So I had said a month ago I think that I was gonna braid my hair and I have finally done it! I have been a little lazy though, I was supposed to do it a month ago! Shame on me. Anyhoo before braiding its best to stretch or straighten the fro for the benefit of the person who’s braiding it (makes it easier to part the hair) and for aesthetic purposes, no one likes little fuzzies showing through the braid. And since I’m doing twists this time around it’s harder to hide the fuzzies so I decided to get it straightened. However I didn’t want to use a flat iron (the sizzling sound is emotionally traumatizing!) so I decided I would do a blow out. But of course doing a blow out with a comb is extremely painful (and hacks chunks of your hair out) so I decided to give the tension method a try. I first saw the tension method mentioned in this article on Black girl with long hair and since I’d only seen tutorials of girls with shoulder length or longer hair using it I was a little skeptical that it may not work on me but it still did! 🙂
I watched this video of KinkyKurlyQueen using the tension method to straighten her hair. She has mid back length hair so it’s easier to see the technique when she does it.
The steps are as follows:
- Make sure the hair is slightly damp, not dripping wet and not bone dry either. (I had washed and deep conditioned my hair the day before so I just sprayed some water on to the hair before step 2)
- Apply whatever leave in or moisturizing hair product your favor, then heat protectant or some kind of oil (grape seed oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, sesame seed oil are good from heat protection too). I applied my JO’M cinnamon and jojoba oil moisturizer and followed it by sealing with castor oil since I did not have any other heat protectant, I figured castor oil was better than nothing.
- Get a bunch of clips to help section off your hair. Starting from the back or from one side separate one section making sure it is not too thick (or thin or you’ll take forever). Pull and hold the section as straight as possible with one hand (hold the hair at the ends), then with the blow dryer on the lowest setting, blow along the length of the hair with your dryer till its dry. The picture below should help illustrate my instructions…
- When you are satisfied that it’s dry enough, let go of the hair and it should be quite stretched.
- Use your fingers to “comb” out the ends or you can use a wide toothed comb to gently comb through the hair. You will experience very little breakage if any. I could literally count the hairs after combing which made me very happy!
- If you want to get the ends stretched too, hold as little of the hair at the ends as possible and blow dry along the hair (be careful not to burn your fingers!)
This took me quite a while because I kept stopping to do other things, but if you concentrate it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes regardless of the length of your hair. Your hair will not be bone straight so if bone straight is what you want you can then use a flat iron afterwards. And because your hair is already quite stretched you won’t need to use a high heat setting to straighten it.
My hair was soft as well afterwards and not dry and crunchy which I was also quite happy about. If you’re going to a hair salon you can do this the night before and tie it up with a hair band/ribbon. This way everyone wins, you straighten your hair without pain or breakage and your hair dresser is not complaining about how tough it is to work with your hair.
I was quite pleased with the results and will now be using this method to stretch/straighten my hair before braiding or before trimming. Another plus is that my hair won’t be super tangled when I unbraid later on. Awesome. I have done waist length medium sized twists. I know it’s a bit ridiculous since I am working currently but I’ll just get creative with my braided up do skills.
I used a light weight extension (One million braid extensions by Darling). Last time I used Expression which was much heavier! These ones only get really heavy when wet, otherwise they are quite light. I plan to aim to keep these for 2 months so these should take me to the end of August. Let’s see if I can last!