For curly naturals, the drawback of super-coily strands is that the extreme reduction in length makes it nearly impossible to achieve big-volume, neck-grazing, back-sweeping hairstyles. But if your hair shrivels up like a prune, try these simple and effective methods to stretch your strands and increase the reach of your ’do, reports

Twist, braid or band. Twisting or braiding hair while it’s wet is a common way to prevent shrinkage. And if you tire of this, try banding to stretch out your coils. To band tresses, part wet hair and secure each section with a number of hair bands from root to tip. For all of these processes, once tresses dry, undo the sections to reveal hair with enhanced volume and texture that’s ready to shape and style.

Use natural oils. To increase your ’do’s volume, try avocado and shea butter. Maximize the effectiveness of these natural products by applying them while you twist or braid tresses.

Apply hair treatments. Some of the most popular treatments are based on dairy products—think yogurt, sour cream and plain milk. That’s because all of these cow-milk items contain lactic acid, which may help define curl pattern and lengthen strands. Some sistas even report a 40 percent decrease in hair shrinkage after using these treatments. The downside? They are temporary and only last until the next time you wash your mane.

Stretch and blow-dry. If your locks shrink after you’ve washed and air-dried, recover some of your hair’s potential length by warming strands with a blow–dryer that’s set on “warm.” Next, gently pull your hair to the desired length and aim the blow-dryer at the outstretched hair until coils remain straight when you let strands go. Remember, don’t hold the dryer too close to your hair because this may cause dryness and breakage. Also, try not to rely on heat processes like this more than twice a week.

Work out a lot? Click here to read about fitness-friendly hairstyles for sistas.