How to Effectively Stretch 4C Hair WITHOUT Heat

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How to stretch 4C hair without heat

Stretching 4C hair without heat has become popular thanks to several simple techniques that have been invented over time. In this article we will go into the details of 14 different techniques you can use to stretch 4C hair without heat.

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Here are 14 different ways to stretch 4C hair without heat.

1. African Threading Method

African threading is a technique that has been around for a very long time. It is used in most parts of Africa as it gives excellent results even on the kinkiest of natural hair curls, so the effort is always worth it. It’s both a heat-free hair stretching technique and a protective hairstyle.

Here are the key steps in using African threading to stretch 4C hair without heat:

  1. If you are not working on wet/damp hair, then moisturize and seal using the LCO or LOC methods.
  2. Proceed to section your hair. For each section use thick thread such as the one used for knitting to wrap around and along the length of your strands. Start with the roots and secure the thread when you get to the tip.
  3. To achieve better results, wrap the thread very close to each other, possibly ensuring the hair strands are fully covered with the thread.
  4. You can get creative and style your sections rather than doing them randomly, also you can attach one wrapped section to the next to create a stylish look.
  5. Leave the thread on for a day or overnight, longer if you are planning to wear the threaded hair as a protective style.
  6. Unravel the thread, and voila! You have shiny, silky straight hair.

2. Bantu Knot Method

Bantu knots is a style traditionally used by African woman of certain cultural groups but is now being used by the modern woman as one of the sleek, and stylish protective styles.

The knots work well with just about all hair types, in 4C hair particularly, the knots stay very secure and is used as a protective style.

To figure out how to stretch your natural hair with bantu knots the right way, it’s important to focus on where you complete each knot and then allow for enough time to dry well.

Bantu Knots is a great hair style for ensuring you have some volume.

How to stretch 4C hair - Bantu Knot
Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash
  1. Ensure that your scalp is clean and moisturized before making bantu knots as they normally leave a large portion of it exposed.
  2. Take a section of hair and twist it in one direction and then take that section and wrap it around itself until it forms a knot.
  3. Tuck the end of the hair under the knot so that it is secured.  
  4. Wrap the knotted hair in a scarf and let the hair dry.

3. Twist and Re-twist Method

Sectioning and twisting while washing your hair is another very easy but important technique for preventing extreme shrinkage during wash days.

  1. When preparing for washing, section the hair into large sections and proceed to twist each section.
  2. Take out a twist when it’s time to apply shampoo, conditioner, or for rinsing. Even after the shower, only take one twist out at a time when working on your hair.
  3. The next step is very key in the success of this technique. Twist and retwist every 2-3 hours, each time you undo and re-twist, you will achieve a better stretch.
  4. Stop the re-twisting process when the hair is completely dry and you have achieved the stretch you want.

5. Style your hair in a bun

One of the easiest and fasted way to stretch your hair without using heat is to style your hair in a bun. This method however may not give you a super straight stretch if you are using it on it’s own.

The method is best used together with another technique such as twisting or braiding. Here are the steps to install a bun.

How to stretch 4C hair without heat - Bun Method
  1. When washing your hair, ensure you wash in sections, twisting back the clean sections.
  2. After completing the wash routine, twist your hair in big sections and leave the hair to air dry.
  3. Unravel the twists and style the hair in a bun. It is always good to keep it on for one to two hours depending on how long or thick your hair is then combs it out and see the results.
  4. You may also want to redo the bun for 2-3 consecutive days to achieve better results.

6. Banding Method

The banding method is a popular method that makes use of hair bands/hair ties. This method involves using the regular hair bands/ties to stretch out freshly washed hair, damp or wet hair.

  1. Begin by sectioning your hair into several small sections or medium fewer sections. The amount of sections to make will depend on your preference and the volume of your hair.
  2. For each section of the hair, use several band to tie the hair at different interval along the length of the hair. The more the bands you use the more elongated the hair gets. Dividing the hair into sections goes a long way, followed by gently winding the ties/bands around the section from root to tip. 
  3. Leave the bands in for some time to natural dry out to achieve a stretched look. You can stay with the band on for a whole day or night. Just ensure the bands are not too tight to cause discomfort or damage to your roots.
  4. If you are wearing the bands overnight, ensure you protect the hair by wrapping the banded hair in a scarf.
  5. Use tangle free hair bands to avoid damage when the bands snuggle the hair. Hair bands like rubber bands increase snagging and damage since the hair tends to tangle around the band area thereby damaging your hair, therefore, avoid such. Excessive use of this method may lead to damage therefore limit its use.  

