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By Jc of The Nat­ur­al Haven Bloom

Stretch­ing hair with­out heat is an impor­tant part in many nat­ur­al rou­tines as it can help to min­imise tan­gling and knot­ting. Using no heat in the process also pro­tects hair from dam­age and dry­ness that hair dry­ers can induce in nat­ur­al hair.

The impor­tant part though is that heat­less stretch­ing can­not be aggres­sive. The aim is not to ful­ly straight­en hair but sim­ply elon­gate it to around 70–80% of its full length. The final effect of gen­tle stretch­ing is sim­i­lar to a blow-out. Before I intro­duce the videos, I must give you this one tip, in order to get the best stretch, your hair should be ful­ly dry at the final take out stage. Here are the three best meth­ods in order of effec­tive­ness:

1. African Threading

Nadine has real­ly done a great job in show­cas­ing African thread­ing. This video in par­tic­u­lar shows how African thread­ing can give a real­ly great stretch with­out heat and with­out pulling hair as you would need to do on a roller set. It is pos­si­ble to achieve a sim­i­lar although usu­al­ly with a less stretched out results by braid­ing or twist­ing instead of African thread­ing.
2. Curlformers

You can stretch out hair of any length using curl­form­ers. This method is gen­er­al­ly gen­tle but only with prop­er tech­nique, mean­ing no hair pulling when using the hook and gen­tle­ness when remov­ing the curl­form­ers. I select­ed this video as an illus­tra­tion as it has excel­lent close up views of hair which show you that some tex­ture is left with this stretch­ing method. Comb­ing out the curls (with fin­gers or a wide tooth comb) will leave you with a boun­cy blow-out look.
3. Banding

African thread­ing and curl­form­ers will both nor­mal­ly give an excel­lent stretch to hair. This is because they both hold hair firm­ly and tight­ly as it dries. I have found that band­ing does not tend to give as good a stretch on wet hair because the thick­ness of the bands some­times hin­ders hair from dry­ing com­plete­ly. How­ev­er, some nat­u­rals have mas­tered the art of band­ing and use it rou­tine­ly.

Ladies, what gen­tle heat-free stretch­ing meth­ods do you use?

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51 Comments on "3 Ways to Stretch Natural Hair without Heat"

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So help­ful


[…] Black Girl Long Hair, 3 Ways to Gen­tly Straight­en Nat­ur­al Hair with­out Heat […]


African thread­ing takes a lot of skill and effort. My moth­er (who is an African native) loves work­ing with my hair, but it can hurt when not done prop­er­ly. It is a very effec­tive method, but if you have very long hair like me, can take longer than usu­al to thread.


I pre­fer roller sets to stretch my hair. I use large rollers and my hair is very well stretched.


I’m def­i­nite­ly going to try the African Thread­ing on my daugh­ter!

Oh Yeah!!!

Blow dry­ing total­ly dries out hair! Leaves the ends dry and brit­tle!

Oh Yeah!!!

Does African Thread­ing real­ly work? Does it stretch the hair well?

Adeola @ TheManeCaptain

yes it works! i do it very often

Cycy Luciole

Je répond en français car mon anglais est assez mau­vais. Mais OUI les nattes africaines aux fils (African Thraed­ing) fonc­tion­nent et font vrai­ment pouss­er les cheveux.
J’en fais chaque soir et mes cheveux sont chaque fois un peu plus sou­ples et longs!! :-)
So YES African Thread­ing real­ly work and stretch hair ver­ry well


When I tried band­ing my hair was dry and pret­ty tan­gled. It was impos­si­ble to do any­thing with. What did I do wrong? I would love to have fair­ly stretched hair to style with.

Treneka Lenay

@Tanya I had that same issue the first time I tried band­ing. The key is to mois­tur­ize first and detan­gle before and BETWEEN bands. I like to use some­thing creamy to mois­tur­ize and a Den­man brush…then make sure you smooth the tips into a nice lit­tle mois­tur­ized curls :)u


Thanks!I didn’t con­sid­er that so I will have to give it a try. It sounds like more work, but I think it is worth it. :p


I love the African Thread­ing Segment…great user friend­ly video


I’ve stretched my hair for years by doing African thread­ing. but my mum(I’m British)Does it tighter because it seals the mois­ture in.I also do the band­ing method.They are both AWESOME! Get it? because my names awesome:D?


