African Hair BandingLike many of the tests and techniques I've discussed recently, hair banding has been something I've heard of since the beginning of my natural hair journey. Also like everything else, I've never tried it. I'm stepping outside of many boxes, so I saw this technique and thought "why not?".
What is The Banding Method?The Banding Method, also known as African Hair Banding, is a way to stretch natural hair without using heat. The basic concept of the method is to wrap sections of damp hair with some sort of "band". A "band" can be anything from hair scrunchies, to ribbons, rubber bands, strips of cotton, yarn, you name it! The list goes on and on and on!
I haven't been interested in stretching my hair since I decided to "just let my hair be"! However, one of the bloggers I follow did a YouTube video about it, and I was taken away by the results. We have similar hair, so my interest was piqued!
Before the TechniqueBefore seeing this video, I thought I had perfected my wash and go and I couldn't have been happier!! I have slightly modified the method since my post, so let me shed some light on what those changes are first!
1. I used to pre-poo/detangle before getting in the shower to wash my hair. My mind too me back to the matted mess I dealt with after taking out my sew-in. I remembered that my hair turns into butter under water, so I thought it would be helpful to continue detangling my hair before shampooing (or cowashing) but to do it under running water. I've chosen to stick with the conditioner rather than the oil.
2. The LCO Method is definitely where it's at for my hair. It makes much more sense than the LOC Method. It keeps my hair super moisturized for many days after wash day! Two thumbs up there.
...and last but not least
3. My staple products are: Suave Naturals for detangling/"pre-pooing", Creme of Nature Co-Wash (or ORS Shampoo and Conditioner for wash days), Mixed Chicks Leave-In, Creme of Nature Argan Buttermilk, Shea Butter, and Dark & Lovely Twist Gel 'N Butter. I'm still experimenting with a deep conditioners, but these products are locked in!
How To Band Your HairI've learned that it's better to work with my hair in sections, especially on wash days. I section my hair into 4 sections, and per the video, I decided to finger detangle each section as I applied the products to help get a more defined look.
Next, I grabbed about 12 ouchless ponytail holders. I waited until my hair was about 75% dry before putting the "bands" on. I didn't want the sections of hair to be too small because I thought it would take away from the volume of the finished product. I put three ponytail holders down each section and here's what that looked like:
I was worried about the bands compromising my curl pattern but as you can see, this wasn't a problem.
Will I Use This Technique Again?I will absolutely use this technique again. This type of stretching isn't harmful to hair if done correctly. No heat is used and there's minimal tension used on my hair when it's banded.
I'm able to get the looser wash and go look I've been craving! I'll be natural for 4 years in January, so I suppose some of that length and hair movement comes with my hair being longer. This wash and go look actually resembles my unstretched twist outs, which you know is my go-to!
|Top = After|
Bottom = Before
My staple products feed my hair throughout the week. I think applying the products on my soaking wet hair helps lock in moisture too. Also, I've added a Moisture Mixture which gives my hair life between wash days! I no longer battle with feelings of dry hair! So, be on the lookout for my blog post about this new Moisture Mixture.
I can say my wash and go routine is perfected, but each and every day and every interaction is an opportunity for learning moments. I had a learning moment with banding, who knows what it will be next time!
Have you ever used hair banding to stretch your hair?