Skip to main content

Stretched or Shrunken?

Avatar • Nov 15, 2010

Today we want to know how you rock your hair! Some naturals swear by stretched hair as the best way to retain length. Others swear by daily wash and go’s/regular rinsing. Do you leave your hair in a shrunken state, or do you stretch it? Why?

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
86 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
dannie
dannie
10 years ago

i find that stretched hair promotes damage… for my hair in particular though! protective styles like twists and shrunken styles like wash and go’s help me to retain length!

LOVE BGLH lol

Moni
Moni
10 years ago

100% team stretched! My hair is a curly, coily nightmare to detangle when shrunken, so after I reached a certain length (maybe at 5 or 6 inches) I simply don’t let it shrink anymore. I wash in braids/twists or in sections, they braid or twist it to dry. When wearing my hair out I rebraid it every night or every few nights to prevent it from tangling or shrinking too much. I even apply and rinse my henna in 4 sections, securing the other sections into bantu knots. This has helped increase my growth retention and minimize single strand knots.… Read more »

Fatim
10 years ago

I wear it both ways. But I liked it better stretched when it was short. Now that I have a “respectable lenght”…lool…I can wear it in a sweet little shrunken fro’

Krys
Krys
10 years ago

I mostly rock my hair in its ture state which results in shrinkage. I have 4b/4c hair and for those of you who are familiar with this hair type know what I mean. From time to time if I want a different look I’ll do a chuncky twist out, giving my hair some stretch (but not too much, my hair like to shrink).

paula
paula
10 years ago

I wear my hair stretched to avoid tangles and single strand knots. I also do alot of protective styles to retain length, this works great for my hair.

KurlyKels
10 years ago

I’ve just attained about 5 inches of natural hair and now I’m faced with figuring the stretching/shrinking thing out (in the fall/winter season at that). I honestly prefer stretched because I love big hair and the oil distributes really well that way. I’m thinking of not dealing with the shrunken-look for the most part. I’m still deciding how to deal…I’m in limbo.

vonnie
10 years ago

both are fine with my head.…I do wash n goes in the summer and it’s fine.…I do twists/twist outs in the winter and it’s fine. Making sure to keep moisturized is key to my hair health, it doesn’t mind if it’s shrunken or stretched

http://www.socialitedreams.com

Cass
Cass
10 years ago

Stretching is imperative at this stage. My hair hair shrinks up to 75% which causes knots. I thought that with length my hair would shrink less, but when shrunken my hair looks like it’s barely grown (even though it’s grown from ear length to arm pit length). For me daily washing/co-washing does more harm than good. My hair is extremely thick and curly. I find that as it gets longer its a nightmare to deal with when wet. I opt for stretched hair with low manipulation.

Kim
Kim
10 years ago

I tend to wear my hair either way…it really depends on my mood if I want a more full look or not.

iri9109
10 years ago

shrunken.…not by choice, but when my hair is out its always in a wash and go…which = shrinkage…i guess i could diffuse it to stretch it out, but to me it aint that deep lol i just let it do what it do…plus shrinkiness is a sign of good moisture levels lol

G
G
10 years ago

Stretched, definitely. Whenever I’m washing, air drying or sleeping my hair is in 8 to 10 braids (6 if I’m lazy). This is my only way to prevent single strand knots and it’s working.

ywoodard
ywoodard
10 years ago

Well i am trying something new…I am stretching. Primarily so that i can have lengthe and more styling options, but i presume that this will reduce tangling and such thus promoting retention. when i pressed my hair, i swore i was able to maintain more length,but i don’t want to press anymore (at least not regularly), so this is teh next best thing.

Faren
Faren
10 years ago

Stretched. All day everyday, baby! It really keeps the knots at bay. I have a routine: I wash my hair once a week, put in twists, release the twists and then braid my hair in four braids at night. I haven’t found a way to wear my hair out in a shrunken state without it knotting up.

thelady
thelady
10 years ago

I prefer stretched. I used to wear it shrunken all the time but now that it is longer detangling shrunken hair is a nightmare. I have 10+ inches of type 4 hair that I wear in twist or braid outs. I also wash it while braided to prevent tangles.

honeybrown1976
honeybrown1976
10 years ago

So, braid outs and twist outs are considered stretching? I’m transitioning and I do wear my hair in those styles (along with buns and ponytails). So, I would say stretching.

am
am
10 years ago

i guess i prefer stretch…I only say guess because right now i’m transitioning and i have to blow dry my hair when i wash it to make it manageable..so the blow drying stretches it…after that its back in a ponytail or an updo until the next wash…working with multiple textures..stretching is a whole lot easier.

cassadie
10 years ago

its interesting to read all the comments. I feel as though, I get more tangles when I stretch!

