- Easing the detangling process, and decreasing the amount of breakage from tangles.
- Providing flexible styling options — transitioners can enjoy twist-outs, braid-outs, bantu knot-outs, Curlformers, flexi rods, and more on stretched hair.
- Allowing you to show more length. One of the hardest things about transitioning is when that shrinkage kicks in around months 4 and 5 — your hair begins to seem shorter than it was. It can be quite a shock to ladies used to seeing longer, flowing locks as their hair grows. Stretching will help ease that.
How can you safely stretch your hair and prevent breakage at the same time? Here are 3 gentle ways to make it happen.
Banding is my favorite stretching method. I used it as a transitioner to stretch my braid-outs and other styles that had shrunken too much, and I also used it prior to doing other styles like Curlformers. Banding is really simple — you just grab a section of hair and a few ouchless scrunchies and go to work! The larger the section and space between scrunchies, the less stretch you’ll have. Smaller sections and more scrunchies closer together will result in a more stretched, blown out result. To ensure that your banding is a success, make sure you:
- Use ouchless scrunchies to ensure that you don’t end up with breakage and hair caught metal clasps.
- Moisturize sections properly prior to banding to prevent breakage.
- Don’t wrap the scrunchies too tightly at the roots. Your edges will thank you.
- Make sure hair is dry prior to releasing the scrunchies. Otherwise, your hair will shrink right back up.
- Remove scrunchies with extreme care. Otherwise, you run the risk of snagging and breakage
2. Tension Blow Drying
Using the blow dryer is another popular way to stretch transitioning hair. But because it involves heat, transitioners should proceed with extreme caution. Instead of running a paddle brush and concentrator nozzle through the hair or using the comb attachment itself, the tension method will help ensure stretched hair without incurring extra damage to the hair. To use the tension method, simply part your hair into sections. One section at a time, pull the hair taut (not yanking it) and move the blow dryer (without an attachment or with the concentrator nozzle), up and down the length of the hair (without the dryer coming into contact with the hair). You can use the tension method on wet or dry hair. Once the section is stretched, twist it loosely or clip it away. To keep breakage and damage at bay:
- Use a leave-in, heat protectant, or blow-drying cream to delay water loss from within the cortex of the hair, helping to maintain elasticity and internal moisture balance.
- Keep the blow dryer moving, and do not stay in one section for too long (to prevent hair from drying out).
- Make sure you’re deep conditioning regularly to maintain moisture, elasticity, cuticle health, and prevent heat damage, breakage, and split ends.
3. Roller Sets
Another great 2-for-1 stretching method is roller sets. While I failed wildly in executing my roller set, I do know that plenty of transitioners have used this method to show off their length while also getting a great stretch and style from their hair. To pull off a great roller set (the total opposite of mine), check out this post on CurlyNikki! Although I can’t tell you how to do one successfully, I can tell you what not to do:
- Don’t use too much product. Stick, tack, and shellac city.
- Make sure the hair lies flush along the roller, for the sleekest results.
- Hair should be pulled taut at the roots, to ensure elongation and smoothness.
- Make sure your rollers are secure! There’s no quicker style killer than a halfway dry roller that falls off and leaves you with frizzy hair (and that’s not the look you’re going for).