Naturally coily and kinky hair is known for its ability to shrink up to 80 percent of it's actual length and many try to combat shrinkage by using using heat to stretch their hair. The issue, though, is that heat styling poses the risk of damaging the hair and as a result naturals are not left with many options for stretching natural hair that can fully elongate their curls.
The Damn Salon, based out of Atlanta, specializes in a 100 percent heat free technique that uses thread — yes, as in sewing thread — to stretch tightly coiled hair to its maximum length. The technique called 'Nwele', which means 'hair' in Swahili, originated in Africa and is a safe way to lengthen hair for wear and styling. It is also known as African threading.
Before seeing the Nwele technique executed in person, I was skeptical that the process could lengthen as much as heat styling, but let me tell you, seeing is believing — and so is having it demonstrated on my own hair.
Check out these pictures of the Nwele technique!
African Threading Up Close
A Damn Salon stylist demonstrates the Nwele technique by wrapping thread around the base of the hair.
Thread is wrapped around the entire length of hair from root to tip using a special technique.
A side by side comparison, Nwele-stretched hair and shrunken coils on a model.
Before You Style...
Make sure to detangle hair well before wrapping the thread around each section. The Damn Salon offers a great detangling brush to complement the process and create perfectly smooth sections.
If you are interested in trying this technique, The Damn Salon offers Natural Hair Care System kit that includes all you need to do this on your own! The kit includes thread, an instructional DVD, Peppermint + Tea Tree Shampoo, conditioner, butter, oil and The Damn Detangling Brush, which is available online at The Damn Boutique.
If you're in Atlanta, swing through their posh salon for an entire Nwele styling experience or stay tuned to their website for when "A Taste of Damn" comes to your city!