Something I didn’t realize until about 3 years ago was that each stretching style has its own purpose. I always thought, you pick one and stick with that baby till it graduates. Well, I was wrong. I see that now.
In this post I’ll be discussing the purpose of the stretching styles I do, when and why I do them.
Ok I have 4c hair, like I’ve mentioned a million and one times before, and 4c hair shrinks. A lot. My hair can muster up to 80% shrinkage.. (90% if I neglect it) and so I’m always on the lookout for stretching styles that lessen that shrinkage.. and that brings me to the first stretching style.. BRAID OUTS .. they, I feel, give me both the stretch and volume and curls in one, which is why I do them most of the time. The smaller the section the more stretched it will be but I like to make them normal-sized sections. Not too big not too small. The benefit, like I said, is the stretch and volume but the negative should be the lack of definition it gives, but I prefer volume over definition any day. The good news is that you still get the 4b zig zags after doing braid outs so you don’t lose completely
Next is TWIST OUTS, for when you want curly ‘s’ shaped twisting strands. You get way less stretch than with braid outs but a little more definition. Just like braid outs, smaller sections give you more definition but I always found that I can’t pick them too much or else the twisty curls disappear on me. The advantage would be the ‘s’ shaped curls and the disadvantage (for me) would be the lack of volume.
We also have BANTU KNOTS or Bantu knot outs, which are actually a favorite of mine. If I want to have ringlet curls then I definitely go for the Bantu knots. They give soo much definition and curl poppification (lol goorrrl…) you will not regret it, but if you are looking for stretch this is not your style (it gives very little stretch). Don’t get me wrong, there is something to work with but it ain’t much. I still do like to do them though so you know Bantu knots got you. Disadvantage is definitely the lack of stretch but advantage is that your curls will be beyond poppin’
FLAT TWISTS or tappered twists are also a style I like doing but I do it as more of a protective style than a stretching style because although you get the curl and the stretch, volume is not so much. They look lovely as a style but if you want volume look elsewhere. Disadvantage is they give you little volume and advantage is it gives definition and stretch, and like I said, it’s a great alternative for a protective style
Next is AFRICAN THREADING. Can anyone say stretch? It even looks like a blow out (maybe even better??) that’s how intense the stretching is. I actually do this when I want to trim or dust my hair and it works every time. I use it to achieve a blow out because I don’t use heat on my hair so this works perfectly. I don’t think there is a disadvantage but I guess the fact that there is not much definition and volume but then again you don’t do African threading for curls. Advantage is you get the blow out look without any heat so that’s great.
Now CORNROWS … I’m not sure I know anyone that does cornrows as a stretching style simply because you can’t think to waste all that time doing it only to take it down a day or two later (unless you’re a braiding maestro and can muster up cornrows in less than 50 million hours then kudos to you fam) but if you’re looking for stretch and (some) definition, this is your guy. I personally only do cornrows as a protrctive styles and sometimes I’ll wash it while in cornrows so I can get super stretch when I undo it but I always comb out the curls (they come out easily btw)
Next is the HIGH PUFF … believe it or not I actually do this as a stretching style. Mostly when I feel my braid out or twist out need an extra push especially because I spritz my hair with aloe water a day or two after undoing my twist outs and we all know that natural hair will shrink at the slightest hint of barely there moisture so when I feel my twist out or braid out looks a little shrunken I’ll find an old stocking (this is probably bad for my hair but cummon) and I’ll high puff it and trust me stretch is alive.
Like I said, these are just the styles I do when I want to achieve a certain look. I never really read too much into it though, I usually just do whichever looks easiest and quickest (lol) which is usually a twist out or braid out.
Hopefully this was helpful and informative and don’t forget to leave your comments below, I love heatring from you guys
Stay irie everyone