by Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes
It was just an ordinary Saturday afternoon and I was watching one of my favorite movies, while performing one of my not so favorite necessities… detangling my hair. I don’t hate detangling but I don’t love it either. I do love the results afterwards which makes it more than bearable! As I was watching the movie I received a text about a last minute business dinner later that day. Great!!! I wasn’t even half way through my detangling session so there was no way I was going to finish before dinner.
Since I had already detangled about a quarter of my hair that quarter was more stretched than the rest of my tangled sections so for the tangled sections to appear similar to the detangled section, I placed my loose twists into “twisted bantu knots” to stretch the rest of my hair. Several hours later I took the bantu knots out and put my hair up into one of my favorite updo styles and kept it moving. When I came home later that night after the dinner I was too tired to stay up and start detangling my hair so I waited until the morning and boy did I discover a wonderful surprise!
As I begin to detangle the sections of hair I hadn’t finished the previous day I noticed the sections were more manageable and easier to get through than usual. Then it clicked, the day before I had placed my tangled loose twist into bantu knots to stretch them a bit. The stretch caused my curls to loosen and I was able to detangle easier and faster than normal, which cut my detangling session in half! This of course would make sense because the curlier and finer the hair the more difficult it is to detangle, but stretch those curls a bit before you detangle and things go much smoother.
As with anything there are precautions to take with stretching tangled hair in preparation for detangling. Here are some guidelines I follow to secure minimal to no breakage.
Yes, stretching can be done on freeform strands but hair that is worn in a protective style during the week is better for attempting this method because the hair is already somewhat separated. Dry stretching on freeform strands is possible, but it will take more time, patience and effort.
Twisting Over Braiding
When twisting you only have to separate out 2 sections versus 3 when you braid and when messing around with tangled strands the less stress you put on your hair is the better.
Twisting or braiding on tangled stretched hair should be done in large sections. Putting your hair in small braids or twist can result in more breakage because you are placing more stress and manipulation on your strands. The larger the sections you choose for your preferred method the less chance for breakage and more tangles.
Twist Before You Knot
Since my method of stretching for in between washes is bantu knots, I prefer to twist my hair before I knot. I divide my twists into 8 sections and twist up each section until I am left with 8 big twists, then I proceed to bantu knot.
Remember your hair is tangled which means your strands are in a weaker state and more susceptible to breakage. Never braid or twist tightly because this will cause more harm than good. Your method should be a “casual firm”. Whenever I detangle, the roots of my hair are the most difficult to get through so when wrapping my twists into bantu knots I’m especially gentle at the root.
Oil, Oil, Oil
Do not attempt this method without some type of slip. You don’t have to drown your strands with oil but just enough goes a long way. You never want to attempt “tangle stretching” on super dry hair because it won’t be strong enough to sustain any method of stretching without breaking.
Dry Over Wet
Not only can wet hair cause more tangles but your hair is at its weakest state when wet because of the water weight absorbed by your strands. So never attempt “tangled stretching” when your hair is wet.
“Tangled Stretching” should be looked at as a step to aid in an easier detangling session, not a method to prolong your style for weeks till your next detangling section. Waiting longer than a couple of days (can be more or less depends how fast your hair reverts due to lifestyle and weather) can do more harm than good because your tangled strands will not stay stretched forever and will revert and you’ll lost that window of an easier detangling session.
Have you applied any of these tips? And do you ever stretch your hair before detangling?