Heat Free Ways to Stretch Your Natural Hair

Heat Free Ways to Stretch Your Natural Hair


Dealing with shrinkage can be a beast for most naturals and for some using heat is a BIG no-no so the best alternative is to find heat free ways to stretch your natural hair. There are several techniques that allow you wear your curls stretched without having to reach for a blow dyer or flat iron. Some are more time consuming and require a bit more effort than others, so it’s important to find the right technique that will help you win the shrinkage battle. Check out the different heat free ways to stretch your natural hair…


Banding is a popular heat free way to stretch natural hair; it’s one of the first techniques I learned about early in my natural hair journey. This is a fairly simple technique where your use hair bands on sections of hair to help reduce shrinkage. Basically you take a section of hair, tie a band around your hair starting at the root, move down about an inch then tie another band around your hair and continue this process leaving about an inch of hair out at the end of each section. The amount of hair you have in each section will depend on how “stretched” you want your hair to be; the smaller the section the more stretched your hair. The banding method’s results are a lot like that of blow-drying and works best for those with tightly coiled hair.

Threading (African Threading)

Threading is a newer heat free way to stretch your natural hair, well maybe just new to me (lol). This particular method is done by wrapping thread around a section of hair from root to tip. In my opinion the threading method is a bit more difficult and time consuming than most other techniques. If done correctly the results from threading are amazing and your hair is super stretched. If you have the time or the help (because I know I would need it) then the threading method may be for you.

Curlformers/Flex Rods

heat free ways to stretch your natural hair
Flex Rod Set

Using curlformers or flex rods are a great heat free way to stretch your natural hair. These two methods can be a little time consuming as well however I think the results are gorgeous. Both curlformers and flex rods come in a variety of sizes so choose the right size depending on the length of your hair. Flex rods were one of my favorite styling techniques used early in my natural hair journey; they worked great at helping to blend my two textures during my transition.

Braids and Twists

Heat Free Ways to Stretch Your Natural Hair
Stretched Hair after a twistout and braidout.

Braids and twists are by far the easiest, most common heat free ways to stretch your natural hair and my favorites too! I’m all about simplicity…lol. Both can be done on wet or dry hair. And for longer lasting results I recommend re-braiding or re-twisting every night.  To get the above looks, see how I do my twist and braidouts!

Bantu Knots and Buns

Heat Free Ways to Stretch Your Natural Hair
Bun styles used to stretch natural hair.

Bantu Knots and buns are also two very popular heat free ways to stretch your natural hair. Bantu knots can be done by doing a two strand twist on small sections of hair and then coiling the hair around itself to the root, very similar to small buns.  I personally have gotten awesome results from just simply bunning my hair immediately after washing.

Like I said there are several heat free ways to stretch your natural hair. Depending on the length, curl pattern and thickness of your hair some methods work better than others. Like I mentioned I prefer simplicity; my favorite and most successful ways to stretch my natural hair have been braids, twists and buns.

What are your heat free ways of stretching your natural hair?

  • Fashion Pad

    I LOVE this post. As a newbie to the natural hair scene I certainly appreciate this info!

    • Thanks girlie! I can’t wait to see you unleash your newly natural hair! 🙂

  • Tralina

    Great info!! I am trying to stay away from heat and needed some great ideas.

  • All of these are great methods! Unfortunately I have the patience of a flea so I always blow dry my hair, lol.

  • Sheila Simmons

    I usually twist my hair wet because I already have length but today I washed and banded my hair and tomorrow I will twist for twist outs. I will be back to give my review.

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