The final part of The Stretch Series: Part 3. After reading this post you will be a stretching sets Queen savant! Completing the three-part-course of stretching to successfully elongate your curly lengths.
When shrinkage causes the finished style length to be way shorter than you expected, Part III, Stretch after you Set will show you the ways to gain length. This is the final piece of the natural girls' set-wearing tool kit, from stretching before wet sets to all the methods for gaining length after, on completed styles. We must be ready for whatever your curls decide to do. So let's get to it...
The stretch series, go through each method in both schools, 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.
"be careful with ALL stretching, but particularly after-set-stretching, as too much manipulation usually causes generally 'no-flakes' products to flake, and distort your newly set curl patterns."
Stretch After You Set
This is one of the most versatile methods of stretching as it's done after the set, you are free to set your hair however you choose; rollers, straws, you name it. So, set your hair let it dry, and once your style is fully revealed, add extra length by using a concentrator nozzle, firmly yet gently pulling your strands down whilst gliding the blowdryer down longways from root to tips, repeatedly. A general rule of thumb: after every five swoops of the blowdryer down your curl set, release your hair and see if you've achieved the stretch you desired. If not then continue, but stop and move on to the next section once you no longer see any improvement in length.
the drawback: This blowdry method of stretching should really only be done on wet sets to limit heat damage, which of course is the main drawback of using a blowdryer, but tends to be used as the final step on dry hair set by rollers, rods, braids, cornrows or twists. Another is the creation of flakes is likely if you are not careful with your handling, product choice and if you keep blowdrying and pulling past your hair's drying point.
"the less watery your setting products tend to be, then the less shrinkage prone your hair may be..."
Once your set hair is revealed; pULL, Pull, pULL then hold. You should also massage your roots to allow them to flow, and your hair to fall more freely. For those of us with heavy root shrinkage, applying a thick styling product to the root area only will help to weigh your roots down, giving you a flatter root area and elongating your curls.
the drawback: You are not likely to get much stretch with just this method - usually around an inch or two - but it is great when combined with a stretch-before-you-set method. And you get more control with ordinary tension, so it is easier to avoid overmanipulation; all you have to do is hold yourself back.
DHA's DIY recommends, that ideally, your stretching technique should change with each kind of set, but a mixture of the two schools should lead you to maximising your curly length.
The Two Schools of Stretching Out Your Curls Are:
DHA Hair Care Experts
Dominican Hair Alliance