How To: Heatless Stretching Using African Threading

Preserve and stretch your tresses

Shrinkage can be real for high porosity hair. High porosity hair easily absorbs water, oil and other products making it difficult to retain moisture and stretch. Some people combat shrinking by blow drying their hair or using hair straighteners. The tradeoff with these methods is that they can be damaging to your tresses, negating all of that great work you’ve put in to achieve length and growth. A great solution to this is hair stretching. 

Hair stretching example

Hair stretching is a method used to stretching hair by wrapping thread around chunks of hair in a corkscrew fashion. The effect is like the blow out look (pictured above). If done well, it can double as both a heatless blow dry method and a protective style to wear by itself or under a wig. Hair stretching is affordable, easy and can be done at home. The method below can be used on newly washed, or dry hair. Follow the instructions below for beautiful, heat free, stretched hair. 


  • Thread (the kind used for sew-in weaves works well) 
  • A spray bottle with water and 2-3 squirts of conditioner mixed in
  • A moisturizing curl activator gel (We like this one. You can get it at most grocery stores in Nairobi. ) 
  • An oil moisturizer that works for your hair (ex: coconut oil, black castor oil, etc.)
  • Large comb 


  1. Separate hair into neatly parted sections. 5-7 sections work for most people. If you have thicker hair, you will want to have 7.
  2. Begin with the section of your choice. 
  3. If your hair is dry, spray conditioner mix onto hair until damp (NOT DRENCHED). If it is wet, simply add a leave-in conditioner. No need to wet it again.
  4. Detangle section with comb or fingers
  5. Add oil to section, then add curl activator
  6. Take a piece of thread that is double in length to the length of your hair un-stretched
  7. Wrap a piece of thread around your index finger, then take one mini section, hold it firmly at the base and begin wrapping the thread around your hair in a corkscrew fashion. Make sure that you are wrapping your hair firmly (not tightly) and stretching your hair with your hands as you wrap the thread around it. 
  8. Continue wrapping until you reach the tip of your hair. Tie the thread around your hair to secure it. 
  9. Repeat this step until all sections are threaded.
  10. Keep this style for 7-10 days. Wear it under your wigs or pinned down.

A few notes

  • You can thread more or fewer sections of your hair according to how thick or coily your hair is. Experiment and see how the effect on your hair varies.
  • Be sure to moisturize your hair everyday with an oil of your choice to make sure your hair does not dry out
  • Wrap threaded hair in a silk headscarf every night to preserve moisture

If you are visual learner, watch this video!

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