I found that flexi rods can be help­ful for a stretch style. It faster and eas­i­er to sleep in to me. I did this recent­ly with a two day old wash n go. The results where amaz­ing.


i usu­al­ly stretch my hair by putting it into to frec­nch plaits and using hair­bands to pull it down and my hair (type 3c) would come out more like 3b hair


Ial­ways stretched my hair by pulling into a low pony­tail, smooth­ing the hair down very well, and then twist­ing the remain­ing hair. That works great for me and is very easy to do in the show­er.

I have real­ly afroed hair when its wet. I would like to try the thread­ing, but I don’t know if it would work well with hair that is so close to the scalp. The band­ing is inter­est­ing too, but if you don’t have the small hair bands can you use those elas­tic rub­ber bands? Does any­one know what I’m talk­ing about they come in black and clear. I’m try­ing not to use heat, but my hair is so shrunk­in wet that I don’t want to try a metod that makes me look fool­ish. I tried twist­ing it close to my… Read more »
I used elas­tic head­bands that you use to pull hair back into a free form pony­tail and they made my hair stretch very long while using the band­ing method. I like them bet­ter than fuss­ing with sev­er­al elas­tic bands. I use one per sec­tion of my hair and I am able to straight­en to the ends of my hair. I use a leave in con­di­tion­er by Can­tu and some curly pud­ding to set it. I wrap the band all the way down the hair, tie it up at night and pick it out the next morn­ing. If I want­ed a… Read more »
Varah Potter



I have these and they work!!

This feels like an inter­ven­tion to me, thank you BLGH! I was just rant­i­ng to a fel­low nat­ur­al about how I was going to attack my hair with a flat iron because these tan­gles just weren’t worth it. My prob­lem is that I tran­si­tioned with weave for 2 years and now I have armpit length hair that’s 3c/4a at the ends but some­how end­ed up being 4Z (no lie, it’s like a group of angry Black Pow­er Fists at my roots). I just straight­ened it with my old blow dry­er and flat iron last week and it seems like the… Read more »

I’ve tried both the pin­ning of wet twist across my head to stretch; and the band­ing method on wet twist using bands or ouchess barettes to stretch. They both work for me, and the barettes actu­al­ly dry my hair faster than the bands.


That thread­ing tech­nique looks awful com­plex. I won­der if you can do it on your­self? If not, it’s pret­ty use­less to us over 12. lol

The Natural Haven

Yes you can do it on your­self and it is very sim­ple to do, all you are doing is wrap­ping a thread around the hair. Click on the video to go to youtube to see the rest of Nadine’s videos, she has detailed instruc­tions on how to do the tech­nique.

With every­thing, it gets bet­ter with prac­tice. By your sec­ond or third time, you will get it right.


Hi All,

Great! SO I tried the African thread­ing method and I liked the stretch but hair was a bit stiff and a lit­tle clumpy. Any tips? I plan on try­ing it again.


The Natural Haven

1. Clumpi­ness is relat­ed to how tight­ly you bound the thread and how even the spac­ing was between the threads. You should aim for your hair to look like a twist out after tak­ing out the thread

2. Stiff­ness is prob­a­bly relat­ed to prod­ucts. You need just a lit­tle of oil on your hair (like one fin­ger tip for the whole head). If you are using a mois­turis­er instead of oil, equal­ly use very lit­tle.


I just got some curl­form­ers and they’re real­ly great! It’s a nice way to stretch my not-so-dense hair with­out los­ing too much vol­ume. The only thing is that my hair dries slooow­ly, so I have to time it right or I have to sleep in them (which is supreme­ly uncom­fort­able!). I’ve tried band­ing but I could nev­er real­ly get that stretched look. Maybe I need­ed more bands.


I think the curl­form­ers are amaz­ing… What a great end result!!! I will be buy­ing it soon


Thanks for includ­ing my Curl­former video in the mix. I will have to try my hand at thread­ing to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. I think band­ing would take too long to dry on my hair because it’s so thick.

