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Length Retention without Protective Styling?

• Jan 20, 2011

Reader Tasha says;

When I went natural three years ago I was of the belief that the only way I could retain length was binding my hair in protective styles. I would put in dozens of twists every few weeks, only to deal with painful “take down” sessions, wrought with tangles, matting and hair balls. After trying protective styles for a couple years, and seeing no length difference in my hair, I defeatedly turned to wash and go’s. I actually started doing them because I thought I was one of those naturals whose hair just wouldn’t grow, so I was going for a cute shrunken look. Imagine how shocked I was when, after a week of wash and go’s, I saw visible growth in my hair. Since then I have ditched wash and go’s (the length retention was great, but the tangling was atrocious) BUT I do keep my hair in loose or out styles. My main ones are;

  • 1. Hair put in a horizontal banana clip at the back of my head then pinned under (inspired by KimmayTube)
  • 2. Applying a good butter, for example Oyin Whipped Pudding or Karen’s Body Beautiful Butter Love, to dry stretched hair, and letting it set. The butter provides enough coil definition that the strands don’t tangle on themselves.
  • 3. Applying a good butter applied to dry stretched hair, putting in 7 to 9 fat twists, gently pulling twists apart after an hour and fluffing for a low-definition twist out.

Also, I don’t braid or twist my hair at night. I leave it out and just put a satin cap over it. It actually responds BETTER than when I used to braid and twist it.

Now, none of these styles (save, maybe the first one) are defined as “protective”, but my hair has been growing like crazy! And I feel like I can’t be the only one!

I’ve also been noticing more “natural hair idols” on blogs and YouTube who aren’t aggressive protective stylers. As for me, I just had to realize that breakage is the reason my hair doesn’t retain length… and so long as my hair isn’t breaking, then I’m good.

I’m hesitant to say that this will work for everyone… but I am curious to see if there’s anyone else out there with a similar experience to mine. Are you experiencing length retention without the use of heavy protective styling?

Interesting! What are your thoughts! Has this approach worked for you?

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Shones
Guest
Short answer, yes! Before I cut it the last time, I grew my hair out for about a year and a half (TWA to… well, much bigger than a TWA). I did protective styles about half the time. I prefer having my hair in out. On the other hand, I know a lady who kept her hair in kinky-twists/braids for years, and now her hair is down her back and looks very healthy. I think the point is that we don’t have to worry about it as much as some of us do, and the length will come. I must… Read more »
tiff
Guest

crap in 1 yr!
woohoo!

Nikki T
Guest

You and your hair are beautiful.…

jay
Guest

You hair colour is gorgeous! What colour/what do you use?

Embracingmycurls
Guest

I agree protective styling does do your hair a good deed. However, it can become boring. Sometimes you do have to jazz it up a bit. I have tried protective styling 5 days out of 7, so when the weekend comes I can let it down and go out without feeling blah. With all that being said patience is required with anything.

b.
Guest
Part of the key for me is low manipulation. If I put my hair in medium sized twists, it helps with retention. If I leave it out (and stretched), I style it in a way that has minimum pull (loose bun, ect) or I just leave it stretched and out. If I allowed my hair to be shrunken and out, it would require too much detangling on wash day. One reason why protective styles may not work for some is the method of detangling when they undo the twists. I have heard other naturals mention that wash-n-go’s work better for… Read more »
Auset
Guest
I am a wash and go’er and proud of it. I think the main appeal of protective styles is that you don’t have to worry about doing or refreshing your hair as much and that you don’t have to style as much if you don’t like to. It’s been about eight months since my BC from locs, and the number of times I have worn protective styles is not that many when compared to how many times I have worn my hair out. I don’t think wash and go’s are bad for hair, but they will result if fairy knots… Read more »
Michelle
Guest

For those who are doing wash and gos, do you do it daily?

sarah
Guest

generally speaking, i do a wash and go twice a week. once during wash day and again in the middle of the week when i co-wash.

