Stretching Natural Hair: African Threading versus Banding

In the previous post, I detailed Z's deep conditioning process. In this post, I will go over my thoughts in choosing to African Thread her hair instead of banding it to achieve a good no-heat stretch.

It was not until recently I was introduced to the process of African Threading. My first attempt of the technique left a really good impression as it created a refreshing and unique look to Z's hair. I was then made aware that African Threading can be used to stretch the hair and watched this video demonstrating the awesome results of the process that is very similar to using a blow dryer!


I have been banding for before Z's time on my own natural hair. It was (and still is) a very popular and effective method of stretching natural hair. My main issue however with the banding is that over time, shed hairs tend to get wrapped around the cloth ponytail holder as shown below.

Obviously this is not an issue when using a nice new pack of ponytail holders, but those hairs do accumulate after subsequent uses if you are not the vigilant momma removing those hairs as you see them. I am VERY lazy in that aspect and am more likely to throw those ponytail holders away before going and picking out all those hairs (from over 50 holders). Hmph! Besides, I tried that a few times, and I just do not like the sound that comes from ripping the tangled hair away from the holder. Sounds so gruelsome!

Other than the loose hair getting tangled around the holder (which may cause good hairs to get entangled also), I do not have much of an issue with banding. I usually soak them in oil so they do not dry out the hair and to wishfully decrease the likelihood of hair getting tangled around the holder (which I have been proven unsuccessful thus far...Tips???). The level of stretch when it comes to banding depends on how far the holders are spaced, how big the sections are, and how dry the hair is once the ponytail holders are removed. The best part I like about banding is how quick (to me) it is to install them to the hair.

African Threading

Although threading is new to me and I am still practicing at becoming better with the technique, I love the fact the tension of the thread really creates a good elongation of Z's hair texture all in one continuous wrapping motion from root to tip. There is no stopping to grab a ponytail holder, smoothing out the loose section of hair with hand (or comb), wrapping and pulling the hair through the holder, and stopping to repeat the entire process. With the threading, I can keep my both hands focused on the section of hair and keep a good even tension on the hair as I am wrapping the thread around the section.

In addition, I really enjoy the fact that I do not have to keep up with all those ponytail holders and pick through which ones I can use immediately versus the ones I have to stop and pick the hairs out first before proceeding with the banding process. With threading, I can have all my thread pieces cut and knotted before hand to just pick up and go as I move through her hair. Easy peasy.

I will post the stretch we achieve from African Threading her hair before I move forward to styling her hair. She likes The Bead Barrettes at the ends of her hair (Ghana Plaits is what the sections called when they are threaded). Although the barrettes do not have the weight of using individual beads, they still make enough clacking noises when she swings her hair from side to side. :-)

As a final note, The Bead Barrette also satisfies my issue with the ends being exposed from African Threading.

All happy parties here!

Update: Here is a picture of the stretch achieved two days after African Threading her hair:

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