I like both, but usually wear my hair shrunken. This is when my coils are MOST defined. Over-stretching messes with their natural coily tendency and makes my hair stringy.

freeyourheart
10 years ago

i like a combo of both. i’m mainly a 2ST/coil/braid wearer, but i usually wear those styles for about 2–3 weeks then do a twistout. in the summer, i wear my ‘fro out & do wash & go’s more often, but i’m a protective styler by nature.

http://msjanelle.blogspot.com

steph302
steph302
10 years ago

Team Stretched. I have super tight coils so a wash & go for me is a recipe for a tangled, knotted mess. I never let my hair dry without being set in twists, braids or rollers.

CrystalJ
CrystalJ
10 years ago

Banding as a stretching method is the only way my hair stays untangled and fairy knot free. It’s easier for me to style during the week or throw it up into a bun without ripping my hair out. I also find that it helps me use far less product so my hair isn’t packed down with “stuff.”

Sajah Fivefour
Sajah Fivefour
10 years ago

If I attending an event or performing, I stretch it for the dramatic effect. But regularly I wear it shrunken because there’s less manipulation of my hair and no heat involved. Shrunken is healthiest for my hair.

Channelle
Channelle
10 years ago

I highly prefer stretching. Like many of you have said, allowing my tiny coils to shrink leads single strand knots or at the very least a nightmare detangling session. I usually wash my hair in whatever braids/twists I’d been wearing prior to wash time. If I had been wearing an “out” style I’ll section off my hair for washing and immediately braid it back up. Now sometimes I get lazy or want to rock a wash n go but 90-something % of the time I stay stretched.

CurlyChronicles
10 years ago

My hair isn’t feeling wash n go’s on a regular basis so shrunken styles are only worn sporadically. I don’t prefer it stretched per se, just not completely shrunken. My hair is at it’s best when it’s detangled and worn in a secured styled like a pin up. I braid it or twist it at night to keep it tangle free. Then it’s pinned up in the morning.

Fatty B.
10 years ago

as my hair has gotten longer, i’m finding it easier to stretch it (i wash in 8 sections, twist each section after i detangle it, squeeze out excess water, set on 12 flexi rods, sleep, fluff in the morning, repeat in a week and a half).
it gives my fro a fluffy look, w/o heat & i don’t have to manipulate it too much each day, except to moisturize and fluff.
oh and my hair is dumb thick, small, tight coils with amazing shrinkage.

CurlyChronicles
10 years ago

secured style* 🙂

Bitty Boss
10 years ago

Stretched all tha way! It keeps me from getting those dreaded single strand knots.

I stretch my hair by airdrying it in braids, cornrows, ponytails and roller sets (this last process is done about once a month).

http://adventuresinbayarealand.blogspot.com/

MikaMe
MikaMe
10 years ago

Im not sure at this point, honeybrown1976 i was wondering the same thing, I dont like heat on my hair at all! unless i really have to. But shrinkage is more so my taste. i dont do wash and go’s but i love to result of my hair when i do a twist out. I notice now ah days i prefer bigger twist for a longer clunkie look. Is that considered strech?? IDK! but what i do know is that heat and i dont mix nor match at this current moment.and when i wash i just twist it or towel dry…

sarah
sarah
10 years ago

i wear shrunken styles. even though i have really thick, dense hair, i’ve never really been length obsessed and i tend to get more breakage with stretched styles. good thing i’ve got a good regimen going for wash and gos.

Kristen
Kristen
10 years ago

Stretched. I hate knots and tangles…

Monique
10 years ago

My hair is most happy in stretched styles, this includes updos, braids or twists. I find that my hair knots a little too well in a shrunken state, causing detangling to be a NIGHTMARE!!! Even when I wear twist outs/braid outs — they last a day and my natural fro takes over any molded shape. My hair is 4b/4c.