Maryse
Guest

i know its been a while. but can u describe your dry detangling? like WHEN you do it? before a wash? do your oil it all over first? How does that help with curl definition? I would have figured it would be bad for definition. my hair clumps pretty well when wet. I might wanna give this a try…

Monisola
Guest
I think I fall somewhere in the between die hard protective styler and die hard “out” styler. If I put my hair in really small little twists or braids, my hair mats up, tangles in a way that causes breakage, single strand knots, etc. If I leave my hair in a protective style for more than ten days, it mats up and dreads! The solution for me is to put my hair in bigger braids/twists that are almost the size of dookie braids or cellie braids and pin them into a cute protective updo much like sunshower143’s twisted protective updo.… Read more »
b.
Guest

That’s what I’m talking ’bout.

FTLTess
Guest
That’s exactly what I do now. I wear medium sized braids in a cute up-do during the week and then I Sat & Sun I wear it out. Wash & Deep Condition. This way it’s “protected” most of the time. The twists are cute but they take too much time putting in, and then taking out and detangling…plus my ends never really stay twisted up. If I want to wear some of my hair out during the week, I wear a braid out on the lower part of my hair, so half up and half down, and then braid them… Read more »
Moni
Guest
I think it depends on a variety of issues, including length, texture, weather and shrinkage. Imo, as long as your hair is short or shrinky enough not to rub against your clothes (for example, Shones’ hair in her pictures), protective styles are less helpful. Also, if the weather isn’t as extreme, protective styles aren’t as helpful. I think making sure that your hair isn’t rubbing on your clothes (whether that’s with twists, buns, or simply a puff) and being extra careful in the cold, as well as how you manipulate and moisturize it, are key to retaining length. If your… Read more »
sarah
Guest

i am also an avid wash and goer. i only have a tough time with detangling and knots if i don’t take care to cover my hair at night. other than that, detangling takes 20–30 minutes. and i don’t manipulate my hair other than smoothing some leave-in and hair cream in. my hair has grown longer than my natural friends who swear by protective styling.

Coco
Guest
I am lurking on this one but I have been thinking about this a lot and wondering whether just doing twists and leaving them to hang is enough in my harsh cold climate. I am contemplating wearing my hair loose but in updos that hide the ends to retain length. I notice that my ends suffer in twists and the last 1/2 inch of hair is always splitting, getting 1 strand knots while the rest is fine. I also wonder if I’d have an easier time retaining moisture with loose tucked hair since twists can often hide the fact that… Read more »
Anonda
Guest
Coco your hair sounds like mine. That’s why I don’t wear twists for more than a few days and I only do them when I want to for style. I wear updos and some buns because they are easy, cute, and they do keep my ends from getting fried rubbing against my winter coat. My hair is arm pit length, and I’ve never had loose natural hair this long. I don’t know if genetically I can get to waist length (it’s not really a goal of mine) but definitely my length can be maintained with this loose routine that is… Read more »
Anonda
Guest

…and to answer your question I do find it pretty easy to keep track of so to speak lol.

Coco
Guest

Thanks for the info : )

Cipriana
Guest

Hey Coco. I wear very loose twist in updo styles about 100% of the time, lol. I would have to say besides tremendous patience with detangling, little to no heat and moisturizing, I contribute most of my growth because of my updo styles which protect my ends. I have 4b-c hair which is about 21 inches long within 4 yrs so I have had success personally with this routine. Blessings 🙂
[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/UrbanBushBabes_logo.png[/img]

Coco
Guest

Thanks for the info — watching out for your hair interview and Youtube 😀

Shay
Guest

First, I believe its where you live. I live in florida so I actually wear more protective styles in the summer! Due to the crazy heat that can really fry my strands. Secondly, every head is different. We may have similar textures but we have different hair, so what works for you may not work for me. This is really a very personal journey.. lol.

LEX
Guest

Protective styling has helped me a lot. Not everyone needs them but from what I see you can tell a big difference in length retention from someone who does do protective styling and someone who doesn’t.

