Every now and then you’ll want to straighten your crown to achieve more refined and classic looks such as pin ups or French rolls. There are many ways and techniques to straighten your natural black hair without the use of heat or chemicals. In this article, we review five ways to release and stretch your curl pattern and achieve a straighter look without applying any heat.
What You Need
To achieve a stretched natural hair style, gather these hair care products and tools:
- Wide-Tooth Comb
- Detangling Brush (Optional for those whose texture allows for use)
- Shea Butter
- Olive Oil or another light oil to help seal moisture
- Water in a bottle to keep hair damp
- Yaki hair extensions (if your final style requires more length or volume)
Once you have the right products to help manage your hair, you are ready to press forward with a natural hair stretching technique. Before initiating the stretching process, start with damp but clean hair. Some natural hair experts even recommend trying thing these methods after a co-wash, when your hair is light in weight and not heavy with hair products.
How to Stretch Your Natural Hair
There are five common ways to straighten your natural black hair or combat shrinkage. Each technique is easy to master and double as protective styles. To achieve the best results consider wearing each style overnight or a minimum of 12 hours. Avoid using heavier styling products such shea butter and thick creams. Instead, opt for lighter oils such as coconut or tea tree oil. You can also explore with creating your own perfect leave-in conditioner that is light and flatters your unique crown and its texture.
While you might wear a natural hair bun as part of your everyday natural hair style, it might surprise you to know that a bun is also an excellent way to stretch natural hair. Bunning is a technique that can be useful for looks that require you to stretch and straighten natural hair that is shoulder length or longer.
How to Bun Your Hair
- Gently detangle your hair with light mists.
- Comb your hair straight up to the top of your head.
- Brush or trace your fingers through your tresses into a single bun.
- If using a hair band, remember not to pull the band too tight, or this may increase the risk of breakage and possibly create unwanted indentations.
- Leave hair up until dry.
Wrapping natural hair to achieve a stretched or straight hairstyle is a recommended heatless method for Queens with hair types ranging from 3C to 4A. Wrapping is only recommended if you have ample time available to ensure your crown is completely dry. If you have thick tresses your hair will need at least 24 to 48 hours to dry completely.
How to Wrap Your Natural Hair
- Section your hair into four parts and take your time to detangle the hair.
- Brush or comb your hair to the side, keeping it as straight as possible while brushing or combing, initiating the wrapping procedure.
- While brushing or combing your hair down one side, place pins in your hair to hold that section of hair in place along the perimeter of your head.
- Take the next section of hair on the same side of your head and repeat the process, wrapping your hair around your head.
- Repeat on the opposite side of the head.
- Cover your head with a wig cap. Allow hair to dry over an eight-hour period or longer.
- Take hair down and style.
Bantu knotting is a popular hairstyle among naturalist because they are versatile and slay approved. The style was created by Bantu people, more than 300 African ethnic groups living in southern and eastern Africa. Bantu knotting is one of the best ways to both stretch or create tight curls. To master stretching with bantu knotting remember to focus on where you complete each knot and plan for ample drying time. Bantu knots are also a favorite for also supplying a bit of body to your natural hair.
How to Create Bantu Knots
- Section hair into multiple small sections.
- Take each section of hair and wrap it into a single twist before wrapping it around the base of the section, then pinning it in place. Pinning will help to secure the knot.
- Take hair down once it’s dry and style as usual.
Braid or Twist
Braiding or twisting techniques will ultimately get you one step closer to hair that is straight and stretched without heat or relaxers. Hair braiding and twists have been a favorite for naturalist because they are versatile, long lasting, and convenient. They also play a key role in protective styles and keeping your crown well hydrated. When removing your braids be sure to be patient to avoid frizzing.
How to Braid or Twist Your Hair
- Section your hair into multiple sections.
- Twist or braid each section of your hair from the root.
- Take each section and pin it to the opposite of the head.
- After hair is dry, take it down.
- Use fingers to remove kinks that result from the braids or twists.
- Comb and style.
The banding method is a favorite technique to stretch natural hair without applying any heat because it is exceptionally simple and delivers lasting results. If your curl pattern is between 3C and 4C, banding is your go to style for achieving the best stretch. Choose your bands with care to reduce indentations or breakage. Recommended bands include a satin cloth, thread, or single hair bands.
How to Band Your Natural Hair
- Section hair into two or more sections.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair along with shea butter or a light oil such as olive oil or coconut oil.
- Place a ponytail holder at the base of one of the sections of the hair to form a ponytail.
- Take a piece of satin cloth material and while holding the hair out straight and taut, wrap the band around the hair from the base of the ponytail to the ends of the hair. Depending on the length of your hair, expect to use approximately 3 to 8 bands per section.
Tip: Many natural hair divas use flexi rods in place of hair bands.
- After banding each section, wrap a silk scarf around the hair to ensure that hair stays in place.
- Let your hair dry completely and take your hair down.
- For a bit of body, use large rollers to roll hair with curling custard or gel.
These are just five ways to straighten your natural crown using stretching techniques that require no heat or texture altering chemicals. For the best results explore various techniques to discover your favorite methods. Remember, to start with clean hair and ensure that your hair can air dry completely or these methods will fail you.
Check out our list of the top natural hair blogs and YouTubers for demonstrations and more.