently rock an amazing twistout with shea butter and might I say, I look amazing! haha. happy growins, girls

  • Samantha says:

    I'm a stretcher :)
    But I braid, twist or African thread my stretched hair and have it like that for about a week before I take it down, co-wash, stretch and repeat… :)

  • Anonymous says:

    Really? I wash and go every day… I think wash and goes get tangled if you don't re-wet and condition on a daily basis.

  • april says:

    Also, when my hair is stretched, as in being worn in a twistout for a few days, or rewtisting every night or morning to stretch my hair, I've realized that my hair actually gets tangled, and my hair is pretty much chill in regards to becoming tangled.

  • april says:

    My hair definitely grows with wash and goes. This past summer proved just that. I noticed that within a matter of two months my curls began to hang differently because my hair was growing, and I didn't change my conditioner or routine. This is my thing for sure :)

  • jamie says:

    Wash and goes are not an option for me…I must keep my hair stretched to avoid knots and tangle. my hair s either pressed, twist outs, braidouts or flat twists.

  • Anonymous says:

    i don't like stretched out styles as much because those aren't my curls. I LOVE the the long untamable curls that are produced by wash and goes. each curl is unique and captivating.

  • Efe says:

    I'm definitely a stretcher! When I had a twa, I wng'ed all the time. Once I got length, I started braiding my hair to stretch it. After that I usually style my hair into an updo of some sort. My hair is more moisturized and less prone to tangle than when I wnd'ed.

  • Bitty Boss says:

    I am definitely a stretcher! Since I have started drying my hair in a stretched state, detangling on wash days has become much less of a I love my hair.

  • angelarose says:

    I thought the conditioner only method meant that you used conditioner as your only leave-in and quite generously, like the tightly curly method but without defining each curl.

  • Anonymous says:

    Im a wng'er when its warm summer/spring, and a stretcher when its cold fall/winter…

    Wasn n goes keep my hair moisturized and frizz freee when its cold, my hair LOVES humidity, so that why I couldnt even bother to stretch my hair our because it would most likely puff up…

    Stretching is an absolute God send for my hair….it keeps my hair tangle free,and knots, and splits, at bay….when stretching, my hair last longer, enabling me to style my hair weekly…

  • Anonymous says:

    For now, its wng for me. I bc'd on 01/15/10. There's not much more I can do at this point. My hair has grown tremendously since that time. I think she loves the wng method. No fairy knots or anything, just growth.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have done braidouts since BC'ing in December(10 months post relaxer) and it seems my hair is growing quickly. I haven't done a single wash-n-go and don't plan on it.

  • Unknown says:

    I wash n go

    My hair in the back – stretched- is juuuuust bra strap keeps growing :)

    Me an my hair had a GREAT day today! – thank you for the yes to cucumbers!!!!

  • Esther H. says:


    Conditioner only is a method of using (a cone free) conditioner in place of shampoo; massaging in to gently cleanse whenever you wet your hair in the shower.

    Most people who use this method will periodically do a more thorough cleanse using either a sulfate free shampoo or baking soda/acv rinse.

    I think it def helps with wash n gos but depending on the products you use or the behavior of your hair and scalp, one is not necessarily limited to that style.

    As with all beauty regimes, folks tend to modify and some might use cone-laden conditioners, but you don't have to. :)

  • curlygem says:

    I was a wash-n-goer until my hair grew to about 3 inches unstretched. I do more protective styles to stretch my hair and I trim the knots and splits away as I notice them.

  • LBell says:

    For all of 2008 and 2009 I kept my (mostly 4b/4c) hair in a stretched loose state pretty much continuously. I saw more length than ever before but unfortunately the daily manipulation proved to be too much for one specific section, which started breaking off severely. So last month I BC'd, leaving the top longer (about 4") and since then I've been wash-and-going exclusively. I do get the fairy knots on top but since I'm keeping my hair short (for now) I'm not worried because I basically trim them out.

    The reality is that, unless you're intentionally trying to lock your hair, wash-and-gos don't make sense for some people past a certain length. That length varies depending on a lot of things but for me I know that 4" is my limit. I'm really loving my short hair now because it's so much easier and fits much better with my life.

  • Dora says:

    Isn't the conditioner only method meant to be the way to wear wash n gos without tangling, matting etc for up to a week? Anyone doing this or the shingling method successfully? I tried but my hair hates cones.