Michellethedivine
Guest
i wear protective styles 90% of the time and they have worked wonders for me. my staple style is small two strand twists, however i DO NOT detangle my hair dry!!! After taking them out and wearing my twist out i detangle my hair in the shower under running water WITH MY HANDS while it is very wet. it is easy and not time consuming at all, i don’t lose any hair doing this with care. i have shoulder length hair stretched out. i would never dream of detangling my twists dry! When my hair is braided i gently take… Read more »
itsmyhair
Guest

Shooo…I tried a wash and go this weekend and can you say #FAIL!! Since my hair has gotten longer, its not an option for me anymore. My hair was all sorts of tangled and knotted even after a careful detangling section in the shower. I cannot allow my hair to dry loose anymore.
I’m glad other people can still do wash and go’s without all the drama. Keep it up and rock one for me too!!

ghd
Guest

So true, my hair is bsl and my wash and go is not an option anymore.

Kimmy
Guest

I’ve recently hit my six month anniversary on 1/17/11. Since doing the big chop, I only wear my hair in wash-n-go styles. I never braid or twist my hair to protect the end. I recently blow dried and flat ironed my hair, and it has grown so much. I live in Florida, so it mostly hot and humid here. I have not had any issues with wearing my hair out. It has not impeded my retention.

[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/1–1.JPG[/img]
Taken 7/17/10

[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/7–1.jpg[/img]
Taken 1/17/11

[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/5.jpg[/img]
After I flat ironed it straight the same day 1/17/11

Kimmy
Guest

The dates are backwards. The middle picture was taken 7/17/10. The other two pictures were taken 1/17/11.

emma
Guest

i did twists for the first 2 years of being natural, then after having a lowcut a la erykah badu for a year i did one year of twist. after realizing that it was too time consuming (2.5 hours) for the results i’ve resorted to large braids and my hair is for the better! i just braid it up at night in 10–12 big braids seal with oil and then in the morning take them out with some oil and spray for moisture. low maintenance and easy for my thick thick head! 😀

Tosha
Guest

I have found that less manipulation equals hair growth. I have also found that a little clip of the ends every 3 — 4 months, gets rid of the knotting/tangling issue. Protective styles can be overrated. Our hair is as unique as we are as individuals, so what works for one person may not work for another.

Krys
Guest

I personally feel that proctective styling works for me. I’ve noticed the difference in my hair from May 2010 until the present day. It’s healthier, fuller and longer.

I love it.

Yemi
Guest

I wore twists religiously for my first 5 years as a natural and my hair never grew longer than shoulder length. I just thought that was the longest my hair grew. Then I cut it off, embraced wash and gos and discovered my hair grows like weeds and is healthiest when it is rinsed daily and left in its shrunken state. Which works for me because I suffer from chronic laziness, lol. My hair type is 4b/4a if it matters.

Jay
Guest
I am a three year Napptural and have ditched the “Protective Style” Regimine in 2011 for two reasons twisting takes too long and detangling makes me cry… This year I have opted for wearing looser styles and a updo styles. I love wearing my hair out and enjoy the bigger hair styles that I get as the week goes on. My secret is MOISTURE…I moisturize my hair every night, with my water spritz and a little shea moisture and put about 6 twists in my hair at night. I always sleep with a satin bonnet on and then pull the… Read more »
Jc
Guest
In order to get past 9 inches, my hair requires protective styling. It is extremely easy for all hair (ALL) to grow from 0 to about 4–6 inches. Shorter hair, less tangling = freedom of styling Longer hair, more tangling, more single strand knots = need for protective styles. We all have different hair, I am just saying comparing your first year of hair growth and the stage between 2–3 years can be vastly different. Protective simply means less daily manipulation, some people put in quite harmful styles in the guise of protective styling. If taking out the style takes… Read more »
serenissima
Guest
i dont really do protective styles… my hair is usually either out via wash and go or tied up in a scarf some kind of way? (which i guess counts as a protective style? i also dont really like sleeping in scarves either, so i break all of the rules lol.) i agree with the poster that my hair has flourished just letting it be out and about. on the flip side though, i DO have to condition CONSTANTLY, especially in this cold weather, and im sure it would be easier to keep my head moisturized if i wore more… Read more »
quoththeraven
Guest

I like your glasses 🙂

BrownSugahChild
Guest

Maybe one of you guys can help me!!! Protective styles, wash and gos, weaves, braids.….nothing works for my hair!!! i’ve been natural since 2005 and i’ve only been able to attain chin length hair!!!!!!!

napfrocurlzgirl
Guest

It’s possible your hair is in its dormant stage which lasts quite a few years. Or it could be genetics.…or just about anything else.

