stretching prior to setting II
It's time for Part 2 in the stretch series. As in Part 1, the stretch series goes through each method of elongating your curls. We detail the best ways of doing each technique, its drawbacks, advantages and the situations that make a particular stretching method more suitable than the next.
Remember, there are two schools of stretching out your curls: stretching before you set, and stretching your hair after setting. Although this is Part 2 of Before You Set, DHA's DIY recommends that not only you change your stretching technique with each kind of set, but that you use a mixture of the two schools to lead you to maximising your curly length.
Let's continue with stretching Before You Set, Part 2:
Stretch Before You Set
This is a stretch method ideally for single plait braids or twists out. It is quite simple; all that it entails is cornrowing freshly made plaits/twists into no more than 4/5 giant cornrows, while still damp. Be sure section off your cornrows how you want your hair to fall; for example your parting. We recommend you place your cornrows on both sides to run parallel to your hairline from your parting, e.g. from the left side to run down the top of your head/parting downwards to your ear. Your hair should be left to dry like this in the cornrows.
the drawback: This will stretch your hair out, but it will also augment your curl pattern, from traditional patterns of braid/twist outs, and the result is like Marmite -you either love it or you don't.
"the less watery your setting products tend to be, then the less shrinkage prone your hair may be..."
Hairbands placed along the length of the twists or braids can help elongate the curl pattern, preventing the shrinking that usually occurs when sets on natural hair dry. In order to maximise the stretch, the covered hairbands should be placed at regular lengths apart, at minimum two inches between bands along the entire stretch of the hair. Band immediately after twisting or braiding, starting from the root with the last band being on the tip of you hair. Doing this whilst damp allows your hair to stretch to its maximum, and dry with minimal shrinkage, particularly at the roots.
the drawback: Careful with placing the hairbands too tightly; you may cause your hair to snap mid-length. Just like with a ponytail, excessive stress, too tightly wound causes hair too break off. There also may be some distortion to the curl pattern as the twist/braid out takes on a bubbled lock effect from the intermittent hairbands.
One of the simpler and easier ways to stretch your set, is to braid your freshly done twists or single plaits into jumbo braids, To minimise root shrinkage whilst extending the length of the set, ensure that your jumbo braids are braided firmly to lay flat at the roots. Five plaits should be more than enough to secure your hair to whilst drying your set. Try to avoid lifting your hair up to braid and be sure to maintain the root area as flat as possible. Always remember to braid down and in the direction you would like your hair to sit once your hair is dry and you undo your set; revealing your final style.
On the plus side, there is no big threat of over manipulating your damp, freshly formed twists or single braids with this method. Plaits are so easy to do you'll most likely be able to succeed on your first attempt and won't have to re-plait and redo which tends to cause flakes.
the drawback: Style distortion is the main drawback, and perhaps the only one. You can limit this by plaiting and stretching your twists/braids when your set is no longer so thoroughly wet, but has already started to dry. Then the twist /braid curl pattern should have already been formed, and plaiting will more stretch than distort. However, distortion will still occur to some degree, and you might not achieve the length extension you would have on freshly-set twists/braids.
"be careful with ALL stretching, as too much manipulation usually causes generally 'no-flakes' products to flake, and distort your newly set curl patterns."
Using perm rods
Here, perm rods are wound around the ends of your hair. This weighs your hair down, preventing it from shrinking up and also has the added benefit of ensuring that your hair ends are always neatly curled in a cute spiral formation.
the drawback: Weighing your hair down when it is vulnerable, in this case wet, can cause damage. On top of that, most perm rods are not smooth, making the use of end paper necessary to avoid the perm rods tiny spikes snagging hair strands. Clumsily and awkward as end papers maybe to apply; they can permit the smooth forming of spirals, midway through your length and at the ends.
DHA Hair Care Experts
Dominican Hair Alliance