Auset
10 years ago

I am definitely a shrunken state natural chica. I thought I would prefer stretched out styles, but I prefer shrunken for various reasons: it doesn’t require i style my hair to achieve the desired result, my hair looks fuller whereas stretched i think it looks flat and thin, i am addicted to wash-n-gos, at least at this length (a small afro, but longer than a twa). Even when I style my hair in twists, I don’t wear the twist (stretched) out version for long. I am eager to wash my hair back to its coily shrunken state.

francine
francine
10 years ago

hi everyone! does anyone know how the model in the picture above got her hair to look like that? i’d like to try it sometime! thanks!! 🙂

J.Monet
10 years ago

I do a “wash and go” on my wash days…then I stretch my hair with a blow dryer, from that same wash and go, daily for a week. I never have to wet my hair again for the remainder of the week until the following wash day. I sleep on a satin pillow and that is all. I suffer from no heat damage and I attribute that to the fact that I use a heat protectant with each use of the blow dryer ((CHI Silk Infusion)) & weekly deep conditioning. My hair in it’s shrunken state looks the same length… Read more »

francine
francine
10 years ago

hi everyone! does anybody know how the model in the picture above got her hair to look like that? i’d like to give it a try but am not sure how to do about it. thanks so much!! 🙂

Kimmy
Kimmy
10 years ago

I prefer my hair in it’s shruken state. I wear it both ways, but 90% of the time its shruken. I have about 5 inches of hair, so it’s just easier for me to maintain it shruken at this stage of the game. I do love the way it looks and feels streched, but I think I have more breakage when I do. Oh, what’s a gal to do 🙂

jaince
jaince
10 years ago

When I wash and condition, I usually do everything in big braids, then when it’s time to moisturize, I undo braids moisturize and re-twist and let them air dry. I then put it up in protective styling. The first time I actually stretched my hair in about a year was yesterday. believe me guys– I was very impressed, no complaints here. I’m not doing that again until June next year. From top to bottom my hair is extremely thick. I can’t stand scraggy ends, so unattractive.

Nicole
10 years ago

I do both; sometimes I’ll do one we curly and the next stretched. Stretched hair is easier for my to do updos with, and I love shrunken curly styles too. I like the variety and versatility.

Tess
Tess
10 years ago

Shrunken!Loves it! 🙂 :p

Ruth
Ruth
10 years ago

I’ve realized that I like my hair stretched and this is helping prevent knots like some have mentioned above. Why is that? I thought two strand twist and protective styles were suppose to prevent them. However, in the past week, I’ve had little to no single strand knots and I’m loving it!

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

What a timely post. I am trying to get a regime in place to retain length now that my hair is longer. My hair is very fine 4a and I have ssk’s from here to tomorrow! I prefer the texture of my hair shrunken b/c of the fineness, it gives it more fullness but it is easier to manage when stretched. I love reading the comments as I am getting some great advice. Are you all saying that washing my hair in braids or twists will help prevent these damn knots? So after washing, do I let it dry while… Read more »

SA
SA
10 years ago

Any style that requires braiding/twisting is a semi-stretched style, so that includes braidouts/twistouts.

I prefer keeping my hair semi-stretched 90% of the time. My hair is easier to style this way, knots aren’t a problem and I retain more length.

Monisola
Monisola
10 years ago

I have no idea at all what works better for my hair. I have not worn it in its shrunken state/wash n go in a while. For the past five months it has consistently been in a protective style or head wrap. After this, my hair finally has enough length to wear proper twist outs/stretched stlyes.
I am pretty sure that keeping it stretched is the best for me, but I am investigating!

drmsd
drmsd
10 years ago

I just started wearing protective styles as a result of wearing a wash and go for too long. I prefer the way my hair looks when it’s stretched. It looks like I actually have growth, and my hair moves when I shake it. And it’s easier to detangle b/c my ends aren’t free to do as they please. Anything that cuts down on detangling time is a plus in my book!

Cashmonae
Cashmonae
10 years ago

stretched via twistouts,braidouts, and bantu knots. If I do not twist or braid my hair at night I put it in a puff in the am. When I do decide to comb my hair again it is the knotty truth. I prefer stretche bc then I do not have to comb it at all, it is detangled and everything is copastetic. I thought my hair hated being loose, my hair hates being unstretched. I can not say if this is hindering my growth because I am a twisted diva. I have been wearing my hair loose since nov. 2. Will… Read more »

MP
MP
10 years ago

Usually shrunken because it takes less effort. Also, because my hair is livelier with a full curl. It loses something when it’s stretched. The fact that it’s very easy to stretch my curl pattern out and turn it into fluff is a characteristic I’m usually not into despite my love for volume. I adore my kinks and curls. I have no length goals. I just chopped a few inches off of my hair a couple of weeks ago.

mangomadness
mangomadness
10 years ago

I wear it stretched via braid-outs. It keeps my hair from tangling too much in between styling sessions.

Brianna
Brianna
10 years ago

I love shrunken better. At least right now. I hate braiding my hair and stretching my hair. I just moisturize and apply a little KCCC and go. Its aided my hair in growth and i enjoy it because it traps in the moisture.

Marie
Marie
10 years ago

If I’m going to get braids then I stretch my hair. I never use heat, though. I wind it with thread and keep it for several hours (usually overnight) and that fully stretches it.

