Tag Archives: Stretch Hair

Stretched & Straightened Hair

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This has been one of the most humid summers to date in my neck of the woods. I took down my micro braids in early June and it’s been a challenge finding ways to to style and protect my natural hair. The majority of the time I let my afro flow freely. However…I also found it more difficult to deal with my hair in it’s constant shrunken state. I would plait my hair, tie it up, and it would be stretched, but by the time I made it to work, some serious shrinkage have already taken place.

I’ve done heatless stretching on my hair by doing the banding method or braiding or plaiting my hair and it worked just fine…during the winter months without any humidity. It’s summer now and I wanted something that would take less time and last a little longer in this humid weather. As my family and I were preparing to go out of town a few weeks ago, I decided to straighten my hair with a straightening brush.

Straightening brush

Most straightening brushes look similar to this one pictured above, including mine. I only wanted to loosen my tight curls, not get it bone straight, so I only ran the brush through my hair twice at a 400 heat setting. I figured that after shrinkage took place, it still would be easier to deal with, and I was right. About two weeks later I used the brush again. At night I would plait up my hair in medium sized plaits and tie it up. In the morning I take them down and finger comb and go.

What also helps me in the stretching process is castor oil or Blue Magic hair grease. I have thick, coarse hair, so I need those heavier oils. The only thing is when using oil or grease, you need to be more diligent about washing your hair. Make sure you use a clarifying shampoo to help clear away any and all buildup.

In the photos below you see my hair after having used the brush, but significant shrinkage has also taken place. Despite the shrinkage, my hair has been more manageable. I know constant use of heat is not good for your hair, and I’m not going to use the straightening brush again for a while, but it’s a nice option to have when you want to do something different. Or when you’re simply trying to fight the heat and humidity. And since I hadn’t stretched or straightened my hair in quite some time, it was nice to see my growth progress.

stretched hair

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Using Coconut Milk As A Deep Conditioner

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Since going natural, I’ve become an avid reader of any and everything regarding caring for your hair using natural ingredients. I don’t try every suggestion I read either. I take my time and decide what I really want to try and what sounds like will benefit my hair. I’ve heard nothing but good things about coconut milk and how wonderful it is for hair growth, among other things. I’m already an avid coconut oil user, but never tried coconut milk. Money is tight so I couldn’t get the good stuff (organic coconut milk) so I opted for the canned version that you can get from your local grocery store, about $1.70 a can.

One of the things that coconut milk does besides aid in hair growth is relax and soften your hair. No, it does not straighten your hair like creamy crack relaxers. Rather, it naturally elongates your hair because coconut milk (and oil) are full of rich emollients. Many articles I’ve read suggested mixing honey, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, or olive oil with the coconut milk as a pre-poo treatment. Others suggested mixing coconut milk with your favorite conditioner to use as a deep conditioner. Since I didn’t have any honey on hand I opted for the deep conditioning method, and this is what I did:

1/4 cup of conditioner (I use the Wen brand – I LOVE that stuff)

1/2 can (give or take) of well shaken coconut milk

1  1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

Coconut milk conditioner

In a small bowl I mixed the ingredients with a fork. I immediately noticed that the mixture began to thicken up like whipped cream. I mixed it until the olive oil was mixed in well. Then I began to apply the mixture to my freshly washed scalp and hair. (Note to self: You don’t need to make so much next time!) I didn’t want to waste my mixture so I used all of it on my hair. I then spent about 3-4 minutes massaging the mixture into my scalp. After the scalp massage I finger detangled and finger combed my hair, giving a lot of attention to my ends. During this process, I noticed how much my hair stretched and how loose my curls were. I covered my hair with a plastic shower cap and let the mixture sit for about 45 minutes while I did laundry and other things around the house. The suggestion was  to leave the mixture in anywhere from 1-5 hours. Because I waited so late in the evening to wash my hair, I didn’t have time to let my mixture sit that long.

I rinsed the mixture out using lukewarm water and loved what I saw afterwards. My hair was definitely hanging longer and looser instead of being close to my scalp like it normally is. I went on with my hair care routine, oiling my scalp and applying other products to do a plait out. I plaited my hair in small plaits, and this let me see just how much my hair has grown. The next morning I gently took my plaits down, separated my hair and then styled it.

Plait out results1

In the above picture I pinned my hair up on one side. My bangs have NEVER hung down across my forehead like this! NEVER. To say that I was very pleased with the results of using coconut milk in my deep conditioning process would be an understatement!

Plait out day 2.0

This photo is the next day. I should have fluffed my hair before I took this picture, but oh well! I re-plaited my hair the night before (I had to. I have 4c hair, need I say more?), gently separated it and left it alone to do what it wanted. I think I look like Side Show Bob from the Simpsons (I LOVE his hair by the way!), but many people at work said they liked my hair today, lol! They are beyond sweet. 🙂 I like letting my hair do what it do. In closing, if you haven’t tried coconut milk as a deep conditioner or a pre-poo, please try it! I think you’ll be pleased with the results.