First And Foremost, Shrinkage Is Not The Enemy
It would be a disservice to talk through all the benefits of stretching without first acknowledging that shrinkage is not bad. In fact, it’s a great sign of healthy hair. It means that your hair’s elasticity is intact and it is properly moisturized. Though it is often framed as nothing more than a nuisance, shrinkage is a healthy and natural part of having natural hair.
That being said, there are some unique benefits to regularly stretching your natural curls. Here are a few of them.
Stretching Can Prevent Fairy Knots
Keeping your hair in a stretched state can oftentimes prevent those dreaded fairy knots or single strand knots. These are formed by a single strand of hair getting tangled around itself and tying a knot that can not be untangled. The only possible way to get rid of them is to cut them out. This can be catastrophic to your length retention goals. Stretching your hair regularly can keep the strands from working themselves into these little knots.
Stretching Can Reduce Tangles
In the same vein, regular stretching of your natural hair can prevent all types of knots and tangles by keeping the strands elongated. When your curls are in their natural state, it can sometimes be very easy for the curls and coils to become locked together in breakage-causing knots. Stretching can cut down on that, leading to less breakage in the long run.
Stretching Can Help You Monitor The Health Of Your Ends
Just like any other regular maintenance, regularly stretching your natural hair can help you keep a consistent eye on the health of your ends. When it's shrunken it can sometimes be difficult to notice when your ends need trimming, but when it’s stretched, it can become very clear when your ends may need some dusting.
Stretching Can Help Sebum From Your Scalp Reach Your Ends
Finally, stretching your hair regularly could help the sebum on your scalp work it’s way down the shaft of your hair to your ends. Everyone’s scalp, no matter their texture, produces sebum. It is a thick natural oil that can keep your hair moisturized from the inside out, as well as protected. When your hair is in it’s naturally curly/coily state, gravity isn’t enough to carry the oil to your ends. Stretched natural hair has less bends and curls so the oil can travel downward more easily.
Do you stretch your hair often? Why or why not? Share with us in the comments.