However, I leave it shrunken 95% of the time. No stress that way. I just wash and go.

Naturaltrini22
Naturaltrini22
10 years ago

Sometimes Stretched to achieve length in a two strand twist style. But normally I LOVE MY hair short. To me it doesnt matter if it is shrunken or stretched once you take good care of it.

Ain't I an African
Ain't I an African
10 years ago

I have dreadlocks but keep my seven year old’s hair stretched most of the time. It’s just so much easier. Occasionally I leave it out in an afro or afro puff(s). Before I had dreadlocks I would stretch mine too.

Leo the Yardie Chick
Leo the Yardie Chick
10 years ago

I stretch mine with the banding method, since I wear my hair in protective styles unless I’m washing it. The hairdressers stretch it anyway — with heat! >_< Hence, I prefer my slow-and-steady home care for stretching and then getting my hair styled.

Though I am seriously contemplating cutting my hair into a TWA next month to get rid of the rest of the damaged ends that I have. If I go that route, then it will be wash n’ gos until it’s long again.

Jamila Reddy
10 years ago

I wear stretched out styles because i LOVE big hair, and it helps me avoid fairy knots.…

http://collegecurlies.blogspot.com/

Dee on team stretched
10 years ago

STRETCHED is the best way for me, my hair shrinks too much w/ wash n gos and I dont care to much for that style

Dee on team stretched
10 years ago

I wanted to add I found more versatility with stretched hair

trackback

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by College Curlies, Black Girl Long Hair. Black Girl Long Hair said: Do you rock your hair stretched or shrunken? Why? http://bit.ly/aYlb0y #naturalhair […]

lil-shaun
lil-shaun
10 years ago

STRETCHED!!! DAMN THOSE KNOTS!!!

Keysha
Keysha
10 years ago

Francine, it appears she just stepped out of bed.

LBell
LBell
10 years ago

Currently the shrunken wash and go is my only style and I love it BUT the only reason it’s working for me is because my hair is short (3″ at the top down to maybe 1/2″ at the sides and nape). It’s been short since March; prior to that I spent the better part of two years stretching it almost every single night (dampening and then either twisting or plaiting). In retrospect I’d probably have done better by blow-drying it once a week; as it is, I’m kind of over nightly stretching. Whoever can tell me how I can continue… Read more »

helga crane
helga crane
10 years ago

I agree with lil-shaun- damn those knots!! lol. Streched is the way to go with my hair!!!

bhf
bhf
10 years ago

What do you guys mean by “stretched”? Are you talking about having protective style?

Moni
Moni
10 years ago

Stretched hair is when your hair is manipulated so that it is longer (and less curly/“looser”) than it would be if it was allowed to shrink into its natural curl pattern. Obviously straight hair is stretched but hair is also stretched if it is blow dried, braided, twisted or banded. Twistouts and braidouts are also stretched as long as the style retains the stretched out pattern. Stretching helps prevent knots and tangles and may help your hair approve smoother and shinier.

Nubo
Nubo
10 years ago

Stretched to avoid knots, tangles and general grief during wash day. I never wear my hair loose because it doesn’t like it and I would be asking for trouble wearing shrunken 4b hair. Haven’t been a shrinkie since the TWA days.

Aisha
Aisha
10 years ago

Stretched, although not to full capacity. But shrunken is a “hell no” for me.

Shreveport
Shreveport
10 years ago

I do a bit of both. Today I’m wearing it in its shrunken state. And sometimes I will two strand twist it. I love the versatility of my hair now.

EbonyPearl
EbonyPearl
10 years ago

Stretched. Same here with the knots situation, and I find that I have to trim more often because of split ends. I seat with oils and shea butter after washing, but I still have those problems, so I’m sticking to what works for me. I’ll either stretch with a med setting, wide tooth comb on my blow dryer, or occasionally, when I make the time, sit under a bonnet with rollers and dry.

Lilies
10 years ago

If I wear my hair out, which is rare, I have it shrunken. I love my hair big but I stand out less with it in a mini afro.

vashti
vashti
10 years ago

Im a wash n go girl. My hair is very curly in the back and looser curls in the front. On the left side of the front its even looser then any other part and when I put twists in to stretch that part of my hair hardly ever wants 2 take and when I tried a braid out that part was just stickin straight up. Also I it takes me like an hour 2 do twists and when I wash and go my curls r almost the same so I just can’t c myself spending so much time on… Read more »

alldaynatural
10 years ago

I have been thinking about this lately too. I realized that as my hair grows, I retain more length when it is stretched. Otherwise, the ends begin to tangle.

bhf
bhf
10 years ago

Thanks for the explanation Moni! =)

Twitty
10 years ago

Both. I like different looks so if I want my hair to look longer, I do a twist out. I’m very fond of the way my hair looks when it shrinks so it doesn’t bother me. Some people are insanely shocked when I stretch out a strand of hair to show them how long it really is.

