coily hair showing banding technique to stretch hairphoto courtesy of MsC.

If you have curls, coils or waves then you are probably very familiar with the term shrinkage. Most of us have it but the problem arises when your shoulder length hair turns into a TWA. As cute as the TWA look is, if you’ve worked hard to get the length, then you probably want to show it off. Here are some ways to stretch your coils and get your length back.

Banding

This method is great for stretching the hair without straightening it since it's simple to do and doesn't involve heat of any kind. All you will need are some small seamless hair bands. Start off by separating a small section of your hair and loosely securing the rest of your hair so that it does not get in the way. Then take your first hair band and secure it at the base of your hair. Take the next one and secure it around the same section about an inch above the first hair band. Continue to do this all the way to the end or leave about  2 inches of hair at the end to preserve the curl pattern if you are trying to stretch a wash and go or braid/twist-out.

It's important to note that if you’re using this method to dry your hair or stretch it for a style like twists, then you should detangle first to remove any knots and ensure that the hair gets as stretched as it can. However, if you are using this method to stretch a wash and go or other style, then do not detangle before hand and try to do very little to manipulate the hair in order to maintain your curl pattern. Lastly, remember that the closer together the hair bands the more stretched the hair will be.

Read More: How to Get Curl Definition

  

girl with long cornrow braids

Plaiting

Begin by separating a small section of your hair and tying off the rest loosely. Then take that smaller section and loosely braid it all the way to the end, or leave about  2 inches of hair at the end to preserve the curl pattern if you are trying to stretch a wash and go or braid/twist-out. I to do this method on an old wash and go that has already lost most of its definition because it tends to distort my curl pattern and change my wash and go coils into braid out waves. Therefore, if you want to maintain your curl pattern, then ensure that you braid very loosely.

Read More: Mslizzia’s Braid Out

caramel dripping into and out of a spoon

Try as we might, there will come a time in our life when our hair gets as dry and as hard as a brick. This is our hair's way of crying out for some special treatment, so every now and again we should set aside some spa time for our hair and consider using one of the following softening treatments.

Caramel Treatment

The humectants in this treatment draw moisture from the atmosphere and into your hair to make it softer and more manageable. Some women also claim that it even elongates and loosens their curls, but I did't get that same result. For this treatment you will need:

  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 3 jars of banana baby food (it is important to use this as pureed bananas can be very hard to wash out...trust me)
  • 1/4 cup of Blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil (or any other oil of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • An applicator brush

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl or use a mixer to speed it up. Using an applicator brush, apply the mixture to damp hair in sections just like you would a relaxer. Ensure that you do not manipulate your hair as the mixture is thick and trying to comb out your hair with it in can cause damage.  Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave the treatment in for 30 minutes or overnight for the full effect. Afterwards, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water and use a sulfate free shampoo and moisturizing conditioner to ensure that you have all of it out of your hair. Make sure you refrigerate any left-overs to save for next time.

Read More: Keep Calm, Stay Natural

 

yogurt used for Cherry Lola treatment

Cherry Lola

For those of you who don’t already know, the Cherry Lola treatment was created by a blogger of the same name. She figured that since hair is just protein and protein is made from amino acids, the remedy for damaged hair should involve putting the protein back into it. That is where the liquid amino acid comes in. Whether or not the science behind it is valid, I do not know, but what I do know is that many women, including myself, who have tried the treatment have noticed softer, curlier more manageable hair with slight curl loosening. All you will need is:

  • 2 cups of organic plain yogurt
  • 10 tbsp of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (this can be found at most health food stores near the soy sauce)
  • 2 ½ -3 tbsp of baking soda or enough to aerate it and turn it foamy

Mix the yogurt and the liquid amino acid, then add the baking soda and allow it to sit until it rises and becomes foamy. Ensure that your hair is nice and clean then apply it to sections of it and allow it to sit for 20 to 40 minutes. Rinse your hair clean and follow up with a co-wash just to ensure that all the treatment is out.

It's important to note that some women use a lot less Braggs and baking soda (about 2 tablespoons of each) than Miss Lola and leave the treatment in for less time (about 15 minutes) to avoid protein overload. I followed the original directions and suffered no ill effects, but my hair loves protein.

The measurements and instructions are taken from her video found here.

Read More: DIY Homemade Hair Rinses

powders and spices used for Ayurvedic hair care

Ayurveda

Henna and cassia have long since been talked about in the natural hair community for their ability to loosen curl patterns to give the hair more hang time, and for their ability to soften hair and give it brilliant shine. Curly Nikki is often thought of as the queen on henna and has a great method outlined on her blog as well as a pictorial.

Read More: Creating an Ayurvedic Hair Regimen

coconut milk treatment for softening coily hair

Coconut milk treatment

When the topic of curl loosening or softening is brought up, the coconut milk treatment is almost always mentioned because of its effectiveness. This treatment can be done using ingredients probably already in your pantry and it really softens the hair. I have tried this treatment many times. and each and every time I’m left with really soft hair. So if you are interested in doing this treatment then you will need:

  • A can of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil or any other oil of your choice
  • 4 tbsp plain organic yoghurt
  • The juice of one lime
  • Cornstarch to thicken

Mix all of the ingredients except for the cornstarch in a bowl thoroughly. Then slowly add cornstarch a half teaspoon at a time until the mixture thickens to your liking to avoid application from being a runny mess. Then apply to freshly washed hair in sections. Leave it in for 30 minutes then use a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner to rinse it out and style your hair like you usually do.

Read More: Do Natural Hair Straightening Treatments Work?

So just remember that when your hair shrinks up and decides to fight back the answer is merely a hair band away or tucked away in your pantry.

How do you like to stretch your coily hair?