If there's ONE THING in common with sistas who have loooooong type 4 hair, it's that they wear their hair in stretch styles. You betta believe it....
Apart from other critical regimen techniques like constantly moisturizing their hair, using the right products, keeping protein balance, and avoiding damaging chemicals, most women with long kinky hair that OWNS every room they walk into, wear their hair in stretched styles... Often.
It's so important.... Why?
Knots Are The Enemy Of Long Kinky Hair
If you've just done TBC (the big chop) or you have short hair, there's FAR less chance for your lusciousness to form tangles and knots.
See, for short hair it's difficult for your strands to completely loop around themselves.
It's like someone with super short legs and small feet, they don't to worry as much about tripping over their own feet like the tall, long-legged geek with big feet. (raising my hand, I'm that tall geek, lol)
OK, regardless of that possibly failed analogy... Look...
Fact is, as your hair grows, the ends become more susceptible to tangles because that's the nature of kinky hair. The tight coils, curls and kinks like to curl back into themselves, that's the cause of our oh-so-famous "shrinkage".
[See this post with 21 photos showing HOW REAL THE SHRINKAGE IS.]
Don't trip though, shrinkage is a great or bad as you decide to view it. I personally think the shrinkage is MAGICAL. But that's me...
And hey, shrinkage is a great way to observe if your hair strands are healthy or not, but can pose a big problem when your goal is to grow your kinky hair really long.
As your kinky hair strands start "gettin' into the mix" and curling back into the others, they can easily form the dreaded (no pun intended) single strand knots or multi-strand knots and set your length retention way back.
Apart from the severe cuticle damage they cause, they can either break off at the knot or tangle up with other strands and form giant knots. Girrrrrrrl...
This can quickly lead to a lot of breakage (a lot of crying) and make it seem like your hair is not growing when it really is.
Never Comb or Brush Unstretched Hair!
Let's be real.... There are many ways to form tangles with long kinky hair, but for the most part, they're almost guaranteed to happen every time you try to comb or brush unstretched hair, especially when it's not wet or drenched in highly-moisturizing products, it's obvious that trying to comb through full kinky hair is going to cause some problems.
Simple Solution To Knots & Tangles
A very effective way to avoid all of this is to wear your hair in stretched styles. See, kinky hair loses moisture quickly and has stronger carotene bonds than straight hair.
So when it dries it tends to shrink up and become really stiff. Stretching your hair is a safe and easy way to avoid tangles and knots so you can retain length.
With stretched hair your strands won't loop back into itself and form knots, also it's a lot easier to comb and detangle without causing more tangles.
5 Ways to strech type 4 natural hair (video)
Stretched Natural Hairstyle Ideas
There are a lot of stretching techniques and styles available, believe it or not most of them are not anything new and have been used all over the world for centuries.
Bantu knots are really popular in the fashion, movie and the music industry because they are SLAAAAAYAGE personified honey!
They're a great way to differentiate yourself and add an edge to your style. A bantu knot out creates a more curly wavy pattern that's fun and springy.
Even still, there are many other stretching techniques like threading buns and wraps, they each have unique benefits and limitations so it's best to try them to see which one works best for you.
Trouble Stretching Very Dense Hair?
For Lovelies with highly dense hair, you probably have noticed that none of these methods are as effective at stretching your hair. Well...
The proper use of heat can help greatly in safely stretching your hair, but everyone is different and unique. The way someone with straight hair uses heat is completely different from how someone with kinky hair would use it.
For kinky type 4 hair the heat should be kept to a minimum and should be used less frequently, for example, no more than once a month. I hope this article was able to help you understand why stretching her hair is so important for length retention LOVES!