Cygnet
10 years ago

Stretched, please! My strands are fine and break easily, and I have several different curl patterns going on up there. I’ve seen a good bit of length retention this year because of keeping it in small plaits. My hair hates being bound, and my plaits unravel at the ends, so I still get a few ssk’s, but at least this way it’s easier to manage. I wore it mostly unbound last year, when it was shorter, and even then I had to bind it in chunky twists or plaits nightly to keep it from being a styling nightmare the next day.

Olivia
10 years ago

For the most part, I wear my hair stretched not for any particular reason. That’s just what happens by the end of a twisted week 🙂

morethanwords3130.wordpress.com

Latrilla
Latrilla
10 years ago

I stretch my hair. I love big hair! My hair shrinks ALOT!

DBryant
DBryant
10 years ago

I am not sure but I think stretching might be the answer for me. I usually rock two strand , but I was constantly experiencing little knots on the end of my hair strand (a type of split end) But a month ago I had it professionally flat ironed for a week and I haven’t seen those knot since. After that week I have gone back to twist but I am thinking I need to stretch periodically to keep those knots away any input?

Amber
10 years ago

In the summer I wore a lot of wet twist outs, wash and gos. Now that it is winter I love blow outs! So I say stretched for the big look.

babycakes
babycakes
10 years ago

For the most part my hair is stretched becuase i leave it in twist all the time, but when i do wear my afro out, I tend to wet it soit shrinks to a certan extent, becuase it easier to add products to damp hair 4me rather than dry hair.

merry
merry
9 years ago

for some reason i don’t like the term stretch.

jj
jj
9 years ago

@merry. Me neither!!

Shell
Shell
9 years ago

After I wash my hair, I twist it up but I have trouble doing the 2 strand twists that I saw on Youtube. I had been twisting my hair but not the way I saw in the videos. I tried a few but that would take me forever. Sometimes, instead of twisting my hair, I just braid individual braids. Sometimes in the summer, I might not twist at all. That will last about 2 days then I either have to twist it to keep the knots away or I have to wash it. My hair has the propensity to get… Read more »

NappyMarge
9 years ago

I wash, condition and put a small amount of my curl enhancing gel while my hair is still wet. Braid some few medium size braids and leave it to dry. My hair shrinks up to 70–80 percent but I dont mind. Try not to manipulate it too much. With the passing days I will add a few curl gel or creme on my hair before restyling it for bed time. With this method my hair stays moistured, sealed and I get elongated twist / braid outs.

Victoria Tillman
Victoria Tillman
9 years ago

I just started stretching my hair, and it seems to be more manageable and tangles less when I do my hair this way. I just conrow it every night put on silk bonnet.

HeyDrey
HeyDrey
9 years ago

It is almost impossible for me to stay away from fairy knots if I do not stretch. I cannot even consider not stretching!

Afrochika
Afrochika
8 years ago

Right now, I wash and go every morning and it works well for me. I only have 3.5″ of stretched hair, which in it’s shrunken state is 1″, so I just leave in shrunken. I have 4a hair.

Queenz
Queenz
8 years ago

I adore my shrunken hair ” personally” it shrinks about 80% of its length. But my hair is too fine and will break if it’s worn that way. Also I find even though I’m in love with wash n go’s I still feel self conscious of how people will view it. Smfh sad I know. I been natural for 4 yrs and have 13inches of hair and wore a wash n go probably NEveR! I’ll get the courage one day:)

df
df
8 years ago

I adore my shrunken fro too. I shape it into a tapered TWA ? I’m not sure if I’m in the TWA stage or in the awkward stage bc my hair is definitely not short when stretched. I don’t get bad tangles unless I don’t keep it moisturized but don’t do daily wash n go’s. I pray I’m able to wear a shrunken fro when my hair is longer just because it would be such a easy style and it would be a viable style option out of many.

df
df
8 years ago
Reply to  df

Ok I just measured my hair and most of it is between 4–6 inches. Is this still TWA length? I look weird in stretched hair so I’ll just accept that I’m in awkward phase land. If I stretch it I pretty much end up spritzing it with water till it shrinks to a slightly bigger but still shrunken fro and then I’m happy. I have more SSK’s but not too much and they are only out of control if my hair is dry.

86
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart