Stretching My Afro – The Myth of the Wash and Go

I don’t know any person with Afro hair who does a ‘wash and go’.  I have about 50-75% shrinkage so the wash and go is off limits to me too.

This is what I start off with post wash …

Shrinkage - Post wash Shrinkage - Post wash Shrinkage - Post wash and if I didn’t wash it sectioned and plaited up it would be even more coiled up…  so stretching is the only choice I’m making post wash.

Method 1  – plaits (too lazy to care)

Step 1    T-shirt and air dry hair for about an hour.  Keep it in the plaits it was washed in

Step 2    Re-plait the sections using a leave-in and sealing product

Step 3    Keep them in for about 2-3 days whilst they dry (it really does takes that long).  Either rock the granny plaits or headscarf it up.

Step 4    The take down.  Usually 5-7 days later.

This stretch was achieved using plaits that were set on wash day and taken down 5 days later

This stretch was achieved using plaits that were set on wash day and taken down 5 days later

Method 2 – Banding (when I’ve got a bit of time to spare)

Banded Hair

I like the results of banding but the elastic cuts my hair and the tights suck out the moisture – so I never do this on wet hair and I take extreme care when removing the bands.  The bands are from Primark.  The brown bands are from cutting up a cheap pair of tights

Step 1    T-shirt and air dry hair for about an hour.  Keep it in the plaits it was washed in

Step 2    Re-plait the sections using a leave-in and sealing product

Step 3    On day 2 (when the hair is mostly dry) undo a plait from the back retaining the 3 sections of the plait.  Each section will become a ponytail that you ‘band’ all the way down.

Step 4    Spritz each each section with water and seal with product of choice (either a shea butter based product or castor oil for me).

Step 5    Take a section and a ponytail holder.  Do the business; a firm but not tight hold .  Keep applying bands down the length of the hair.  Tuck the very end of the hair into the elastic band.

Step 6    Repeat for all sections.

Step 7    The take down.  Usually 7-14 days later.

Method 3 – Threading (I’ve got loads of time and I want my hair faux straight)

Threaded Hair -

After all the threading is done

Threaded Hair - Almost finished

Styling the threaded sections

Step 1    T-shirt and air dry hair for about an hour.  Keep it in the plaits it was washed in

Step 2    Re-plait the sections using a leave-in and sealing product

Step 3    Keep them in for about 2-3 days whilst they dry.

Step 4    Take down the plaits and use the sectioning to determine the pattern for the threaded sections.  Re-plait these sections loosely.

Step 5     Comb the section to be threaded first.  This is one of the few occasions when I comb my hair – I don’t want my hair to matt (the style can be kept in for up to 3 weeks) and if you are going to wear it out after the take down it gives a sleeker finish.  Thread it up.

Step 6    Repeat until all the section are complete.  Style the threaded hair.

Threaded hair styled - The crown

Threaded hair styled – The crown

I prefer above all else to thread my hair – not only is it a premier protective style; all my hair is covered.  It is also a style in itself which I’ll rock for about 2 weeks and then have super stretched hair (no knots, no tangles) for a few days before I wash it.  But the reality is that for most of the time I’m using method 1.

For banding and threading the following maxims hold true: The smaller the sections the straighter the hair.  The closer together the banding/threading the straighter the hair.  The longer you keep it in the straighter the hair.

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One response to “Stretching My Afro – The Myth of the Wash and Go

  1. Pingback: How to Avoid Shrinkage | Me and my funky afro·

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