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By Ugochi Obiajunwa

Stretching hair without heat is an important part in many natural hair care routines as it can help to minimise tangling and knotting. During the stretching process applying no heat also protects hair from damage and dryness that hair dryers can induce in natural hair. Also great is the fact that heatless stretching cannot be aggressive. The aim is not to fully straighten the 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. In order to get the best stretch, your hair should be fully dry at the final take out stage.

Below are the three best methods of stretching hair without applying heat:

  1. Threading

Threading is a more effective way aesthetically, of creating a blowout without the use of heat. Threading gives 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 threading.

  1. Banding

For banding, you will need a pack of elastic bands or kiddie size ponytail holders (elastic bands are more preferable as it enables quicker dry time than the thicker material of ponytail holders). After washing or co-washing hair, divide damp hair into however many sections you desire (more sections create a more successful elongation). Place bands around the sectioned hair from root to tip in the similar fashion of placing your hair in a firm ponytail. It is observed 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.

  1. Curlformers

This can be used to stretch out any length of hair. This technique will give your strands a more spiral effective and is more costly than the previously mentioned options; curlformers produce excellent results in stretching natural hair. Using a simple hook method to pull wet to damp sections of hair through a long wearing PTE material (the curlformer), entrapping the hair into a spiral formation, which you then let dry This method is generally gentle but only with proper technique.

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