Want to turn your natural hair growth into turbo-drive?
Here’s an excellent trick I learned during my natural hair journey.
Stretch. Don’t Shrink!
If you think about it, it makes complete sense.
Curls, kinks, and coils have the instinctive tendency to shrink, which means they always revert to their tight and compact shape.
Think of curly hair like a spring. Until you stretch it out, you won’t know its true length.
That’s why growing natural hair always feels like a slow process because your lengths are sneakily disappearing into a densely packed crown of curls.
Is Curl Shrinkage Playing A Trick On You?
Most likely, yes.
Curly hair can shrink up to 90% of its stretch-out length, giving the illusion of shorter hair, stagnated growth, or inability to retain length.
Plus, curl patterns defy all beauty standards, including gravity. Instead of growing downwards, they grow upwards 🤷♀️
To better understand how your hair growth is progressing, you need to flip your hair care and embrace the stretch factor.
I’m not talking about yanking hard on your strands. Doing this will damage your curls.
By stretching, I mean loosening them up so that your curls can reveal more length, relax, and grow downwards instead of out in a bigger pouff.
Let me show you how to do it without damaging your curls.
How to Maintain Natural Hair Growth With The Stretch Technique
The biggest struggle with curly hair after washing is shrinkage.
But don’t get me wrong.
Shrinkage is not a bad thing at all. It means your hair is healthy if the strands can snap back into their true pattern.
The problem is when your curls dry out and shrivel up only to appear as though some of those glorious lengths have disappeared.
Depending on your shampoo, a wash day can either leave your hair dehydrated or full of bounce.
Using sulfate-based shampoos do more harm than good by stripping the natural oils that lubricate the lengths of your hair.
On the other hand, a co-wash has the opposite effect, leaving your hair soft and moisturized for longer.
Naturally, your curls will feel more elastic and have more stretch when they are wet, but their inherent moisture factor resets to Zero as soon as they dry out. By the time the next round of sebum starts to creep into them dry curls… guess what? It’s washday again!
The vicious cycle of washing and drying will always keep your curls shrunk.
To get more mileage and stretch after your hair wash, you need a product that can:
- Smooth and relax your curls downwards
- Moisturize without stripping moisture
- And help your curls retain that moisture for longer
The Shrinkage-Busting Curl Elongator
Say hello to the Curlsmith Curl Soufflé!
Rated as the best curl stretching and loosening product by our editors, it’s Curly Girl Approved, and boasts excellent abilities to moisturize and release any type of curl texture.
Add it to your hair care routine and watch how it helps you see more true lengths during your hair growth journey.
To help you further, let me throw in some more useful tips that I’ve practiced myself to help my curly hair grow.
6 Tips to Help You With Natural Hair Growth
1. Invest in a Silk Pillowcase or Sleep Cap
Unlike cotton pillowcases, silk and satin are less absorbent, smoother, and friction-free.
Switching to a silk or satin pillowcase will gradually make your hair better because of the following benefits:
- More moisture retention
- Fewer tangles
- Less frizz
- Less breakage
Instead of snagging or getting caught up in the rough texture of cotton, a silk or satin pillowcase will allow your hair to glide.
You’ll wake up with smoother hair that doesn’t need brushing and detangling.
Another excellent solution is to sleep with a silk or satin cap.
So how does this impact hair growth?
Less breakage = more length retention.
2. Be Gentle to Your Curls
Curly hair is so dang dry, like twigs.
If you brush them vigorously to detangle knots, you can literally hear them snap, crackle, and pop!
So don’t do it when your hair is dry.
Only detangle your hair in the shower with lots of conditioners and use a wide-tooth comb, making sure to always detangle from ends to roots.
When styling, I suggest using a Denman brush because it is crafted uniquely for curls.
It has super soft bristles that won’t damage your hair when detangling.
3. Avoid Excess Heat
Straggly ends, dry and miserable curls, the breakage…
Trust me: ALL of this is not worth a few days of pin-straight hair!
Once I stopped using heat, my hair felt full of life and energy.
Since then, I have not touched a straightener AGAIN.
Even with diffusing, I recommend using low heat to dry your hair and air dry whenever it is time convenient.
This step is crucial to avoid heat damage in your curls and extend a few more inches.
4. Add a Deep Conditioning Mask to Your Hair Routine
Deep conditioning masks are excellent for quenching dehydrated curls.
You should aim to apply these masks at least every other week before you wash your hair.
There are tons of great masks you can buy, but there are also easy and just as effective masks you can make at home. You’ll feel the difference in the moisture your hair retains throughout the week when deep conditioning.
With regular use of masks, you’ll notice how full of life your hair looks and feels, not to mention the improved ease in managing your curls.
Nobody wants to have to fix dry, damaged, and compromised hair because you have to baby it back to its healthy state.
5. Try a Therapeutic Hot Oil Treatment
I absolutely love love LOVE the results I saw after using a hot oil treatment in my hair.
My curls looked shinier, bouncier, and were less frizzy.
Even the areas of my hair that were heat damaged from previous years of straightening looked healthier!
Hot oil treatments are miracle workers. They are excellent at restoring your hair’s nutrients.
For a hot oil treatment, gather your favorite oils and mix them in a microwave-safe bowl. I like to heat mine in 30-second increments until the oil is warm, on the verge of a little hot, but not too hot.
Apply the oil throughout your hair and onto your scalp, remembering to get your ends very thoroughly.
I put a grocery bag over my head to preserve heat and keep it on for 3-4 hours, or you can sleep with it.
You need to try this out and experience the amazing effects this has on your growth!
Related: The baggy method for moisturizing low porosity hair.
6. Massage Your Scalp
This last tip has provided me with the most improvement, and it takes 10 minutes each week to complete.
Massaging your scalp is highly beneficial in promoting growth because it stimulates your hair follicles and increases blood flow to the area.
Before you wash your hair, flip your head over and massage your scalp. For enhanced results, apply a hair growth oil to your fingers and then rub that into your hair.
Do this for 10 constant minutes, and then wash as usual.
Stretch and Elongate Your Curls!
So there you have it.
One essential trick and a few extra bonus tips on top to help you magically find more length.
Go on. Unshrink and Elongate those curls!
The Shrinkage-Busting Curl Elongator
Jane is a freelance writer who occasionally writes for us.