Another great method of stretching out the tight curl pattern of natural hair without using heat is by banding the hair. Banding is simply using small hair elastics or hair bands along a section of hair. The section will be held stretched by the bands, and will thus leave the hair stretched when taking the bands out of the hair. Banding the hair can give roughly the same results as a blow dryer.
Here are the hair bands I use to band my hair. They are cloth hair bands, and are very cheap. I got them from Sally's for about two bucks (I believe the brand is Koko.) Try to get some that won't leave fluff all over your hair.
I first moisturize and seal all my hair. I simply take a section of hair and tie one band around the base of the root, then I begin wrapping the band down the length of my hair in sort of a zig-zag motion. I then tie another band about an inch below that, and do the very same thing. I continue until I'm about an inch from the ends of my hair. I then make a two-strand twist with the remaining hair.
For my very tight curls and coils, I separate my hair into six sections, then band three sections of hair. For the middle section (hair that is close to the middle of my head) my hair is thicker, so I will band in four or five sections. This then comes to a total of 20-22 sections of banded hair.
Here is the end result. The closer the bands are together, the more of a stretch you'll get. It is also usually necessary to use smaller sections if your hair is very thick.
My hair was freshly washed and conditioned, so it was pretty wet when putting the bands in. I like to band on wet hair because my hair sets very nicely for a good stretch.
It is very easy to sleep in banded hair. Cover it up with a satin scarf. Be sure that your bands are not wrapped too tightly around your hair, especially the band that holds the root, or it may feel uncomfortable and/or painful, and may also damage your hair follicles.
The next morning, my hair is fully dry, and I can start taking the bands out. I make sure to unravel the two-strand twists before unwrapping the bands.
Here's how it looks when first taking them out.
Here's how it looks after brushing the section out with a Tangle Teezer.
You can see that I got a pretty good stretch! I used my stretched hair for my pin-up bun hairstyle.
This method is probably one of the best methods of stretching natural hair. Depending on the tightness of your curl pattern and the thickness of your hair, it can take a while to put all the bands in, but the results last me all the way until wash day (provided that I don't get it wet.) This method is a lot more effective than the twisting method because twists don't stretch the hair nearly as much as the bands do, resulting in a greater amount of shrinkage.
I love the heatless methods of stretching out natural hair. Really, who needs heat? :)