  • BuenaventuraAvenue says:

    Stretcher since day 1! When my hair was short I always did twistouts to give me chunky fros. Now that it's longer I always do braidouts. To answer Anonymous @ 5:39, I rebraid/twist my hair every night to avoid tangles, to keep it stretched, to retain definition, and so I won't lose moisture. It doesn't have to be the same amount of braids/twists as the original set so long as I maintain my part and braid/twist so the hair goes in the direction I want it to.

    When I wet my hair it forms cute tiny coils but the coils tangle as they dry unless I help them. Letting it dry unhelped (i.e., a wash n go) would be asking for a hellish detangling experience later.

  • Lina40 says:

    i was a stretcher from the get-go.. i think i did a wash n go 2x in my whole natural journey 10+yrs and they were both a bust. Stretching esp. twistouts – save my hair from so much manipulation!

  • Renee says:

    I'm definitely a stretcher. When I had a twa, I wng'ed all the time. Once I got length, I started twisting and haven't looked back. I love my twistouts and can't wait to see how my hair looks once I pass the two year mark in December :)

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm a faithful wash'n'go chick! I can't get the twist thing for the life of me. Its not my style to have them in and when I take them out the front of my hair never looks right.

    Yes, I get fairy knots and I have to stay on top of detangling. However, twisting, braiding and bantuing just isn't for me. My hair usually is dry and breaks.

    I do my hair every 3-7 days. 7 days if I'm being extremely lazy and understand that I'll have to spend more time detangling. I make sure I use products that my hair loves and are moisturizing. I love glycerin, KCCC, and conditioner only method.


  • Anonymous says:

    To The Star: I hope you post again to say how it goes! I have thick tight curls.

    To everyone: When you do a stretched twist out or something, do you have to re-do it every night to continue to avoid the tangles on wash day?

    I've tried doing lots of braids after the wash on wash day, then braid out, then braiding it back in just as many braids every night, and it looks gorgeous but I still get tangles. And I've tried braiding it nicely on wash day, and then just braiding it into two braids during the week, still tangles. It doesn't look as nice this way, looks stringy. Maybe this will change after the BC? Maybe then I can do braid outs without tangles and without putting it in more braids every night?

  • JustTrena says:

    Whew! I thought I was doing something wrong!! I was getting major single-strand knots and although I hate the thought of having to give up my wash-and-gos, (until I figure out a way to avoid the knots!) the knots are winning so I'm on to stretched styles now. I seem to need less trims when I stretch it. *Although my hair does have a tendency to shrink regardless but much less knots when I stretch it after wetting it.

  • Unknown says:

    I BC'd June 7, 2009. So, I'm almost 11 months completely natural and i didn't transition or anything. Straight shaved my head pretty much. I've been doing wash n go's this whole time with nothing but mats, fairy knots, tangles, and NO moisture. So, this morning's shower I did something different. Washed and Conditioned with Hello Hydration, applied some Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding and did flat twist all over while the hair was wet. My hair comes to middle of my neck when stretched in the back and just past my ears on the sides. So, some length, still short, but super thick. Now, my hair is dry and I plan on leaving it like this for at least today. I am doing a trial to see if I come out with better results.
    Does the method I describe sound like what some of you do when aiming to "stretch your hair to dry?" Just want to make sure I'm talking about the right thing!

  • CurlyChronicles says:

    I believe that stretching is actually better for me now that I think about it. When I do washngo's I have to work three times as hard when I do my next detangling session!

  • Anonymous says:

    I stretch. My hair is too long (collar bone length) and thick (type 4)to be dealing with wash and go's

  • mood_indigo says:

    I am a twist out girl through and through! It looks great and will last me for a week.

  • Unknown says:

    I finally tried this wash and go I heard SOO much about and my hair rebeled. It look okay but when the night came and I tried to put my hair into a ponytail it reared back its dry messy head back at me and I had to re-wet to get it to do anything. I don't know if my hair type(3c) or length(brushing shoulder lenght) can deal with that but I will stick my my usual type of style: twisting and or french braiding and leave the wash and go to the short haired sisters.


  • Anonymous says:

    I think as my hair grows longer I am starting to realize that the wash and go is a no-no…too many knots :(

  • Moni says:

    I was all about the W&G when I had a TWA, but now that my hair is longer I have to dry it stretched. I wash in braids or in sections then usually braid it to dry. After it dries, I either wear it as a braidout or style it in protective style.

