7 Heat-Free Ways To Stretch Natural Hair & Defeat Shrinkage Once And For All

A naturalista may love her spiraled texture, but that doesn't mean a coily fro is the only style to rock. Allowing curly girls to switch things up majorly, heat-free ways to stretch natural hair ensure you can transform your locks with causing unwanted damage.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but heat damage isn't reversible. If you're a fan of rocking a blow out or using a dryer to achieve stretched hair, avoiding heat like the plague may be a struggle. However, minimizing heat styling as much as possible is essential to keeping your coils going strong. It may sound like sorcery, but getting fully, elongated strands without picking up a single hot tool is totally possible. Thanks to YouTube, otherwise known as the mecca for the best natural hair tutorials, every curly Q is covered in this department. Hoards of videos featuring safe alternatives for lengthening your strands are available for your viewing pleasure. Opening up your hairstyle possibilities and keeping your mane healthy at the same time is surely a win-win.  

As any kinky-coily diva knows, the shrinkage is real! But it doesn't have to define your mane. These seven methods for stretching your 'do will make you put away your blow dryer and flat irons for good.

1Banding

Gather up all of those spare hair ties you have lying around, because they're going to come in handy for giving your wash and go maximum length. Banding simply involves securing ponytail holders down gathered sections of your hair. The more bands used, the more elongated your wash and go hair will be. Keeping your ends open ensures curls remain intact at the bottom. Just be cautious that your curl pattern may begin to disappear if you stretch sections too much.

JourneyTo WaistLength on YouTube

2Stretch Plates

They may be one of the strangest hair contraptions you've ever seen, but the CWK Girls SSS Rubber Plates make stretching super simple. Starting on freshly washed hair, align sections with the pink plates and secure them in place using the clips. Attaching the plates to a soaking wet mane will take forever to dry, so damp hair is the way to go.

This YouTuber sits under a dryer before removing her plates, but this method can be completely heat-free. These tools are flexible enough to sleep in, so blow drying isn't absolutely necessary.  

SimplyJade101 on YouTube

3Pineapple

The famous pineapple isn't just for sleeping with natural hair to preserve your 'do. It's also great for lengthening your curls. Gathering all of your hair at the front of your head will help stretch out your roots, giving your curly fro a longer appearance. Feel free to keep the 'do in overnight or, try it for 15 minutes in the morning before shaking out your curls and heading out the door.

MsAriella89 on YouTube

4African Threading

It's a much more tedious stretching method, but African threading is a go-to process for many naturalistas. It gives excellent results, so the effort is always worth it. Similar to banding, you wrap thread down and around sections of your hair. Just don't be surprised if your bundles look like praying mantis limbs once you're finished threading.

You may think the take down process will be a real pain in the ass. However, if you don't tie the ends, you'll be able to unravel the thread easily when you're ready. Comb out your unraveled sections, being careful not to snag your strands, and you'll be amazed with the final results.

Pure Estrogen on YouTube

5Curlformers

Curlformers will take your mane from a kinky-coily fro to a curled masterpiece that gives the same pattern as a curling iron or wand. They're one of the best tools for achieving heat-free curls on natural hair, stretching strands in the process, making them a double duty beauty tool.

Using a hook and pulling through method to attach to hair, they lock into place easily. You'll definitely want to watch a tutorial on the process, but rest assured that using Curlformers is easy to master. They may not be the most comfortable rollers to sleep in, but trying them is beyond worth it.

iknowlee on YouTube

6Jumbo Braid

The unicorn vibes are real with a jumbo braid protruding from your head for stretching. Similar to the pineapple method, this style stretches your roots. You may not see significant results as with banding or threading, but even just for 15 minutes or so in the morning, this option will give your 'do more oomph. Give it a try for an improved wash and go.

SummyrTyme on YouTube

7Heatless Blowout

Starting on old, stretched hair from using Curlformers, natural hair guru Naptural85 shows how to get a blown out look using only a comb. Whether you had a recent roller set, flexi rodded 'do, or a twist out, this faux blowout can be done. All you need is previously stretched hair.

Finger detangling and thorough combing is all it takes. Just avoid using water or water-based stylers during the process. Any moisture will cause your strands to revert to their curly state instantly.

Naptural85 on YouTube

Shrinkage doesn't have to get in the way of your best styles, and neither does heat damage. Plenty of stretching techniques give your mane a makeover without putting your hair health at risk. Go forth and have fun trying them out on your beautiful coils.