The Natural Haven

Your video close ups are real­ly fan­tas­tic :)


Had to share this real­ly quick after see­ing the video post­ed on YT. User alo­di­a80 post­ed a video called “[49]NO HEAT Blowout on Nat­ur­al Hair” where she stretched her hair by wrap­ping it wet and con­di­tioned as she detan­gled and let it dry overnight. It gave a real­ly nice blowout effect. Its prob­a­bly best explained in her video, link:


I love band­ing. It is my favorite and most effec­tive way to stretch my hair with­out the use of heat. I agree with Jc that is is most effec­tive for me when I band on com­plete­ly detan­gled and dry hair. I want to try curl­form­ers this fall and give the thread­ing tech­nique a try as well.


This is a won­der­ful method for achiev­ing stretched hair. I did this last night. Today I,m going to take the thread out and do it again. While it’s dry­ing I just put on a wig or cute scarf wrap.


Hi Lala,

Was it easy to learn how to thread? Any tips? I am inspired to try this this week­end. :)


I haven’t tried any more these meth­ods. I usu­al­ly twist my hair in big sec­tions and then place them on blue or gray flexi rods. I have also found that if I use a banana clip, my hair will be stretch when I take it down.


For those who have tried thread­ing what type of thread did you use? That looked like a heavy thread in the video.Thanks.


Hair weav­ing thread is durable.


Where do you get hair weav­ing thread? Wal­mart???? Would love to try this.

The Natural Haven

Or any place which sells weaves.


You can get that thread from any local, beau­ty sup­ply store for $1-$3.


and to imag­ine. all these years i thought my hair was short. When water or any form of mois­ture gets on my hair, it shrinks to more than 50%. But stretched it reach­es my shoul­der, but you can still see come curls in it. I’m going to try the thread­ing one day.


Have done the African thread­ing. Works bet­ter than any oth­er tech­nique list­ed here for me. Hair can dry quick­ly, they can be eas­i­ly styled so you can go out of the house to do stuff, and the weave thread is super cheap. I get the best stretch when I use it. Looks like I blowdryed it.

I think the eas­i­est way for me to stretch my twists/twist outs is to take wet twists (on twists done using naptural85’s win­ter wash n go method) and pin them real­ly taunt on the oppo­site sides of my head and take them down when my hair is ful­ly dry. Some­times I wait until my hair is about 50–75% dry before pin­ning to reduce dry­ing time. The result is super stretched twist out that resem­bles a loos­er curled wash n go. I’ve tak­en it a step fur­ther and gen­tly detan­gled after untwist­ing and flat twist­ed w/a lit­tle bit of prod­uct for… Read more »
I tried it on my daughter’s hair and her hair got all tan­gled in the thread at the ends. She was almost late for school wait­ing for me to get them suckas out. I guess I did it wrong but that fias­co was enough to not make me want to try it again for awhile. I use coconut oil and gel to fash­ion small-medi­um twists and then I’ve band­ed using pipe cleaners/craft che­nille stems or satin rib­bons. I’ve got­ten a great stretch with those and all were very easy to remove. My daughter’s hair went from being kind of sus­pend­ed… Read more »

I real­ly want to try thread­ing after watch­ing that video


I tried band­ing one time and then ran some errands around town. I have no idea why peo­ple were giv­ing me fun­ny looks…I remem­ber one lady whis­per­ing that I looked like Coo­lio. I can’t believe the nerve of some peo­ple. hehe!

Any­who, I will ten­sion blow dry on a low set­ting on occa­sion to stretch my hair or either do a braid out, which stretch­es my hair quite a bit.


Much need­ed laugh. I’m not that brave.

The Natural Haven

Landry lol! To be fair band­ing does look like a colour­ful ver­sion of Coolio’s style. 

I don’t real­ly rate band­ing and for that mat­ter ban­tu knots as styles that I would wear out­side. I regard them like going out with rollers in your hair. To me the com­plet­ed is style is after the take down of the ban­tu knots or bands. How­ev­er, I have seen peo­ple make it work :)


Plan to buy curl­form­ers soon. 

Tried band­ing one time and it was a com­plete dis­as­ter! Tweaked it to my lik­ing by using the ouch­less bands (thin so max­i­mizes dry­ing) and putting firm, let loose enough so that my hair doesn’t get stuck and tan­gled in it. Light­ly mist my hair, seal with olive oil and put in 7 chunky twists and then band the twists. Do this each night I wear my hair loose and it is grad­u­al­ly stretched.