7. Use Jumbo Rollers

If you have long hair, use about six to ten Jumbo Rollers and section the dried hair to the rollers width.

The second step is to comb it up, and wrap your hair flat against the roller. Finally, secure with a duckbill clip on each side. Plastic rollers work better than foam rollers to achieve a smoother effect.

You will get straight hair overnight by simply sleeping in the rollers and giving them time to pull and lengthen out your hair.

8. Use Smoothing Products

One of the ways of straightening hair is using gels or smoothing products. Gel fights frizz and smoothens hair. Try to use products that contain natural smoothing agents like coconut oil or jojoba oil.

9. Stretch or Rubber Plates

Rubber Plates make stretching super simple as strange as they might look.

  1. On freshly washed hair, align sections with the plates and secure them in place using the clips.
  2. Attaching the plates to soaking wet hair will take forever to dry, so ensure that the hair is damp and not wet. There are those who use dryers but this method can be completely heat-free. These tools are flexible enough to sleep in.  

10. Curlformers

Curlformers are hair curlers which do not need heat to produce curls and stretch the hair. They are easy to install and can be used on every hair type, be it naturally curly or stubbornly straight. They easily dry your hair and straighten it.

The Curlformers are one of the best tools for achieving heat-free curls while stretching strands in the process, making them a double duty beauty tool.

To ensure you have the best experience with the  Curlformers, it is important that you detangle your hair first. This will make the Curlformer glide over your curls much more smoothly, and also helps in elongating your curls for best results.  

Use the hook and pull through method to attach the Curlformers to hair, this locks your hair into place easily.

If you remove Curlformers before your hair is 100% dry, your hair will likely frizz and lose the curl definition that you might have desired to achieve. If you do not have the patience to wait until it is dry, or if you have highly porous hair that takes quiet some time to dry, use a hood attachment for your blow-dryer that will speed up the process, but, remember to set your blow-dryer to the cool setting to avoid heat.

11. Pineapple Method

How to Stretch 4C hair without heat

The pineapple is a very loose bun/ponytail that’s held on top of your head to help prevents frizz, knots and flattened curls that come with lying on a pillow or bed.

Pineapple method isn’t just for sleeping with natural hair to preserve your hairdos, it also lengthens your curls. This technique is practical if you have long hair that can be gathered loosely at the top of your head.

It is done by gathering all of your hair at the front of your head which helps stretch out your roots, giving your afro a longer appearance. The ponytail holder should be loose enough that you loop it around your hair just once if possible. This ensures that no crease  is formed overnight. You can use a satin ponytail holder to prevent breakage and ripping out your hair while untying it.

12. Jumbo Braids

Just like the pineapple method, this style stretches your roots. Do this by sectioning your hair and plaiting jumbo braids and undoing them thereafter. You may not see significant results as with threading or banding, but even just for 15 minutes or so this option will give will stretch your hair . You can give this a try for an improved wash and go.

13. Try the cold air setting on your hair dryer

You can use a blow dryer with cold air setting to stretch your hair. Using a combination of a brush and your fingers to help straighten.

There is a common fallacy that using the high heat setting is the only way to stretch hair. This is obviously not true as cold air can do the job too.

Excessive exposure to heat most often than not leads to heat damage even when you use heat protectant products.

The cold button setting is one of the secrets to perfect hair. Most hairdryers have this setting but you need to know how to use it to get the most optimal results. Once your hair is completely dry, use a natural product like coconut oil to relax the cuticle of the hair and eliminate frizz.

14. Use an ultra-absorbent material to dry your hair

Heat-free straightening techniques can take hours for hair to totally dry, the recommendation is to jump start the drying process by using an absorbent fabric like Aquis. Aquis is uniquely woven to create channels that quickly wick water away from hair without snagging cuticles or causing friction, this helps to wick moisture out of the hair quickly without causing damage and frizz.

As you can see, there are several methods for stretching your 4C hair without necessarily using heat. All you need is practice and patience as some of these technique require time to achieve the desired look.

So the next time you feel the urge to turn on the high heat setting on your blow drier, remember  that too much exposure to heat will eventually lead to damage, try these techniques instead.