the tension method | our first heat experience on Z's hair

Several weeks ago, Z had a special event at church so I had to come up with the task of finding a hairstyle that's Z approved, would not take all day to do, and could hold up against the fickle NC weather.  I presented the idea of lightly stretching her hair with the blow dry before setting her hair with flexi rods for a curly style the next day. She was all aboard especially since she would be able to see her hair "straightened" for the first time ever.

When blow drying my own hair many times in the past, I always got the process wrong. I faithfully believed that I would get the best and straightest results if my hair was dirty, dry, and oily. Yeah, ew!
My poor hair did end of straight after using tons of direct high heat from raking the comb attachment through my hair a gazillion times only to end up super dry, brittle, and fried over time.

This time, I did my research. I was not about to fry my baby's hair nor use a ton of heat either. I did not want to chance any irreversible damage especially after taking decent care of her hair for over a year and seeing progress. I was blown away in my search that the key to a successful blow out included clean, deep conditioned, and well moisturized hair.

So I did just that. I used:

  • Pre-poo: Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner
  • Shampoo: SM Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo
  • Deep Conditioner: SM Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque
  • Leave-in: SM Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in (can't you tell I love this line on her hair!)
Here's a basic run down of steps used to stretch Z's hair via the tension method:

The process took 35 minutes to do (while she was eating dinner). This is a major pro considering the fact that if I am in a real time crunch, I can achieve a nice stretch on her hair in a very short amount of time compared to the non-heat methods of threading and banding! Her hair was very soft and moisturized after completing the tension method and of course, she was blown away with the results:

Her hair is getting so thick although she has fine strands of hair. I did not focus the heat on her ends because I want to preserve the oldest parts of her hair as long as possible. As stated earlier, the original plan was flexi rods, but I ended up doing a set of twists. I will post the results of her first twist set on heat stretched hair in the next post!

Have you ever tried the tension method? What is one important key for you to achieve a successful stretch using heat?

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