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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


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.

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


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)?



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


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


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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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.


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.

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.