Natural Hair

6 Heat Free Ways to Stretch Your Curls

by: Ariane Williams of

Stretched hair means less tangles, more manageability and of course more hairstyling options. Stretching is any method used to minimize shrinkage and elongate curly hair.

However, over using heat can lead to heat damaged hair and dryness, which is why alternative methods to stretch your curls are best.

Here are 6 heat-free ways to stretch any curl pattern.

1. Braids.

Yes, braids are more time-consuming than twists, but if you have kinky, high shrinkage hair, braids tend to elongate your strands more than twists or other methods of stretching. It’s a little bit more work but well worth it because in addition to stretching, braids are a great protective style.



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2. Twists paired with hair clips.

If you don’t feel like braiding and you decide to go along with twists, give them more stretch by adding hair clips to your roots and ends. The extra weight of the clips will add tension to the roots and curls, giving more stretch. If you do not have high shrinkage hair, adding clips may not be necessary and twists can be done without them.


Photo: VeePeeJay, 4C Hair Chick Vlogger

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3. Two-strand flat twists or cornrows.

This method can be timely but with great results. Along with stretching your hair it gives you amazing curl definition.


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4. Pineappling.

This method is the best because it is probably the absolute easiest way to stretch your hair. Simply moisturize your hair well then place your hair into one or two high ponytails and wrap your hair with a satin scarf or bonnet before going to bed.

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5. Banding.

With banding, your stretching results will be phenomenal. When you band your hair it looks like you have gotten a fresh blow dry. This works on all kinky coily hair types. To do this, divide your hair into sections. Gently wrap the ponytail holders around each section of hair from root to tip. Allow your hair to completely dry overnight before removing and wrap your hair with a satin scarf or bonnet. You can use ouchless ponytail holders or hair weaving thread to band.


6. Roller, Perm Rod, and Flexi Rod Sets.

This is a method that doubles as a style and a stretching technique. Whether you use perm rods, rollers, or flexi rods you will get some stretch. Flexi rods will give you the most elongation because they are longer than perm rods or rollers.

There are more than a few ways that you can stretch your curls without relying on heat. The best way to find out which method is for you is through experimentation. See what works best for your hair type and your schedule.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Ariane Williams has been wearing her hair natural for years. As owner of, she’s committed to helping other women on their natural hair care journey with articles and tips on how to take care of kinky, curly, and coily hair.


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