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By Gabrielle of

A common question is get is about that damn sinister villain of natural hair…… shrinkage.

Y’all know what I’m talking about. You flat iron your hair and it’s hitting your knees but once you wet it, it looks like you just cut your hair 2 months ago…. yeah that.

Well here are some easy ways you can reduce that dang blasted shrinkage

1. Style Dry Hair

I’m not saying rip through your hair but what I am saying is while it’s damp or wet, detangle it and seperate in in braids. That way when you take it down, its dry and tangle free. A tip; clamp your roots with metal hair clips if you don’t want them to puff up.

2. Braid Your Hair While Its Damp

This has to be my go-to lazy style when I don’t feel like doing my hair lol. If it’s damp and I just can’t think of what to do with it, I braid it up and take it down the next morning. Beautiful braidouts everytime.

3. Lightly Blowdry

I know I know.. heat = the devil of natural hair. But that’s not always the case. It’s all in how you use it and whether you know what your doing. Blow dry on warm (NOT high) heat, use a heat protectant, and once your done, style as you see fit.

4. Bantu Knots

You can also dry your hair in medium to large bantu knots. You can either wear that as a style or take them down and style as you see fit

5. Flat Braids and Flat Twists

These don’t have to be picture perfect but if you know how to do this or know someone who does, give it a try! Take them down and style as needed.

Ladies, how do you stretch your hair?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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36 Comments on "5 Ways to Stretch Natural Hair"

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my curls are superr tight! Wash and go is a nono for me so I moisturize band let it air dry maybe 50% and lightly blow out and leave it a week this seems to work for me and my curls always come back

Karen Rowland

Sorry gave wrong email address on above post

Here! My sister-in-law uses this site on my nieces hair!

Karen Rowland

Hi I have a mixed race daughter that has thick afro hair and am looking for quick easy stiles(because am just learning how to do her hair) . Could you please help I would be very grateful . Thank you

Here! My sister-in-law uses this site on my nieces hair!


On youtube there is atutorial on how to do African threading on your children then how to put it in a style, Its Girls Love Your Curls on youtube. She has a bunch of cute styles.


I would like to add to the list blowdrying on the cool setting. I use the tension method and then make two large buns/ bantu knots. It may not be as stretched as when using high heat, but it does stretch it out pretty well!


I would love to start stretching my hair but I really do love my tight curls.

I have a silly question:

Does anyone know if I were to braid my hair while it was wet or try any of the above methods to stretch it, would it go back to being tight curls again after washing it (which is what I would like. I don’t want to try it in fear of my hair not reverting back to its natural curl)?



Not at all a silly question. With the exception of light blowdry I would say yes, your hair will revert back to your curls without a problem because you aren’t applying heat with the other styles. With blow drying, when done properly, you should also revert back. Hope this helps! Blessings


Yeah it does with mine. Water to your hair is like a reset button.


i also like to use curlformers. these actually make my texture bone straight inside the curl, oddly enough. and the curls are perfect. need i say more? they’re great for stretching, which is primarily what i use them for. right now my hair is in extensions, so i don’t have to worry about my hair! much needed respite, it is!


I love Curlformers, too. They do not make my hair bone straight, it looks like soft, fluffy curls by the first day’s end. The following days afterward, I’ll braid it into 6 french braids and wear it pinned up or a braid out for a week, and then by day 7, I’ll curl it again.

Marta Daniels (@Marta_Daniels)

You can air dry pretty straight if you do it right.


I love large Bantu knots on dry hair for a soft wavy look. Post wash: I like to air dry in a bun, then style

Braid-outs are my staple style. I do them on freshly washed, t shirt-blotted, damp hair. I moisturize (w/ creamy leave-in conditioner), make 16 braids (twisting the last inch or so) and seal (w/ castor oil on ends & edges). Then, I wear a cute hat while the braids air-dry (~24 hrs). Finally, I take them down and wear a braid-out (lots of seperation) or a bun (very little seperation). Here are my fav braid-out tutorials: “10 Tips for Perfecting Your Wet Set Braid Out” “A Fab Chunky Braid Out!” “How I Separate & Fluff My Braid Outs”… Read more »

I’ve been doing bantu knots on dry hair and leaving them in for a few days before unbraiding them. I like the effect, but honestly, I just got kinky dry hair that’s growing “up” not “out” right now.


KNOTS! typo


I’m horrible with Bantu Knots!


It takes too long for my hair to air dry in braids or bantu not, so I have to blow dry it a little beforehand.


Before twisting sometimes I use african banding it’s the greatest way to me if you want really stretch hair pretty much like a low brushing. Otherwise I use twist to hair dry sometimes I put them into bantu knot. And I braid if I plan to wear my hair out.

Pictures of what I do to twist hope they won’t be too large :s (sorry if so)

African banding to twist:
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A close up :
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How long does it take for you to band your entire head?


I can’t remember exactly but it’s really quick to do since I did not made it as a hairstyle so I’ll say less than 10-15 minutes for about 7 to 8 “antennas”.


I do the African banding too but I do it slightly different. I just use the skinny hair ties without the metal part and “band” with those all the way down my hair. It works the same way. The antenna look is hilarious haha. It gives a very good stretch I only do it once to get best results apparently you should re-band 2-3 times.


I tried that once and mine didn’t come out like that. I’m wondering what I did wrong. I saw the tutorial and everything on Girls Love Curls and apparently I need more practice. So I normally just blow dry my hair on low heat and then I braid my hair if I want to make it wavy. I can’t do it wet cause I have a lot of shrinkage and it makes it so hard to braid.

Jo Somebody

Really surprised banding wasn’t mentioned! I need to figure out how to do the threading.


Check out how to stretch out natural hair using African threading


Braiding while damp is my fave…with Bantu knots I have the worst shrinkage and they take FOREVER to dry… 🙁


I do most of these styles, but the trick is how do I keep my hair stretched. After I’ve been outside for a while with my hair down, it shrinks back up again. 🙁


Roller set your hair on medium to large size plastic rollers, dry thoroughly, gently comb or brush the curls out and wrap, (silk wrap is optional) and in the morning you’ll have this gorgeous giant Diana Ross fakey-blow out!!!


How do you sleep with those things? And more importantly, how do you keep the rollers from falling off?


I can’t master magnetic rollers either. So instead I use Velcro rollers. As long as I’m gentle putting them in and removing them, I’m good. I use a 10$ soft bonnet attachment for my hair dryer to dry my hair on low/medium heat. Stretched hair that lasts a week!


In my experience Bantu knots outs allows the most shrinkage of all the styles (when prepared on wet hair)— unless you have a loser curl pattern ie: the pic of Strawberri above


this is a pretty style of cornrows with puffs that “mstanish1” youtuber has her hair styled.


MY GOD! I checked out the girl in the link you provided and i had goosebumps! I just subscribed. It was re assuring to know that it’s not just me that sufferes with uneven hair. I too have difficulties with having all ONE LENGTH HAIR. Anyways, i’ve subscribed so thanks for that


Don’t forget banding and African threading!

Also rollersets…I always used large magnetic rollers but I hear Curlformers are great for stretching out hair.


Yes ma’am!! Curlformers are great. I use them every week to get that strrretch!!! Doing two strand twists, bantus, braids, etc is cool but for me it usually results in more knotting and shrinks on my hair type (porous, fine, dense). Curlformers stretch my hair way more and make detangling a breeze. I also wear my hair in a protective style for most of the week.