Stretch Your Curls Heatlessly With African Threading


Isi owu in Igbo, Irun kiko in Yoruba, or African Threading in Youtube/Natural hair community speak, is a great way to stretch your hair, and no it isn’t supposed to hurt. Note that you are stretching the hair you can see, NOT the one in your follicles. It also makes for beautiful styles, see my home girl Chimamanda Adichie here and Kemi Lewis here– but today, we’re talking about using it simply to stretch.

I tried this once in January, but my hair wasn’t dry when I loosened the thread, and so the results weren’t any different from loose chunky twists. I decided to try it again two or three weeks ago, and I gave my hair enough time to dry. My lovely roommate F threads for me. I’m so lame at these things, my days, but I’ll learn to thread properly soon! 🙂


I detangled my hair during my wash, put leave-in conditioner in when it was damp & seal with a little oil. F combs each section before she threads it, but there is little hair on the comb when she’s done. (You can thread on dry hair too)


For threading instructions, see these tutorials below by GirlsLoveYourCurls.

Between us, we haven’t figured out how to wrap my kinky-coily ends, so we just let them stick out at the bottom. So far, this isn’t a big problem.


On the weekend I took these photos, I had my hair like this from Saturday night till early Monday morning when I loosened, to try to style my hair for work and I was pleased with the results.

At first glance, it looked like I had freeform locs 🙂


I proceeded to comb my fake locs out with great ease. Hair was soft, super moisturised, flexible, easy to run through, shiny, and stretched!

DSC08687Somebody say stretched again? I’m definitely a convert to this heatless stretching movement!



  1. Tension Blow Drying is safe and gentle but LONG. It makes my arms hurt.
  2. Hair is made of protein and heat depletes protein. We all know that the less heat hair is exposed to, the better. I do have heat protectant, but I feel more comfortable knowing I can stretch my hair properly without heat.
  3. By the time my hair is dry, I get a much better stretch than I do with chunky twists.
  4. I live in Nigeria, and our power situation is not the best. I’m a corper and I don’t always have fuel in the generator. 😦 #EnoughSaid
  5. Lately, I’ve been working with dry, very stretched hair and I quite like this. Reasons 1-3 considered, threading comes out number 1 for best results of a stretch. Heatless like chunky twists, but with better results.

Do you thread? What’s your favourite way to stretch? And slightly unrelated, how long does it take your hair to dry after moisturising and sealing?




21 thoughts on “Stretch Your Curls Heatlessly With African Threading

  1. Brilliant! I had totally forgotten about threading as a means to naturally stretch our hair so thank you for the reminder. I now know what to use to stretch my hair for my birthday coming up soon. 🙂


  2. I absolutely adore ur blog. Ive been natural 4 a yr and boy is it interesting. U give me hope thru ur posts and I believe more dat I cn do it!!!!!


  3. I thread my hair into six sections when I have the time and I need a super-stretch to achieve a sleek look. It takes me about 30 to 40 minutes. For drying, if I leave my hair out, it takes about 12 – 18 hours. But usually, I have my hair in a bun or a style immediately after moisturizing and sealing so it takes me about 24 – 30 hours.


  4. I never considered using thread, it was something I associated with my elementary and high school days when no one wanted to work with my hair. I’m glad I stuck with my nachi kink tho and I’m so loving your tips!!! Threads to the rescue!!! I will be back for more 🙂


  5. Pingback: Currently: Twists | The Kink And I

  6. SO glad I found your blog! Would love to try threading (I’m a no-heat gal who likes stretched hair, and banding hasn’t really worked for me) but haven’t found any DIY videos… Any tips/suggestions? Thanks


  7. I know this thread is a few months old but I started researching the topic of african threading and this came up. My question is whether or not you can thread your hair and then sit under a dryer to speed drying time? I want to make sure that you can because I wonder if the heat would snap the hair since it is wrapped tight. Don’t want to lose hair. LOL Any help you could give would be much appreciated.


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  9. Lovely post, I do dis when I want to get a good stretch and I even go ahead and leave it for a week and then wear a wig if I need to go out. It actually boosts hair growth,did u eva wonder why those secondary school chics hair grow fast without much treatment? Here’s the trick. Pls keep it up with your posts they are really helpful. Cheers


  10. Hi. Please what’s the name of Irun kiko, that is, the thread in English Language? I wanna buy it online and I am not in Nigeria at the moment.


    • Hi Priscilla, no I don’t know any brand names. Bought my own stash last year at the market, one long roll for 200 naira- no name on it. But, when you think about it. The thread that’s not rubber thread is actually like normal sewing thread. You should be able to find that. Some people even use yarn as a substitute.


    • Hey Jummai!

      No, African Threading cannot make you grow your hair long in 3 months or 1 year.

      However, styling with thread is great and super protective for your hair. If you thread your hair now, it is a low-maintenance style. Meaning, you don’t get to touch your hair or play with it while it is threaded, your hair is left to rest, left to maintain the growth that comes in peace.

      In sum, it can help you protect your hair, protect your growth, but it does not affect the growth process itself. While it stretches your hair, it cannot pull out the growth from your follicles so, be careful not to have it done too tight. 🙂


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