Banding: The No Heat Alternative to Stretching Natural Hair

Yesterday, I deep conditioned Z's hair using Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap Purification Hair Masque for 30 minutes (as directed but have also used it for overnight deep conditioning) before doing an ACV rinse and conditioning of her hair using Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner.  Her hair is still in really good shape after receiving a good trim back in September and doing protective styles ever since then.

In preparation for the cornrow hairstyle I done on her hair today, I needed her hair to be stretched. My go-to method for stretching is banding because it is a simple and quick method of elongating her natural curl pattern without having to apply heat. I do not even remember the last time I have used heat on her hair and when I did, it was probably once or twice (literally). Her hair is so fine and we are already dealing with dry scalp therefore adding another factor that might irritate or damage her hair/scalp is not an option.

I moisturized her hair with my homemade spritz (aloe vera juice, Shea Moisture Curl Milk, and water), sealed with jojoba oil, and began banding her hair with Goody's cloth bands. I spaced each band somewhat farther from the other because I wanted more hair exposed to the air to expedite the drying process. However, the closer the bands, the more stretch can be achieved from this method.

I normally part her hair into 4-6 sections depending on the planned hairstyle, the time of day, and our schedule.  It has been plenty of occasions where I used black cloth bands on smaller sections to create a banded style for Z to wear over a period of days.

After air drying overnight, her hair was dry and ready to be styled. I gently removed the bands from the back section of her head since I usually start in the area when I style her hair.

Since the bands were not close together, her hair was moderately stretched, which was okay for the purpose of styling her hair today.

I simply finger combed the sections and her hair was ready to be styled without the use of heat to achieve a stretched hair state. Such an awesome method that falls right in line with our protective (no heat) goal especially as the air gets cooler and drier over the fall/winter season. Threading is another great alternative I recently discovered to achieve a good no heat stretch of Z's natural hair.

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