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4 Techniques to Master: Stretching Out Your Natural Hair (No Heat Required!)

March 19, 2020

4 Techniques to Master: Stretching Out Your Natural Hair (No Heat Required!)

As a champion of rocking a gorgeous head full of natural curls, we know you adore the ease and relaxed vibe of a Wash ’N’ Go… But you’re also dynamic, fashion-forward and crave variety. So, just because God blessed us naturally textured ladies with a particular texture, it doesn’t mean we can’t shake things up a bit every now and then! 

Here at Urbanbella, our focus on creating beautiful-looking natural styles never breaches our commitment to your hair’s integrity… But instead, goes hand-in-hand with our mission to get your hair in the best condition and keep it there.. By sticking to Urbanbella Natural Hair Code, we respect your hair by minimizing the use of heat, and instead employ different techniques to transform your look- without causing unwanted damage.

So what does avoiding heat mean for styling versatility? A common misconception surrounding the process of stretching out your curls is that you’ll need to be devoted to your hair dryer or straightening irons. But if having versatility is a priority when styling your hair, you won’t want to miss this next hard-hitting fact: That heat damage isn’t salvageable. Once that damage is done, your hair’s integrity, elasticity and moisture is lost and you’ll find yourself struggling with breakage, split ends and random straight pieces that just won’t hold a curl anymore. The only solution is to cut the damaged hair, which locks you into a perpetual cycle of one step forward with your growing and stretching efforts, but two steps back when heat damage forces you to cut your hair shorter. 

What if we told you that you can achieve smoothly defined and elongated hair without reaching for a single hot styling tool? We’ll go one better by adding that they’re all quick and easy too! Try these heat-free techniques that will keep your tresses healthy and strong, while stretching out your curls, banishing shrinkage and changing up your look.

4. Banding Method

This simple technique uses lots of hair ties placed at intervals down your hair shaft to stretch out your curls with strategically applied tension.

  • Start by washing and styling your hair (try our favorite trio, the Urbanbella Wash ‘N’ Go Trio!) 
  • Set your hair in a Wash-N-Go using the Urbanbella Technique. (Check out our YouTube tutorial here.)
  • When your hair is dry, you’re ready to go. 
  • Scrunch a small dollop of Urbanbella No.23 Hydrating Moisture Cream onto your hair, then section it out into workable mini ponytail sections, at least two ponytails- the thicker or shorter your hair is, the more sections you’ll need to create. 
  • Start by wrapping your hair tie around the base of the section close to your scalp, twisting and wrapping it around the section of hair, as you move down the length of your hair one inch at a time. You’ll see a criss-cross on the hair tie forming a bind around your hair as you tie it off. Be careful not to make them too tight and risk breakage and damage to your hair.
  • Move a little way down the section, grab another hair tie and keep repeating the process, grabbing more hair ties as you go, until you reach all the way down to the ends. 
  • The more hair ties you use, the more stretched and elongated your final result will be. 
  • If you want to maintain some of your natural texture, tie off the final hair tie about an inch from the ends to encourage the curls to form nice crisp loops.
  • Experiment  to see how much stretching (and how many hair ties) works for you and will give you a good result, without completely compromising your curl pattern. 
  • Allow your hair to set overnight, or for at least an hour before letting it down, applying some Urbanbella Shine Butter to finish, and you’re all set! 

3. Buns and Bantu Knots

Try this technique of styling your hair in buns and mini bantu knots for a high-fashion, fun and cute look you can rock while you’re stretching out your tresses! Bundling your hair into a single bun will give you a more subtle stretching effect, whereas adding two pigtail buns will give you more symmetrical definition. For maximum stretching, let your creative personality shine by donning several bantu knots all over.  

  • Start by washing your hair with your favorite cleansing and conditioning system (we love the Urbanbella Cleansing and Conditioning Duo), then detangling and applying a styling product to boost moisture and encourage definition such as Urbanbella Neat Hydrating Moisturizing Cream or Urbanbella Stretch + Twist + Curl Cream for soft hold. Section your hair into as many triangular, square or diamond-shaped sections as your heart desires. Just be sure to make your sections super clean, even and clearly defined. By using larger sections, you’ll see a softer result, and with smaller sections you’ll get more definition in your final result and maximum stretch. 
  • Section by section, go through and tightly twist each piece until it starts to kink up on itself.
  • Wrap the sections around themselves from root to ends until you have a delightful display of mini buns. Secure in place by tucking the ends under themselves or anchoring with bobby pins.
  • Let your hair completely dry before unwrapping the sections and fluffing with Urbanbella Hair Shine Butter. Enjoy the compliments on your big beautiful hair while you’re out and about!

2. The Pineapple

You probably have your hair in a pineapple while reading this! And if you don’t, but you’re lounging about the house, or about to go to bed, or eat breakfast before dashing out the door... give it a whirl. You’ll see the lengthening effects of gathering your curls up in a high ponytail at the front of your head in as little as 15 minutes. Of course, the longer you leave your hair in a pineapple, the more effective the stretching result. This simple trick stretches out your roots, giving your curls a nice lengthen and a more relaxed appearance. Bonus points if you wear your hair to bed like this, as you’ll be providing an effective protective style to nurture your ends and protect them from pillow friction while you catch that beauty sleep.

  • It doesn’t get more simple than this! Grab all your hair and gather it into a high pony at the very top of your head, pulling with medium tension and securing tightly with a hair tie or scrunchie. 
  • Apply a good 8 hours of precious zzz’s, or just leave in for as long as convenient. This is a polished but playful style that you can accessorize with a jeweled ponytail cuff or a pretty scarf if you’re sporting it while you’re out and about.  
  • When letting down your ponytail, give your curls a gentle pull to further reinforce your lengthening efforts, and apply some Urbanbella Hydrating Moisturizing Cream for moisturizing and definition. 

1. The Twist-Out

Here’s where you can really start to tinker with some different curl shapes. You can experiment with doing a few different twist-outs, two or three strand twists, depending on if you want more of a ringlet style curl with a two-strand, vs an S-shaped curl with a three strand twist. 

  • Start with freshly washed, conditioned and detangled hair. It can be fairly wet when you begin.
  • For a more exaggerated stretching effect, you can try a flat twist-out: these are like a scalp braid, but with a twisting action instead of braiding technique. Section your hair off into long vertical sections, working through a defining styling product with some hold factor, like the triple duty Urbanbella Cre’Gel. Grab a tiny piece from a point at the top of your section. 
  • Divide into either two or three smaller parts, your call. Start twisting your two or three sections together, gradually picking up and incorporating more hair into the twist as you work your way down, pinning the hair down to your scalp as you go. 
  • If you’d prefer to maintain volume at the roots and have a bouncy yet defined fro, you can do a simple twist without tethering it to your scalp: Do this by simply twisting together the two strands straight out from your scalp, without pinning them down for a flatter root effect you’d get with a flat twist out. 
  • With all twist-outs, you can expect a more defined shape to your curl if you use smaller sections and apply more tension, than if you use a bigger section that will yield a looser twist.
  • Allow your twists to dry completely for the best results.  Damp or wet twists will be shrunken...and we don’t want that! When you wake up, all you need to do is unfurl your twists, starting at the nape of your neck and working your way up to the top.  
  • Be sure to apply some of the Urbanbella No.9 Hair Shine Butter to your fingers while untwisting.  This definitely adds shine but also keeps your twists smooth and looking well-defined!

Hope you enjoy playing around with different looks on your beautiful natural hair this week… Share with us your favorite heat-free stretching techniques we should give a try!

~The Urbanbella Salon Design Crew xx

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