  • Anonymous says:

    Stretched stretched stretched. I dont do anything to my hair wet…except a rollerset. I was apply leave in clump with my paddle brush air dry then twist or braid or pin curl or bantu knot the next day.

  • Anonymous says:

    I too agree with Poundcake921 and Anonoymous in that my hair is too short (chin length stretched) to benefit from a stretched style but opposite of them, I haven't quite mastered a wash 'n go. So I twist my hair and then wear a twistout but only for 1 day. I have to retwist it the same night to maintain any sort of definition otherwise, (God forbid) if I sleep in my bonnet or my satin pillow case, my hair looks like the microphone cover that Ms. Tiffany mentions (LOL).

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been unable to master any of the stretched out protective hairstyles (e.g, twist outs, braid outs), so I either W&G, roller set or wear a bun or afro puff. Every time I try twists/braidouts, my hair comes out extremely dry and/or fuzzy looking. I haven't given up though. Hopefully, one day I will be successful. Until then …

  • luvinlife225 says:

    I was a W&G chick for months after my BC and my hair grew and grew but it was always so, so dry. In recent months started stretching my hair regularly with twists and bantu knots and my hair is loving it! It's much happier all around so this is what I’ll do from here on out.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with Poundcake921. As of right now my Wash n go's are my staple and I do them daily. I just BC'd a lil over a month ago and my hair is about ear length when shrunken so it, is still pretty short. When I tried stretched styles my hair would get dry and tangled quickly. The style also didn't last very long.

  • Tiffany says:

    I tend to be a stretcher (when I actually *do* something with my hair). My hair isn't great at clumping because I have different textures scattered throughout so my wash-and-gos don't look that great: they just look fuzzy. I get way less knotting when I do twists or a loose low ponytail for a couple of days and it seems to stay much softer (and my hair looks less like a microphone cover).

  • belle says:

    I'm a stretcher for sure. 99% of the time I'm wearing a twistout, and the 1% of the time I'm not, it's pulled back in a puff.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love the look of wash-n-gos, but unfortunately I haven't found the technique (or products) to get the look to last or stay moisturized longer than two days without cowashing and starting over again.
    I can stretch a braidout 5-7 days before cowashing again. For me, the convenience of a braidout can't be beat.

  • Milan says:

    The first 6 months of my naturalness, wash n go's were my homies. After 6 months, I was getting fairy knots like crazy and had to cease and desist. So now my hair fares best in stretched styles. I experience virturally no knotting and I can moisturize my hair better.

  • Poundcake921 says:

    I only BC'd approx 3 months ago….so wash-n-gos are my staple hairstyle…I'm the opposite of what the writer posted…my hair seems to be more dried out when I do twist outs as opposed to wash-n-go's…maybe bc my hair is still in TWA phase….I can't wait til it grows longer so that I can successfuly try more streched styles!

  • MsCrystal says:

    I totally agree. My hair does much better with semi-dried, stretched styles.

    After washing my hair, I detangle with conditioner, place in about 8 big loose twists, let the conditioner sit for 30-40 mins with plastic cap (sometimes under dryer or with hot towel wrapped around it), wash out while still in twists (leave a little conditioner in hair), go through each twist to separate hair and place on rollers (this part only takes about 10 mins because it is already detangled). After finishing that, I will have about 20-25 rollers in my head. Air dry for about 4 hours. Then, I twist with product, and my twists always last at least a week until I twist-out.

  • Mzbush says:

    Since I started stretching my hair, I haven't looked back. It makes all the difference. My styles last way longer and the maintenance is 100% easier. I think my length retention has improved by stretching too!

  • Anonymous says:

    When my hair was much shorter, I was a wash and goer…but now that I have so much length, and endless style possibilities I am stretcher. And I love it.

  • Patrice-The Soap Seduction says:

    I have to agree with you that my hair fares much better when it's dried and stretched, but I'm so busy that on the first day or two after I wash my hair, it's basically a wash and go. My hair is shrunken and dry no matter how much moisture I put in it. By the 3rd day, I can't stand it, so I end up doing a twist out.

  • modest-goddess says:

    The first year my hair grew fine with wash n goes but now that my hair is longer than 6 inches it tangles easy so I try to do more stretched styles

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