Jc
Guest
It is estimated that only about 10% of hair at any one time can be in the resting phase (telogen). It is also the shortest phase lasting three-ish months. Most of the hair is in anagen (the growth phase) and this is the longest cycle lasting over years. To BrownSugah. Here is my advice if your hair is of the type 4 variety 1. Be very gentle with your hair. Most of the breakage that happens is due to combing. Find a way to reduce the amount of hair that you see in your comb or brush. Try finger combing… Read more »
BrownSugahChild
Guest

Thanks Jc and the rest of you beautiful ladies for all the advice. I think i’m going to try and commit to a style and see my growth by say July?
Operation Length Retention starting today…Wish i could update every month to tell you guys my status!!! LOL!!!

mek
Guest

you might also want to try vitamins, i just started taking biotin supplements a few weeks ago and i swear that i am already seeing loads more new growth than usual. we shall see…

Jc
Guest

I think that you should join this hair challenge. It is 3 inches in 6 months (but flexible actually 2–3 inches). It is being hosted by Loo who has seriously gorgeous hair

http://hairandhealth.blogspot.com/2011/01/3in6-challenge-rules.html

Monisola
Guest

Make sure you are maintaining a good protein and moisture balance.
try using wheat germ oil that contains ceramides which are fats that literally glue/hold the hair proteins together making the hair stronger.

maybe you want to only detangle with your fingers, which I do and it is amazing!!

maybe your hair was at the end of its growth cycle period when you started growing it?

FTLTess
Guest

Moisture..Moisture..Moisture. Find good products (including shea butter, coconut oil..) that works with your hair, but remember these products do not replace WATER. My does okay with conditioning products, but water is what keeps my hair going, Whether I choose protective styling or wash-and-go’s.

BrownSugahChild
Guest

Thank You ladies!!!!! I think maybe it’s my “un-appreciation” of water and moisturizer.… When i get fed up with my hair i typically just put it in a puff and forget about it!!!! I’ll try adding more water and moisturizer to my regimen.…

jaince
Guest

Are you moisturizing your hair and deep conditioning it. Also don’t forget about the protein hair needs. I chopped my hair off on Sept 13 and even last week I cut a bit of it off and at this moment the sides of my hair is touching my collar bone, before it wasn’t even touching the end of my ears — drink lots of water, green veggies and cover your hair at night with silk/satin bonnet.
Hope that helps.

Minimalist Beauty
Guest
I’ve gotten so used to protective styling and believe it has helped my length retention. Yet for my hair, low manipulation is so much more important than protective styling that stays in and untouched for a week at a time. I also started doing henna conditioning treatments weekly and that has really helped. I usually rebraid my hair every evening and wear it in a loose bun with a banana clip. If I do wear a braidout I make sure it’s moisturized well. I have stopped pulling my hair back tightly in buns and ponytails. They are usually messy and… Read more »
Leo the Yardie Chick
Guest

I believe that it all boils down to a combination of gentle manipulation and proper maintenance (moisture, protein, etc). If your hair is being nourished and strengthened and you’re not hauling and pulling it every which way like a sack of flour, I suspect that hair will retain its length.

ForcedSimile
Guest

I’ve done wash and goes for most of my time being natural and I’ve got about shoulder length hair. My hair did grow just fine without protective styles. I’m experimenting with protective styles this winter to see if it will help with the length and help retain more moisture. One month in and I do notice my hair growing faster. But I am being more dedicated about drinking water and taking vitamins, so maybe it’s not all the protective styling.

Jai
Guest

As some people have already stated everyone’s hair is different. I choose to wear protective styles 90% of the time because it’s convenient. Protective styles are NOT a requirement for natural hair it’s a preference for some of us and for me my hair grows the less I manipulate it. 🙂

Brandy
Guest
I find that protective hairstyling doesn’t work for me. Wash ‘n go’s work better for me because my hair responds to low manipulation. When I do twist my hair I find that I lose a lot more hair and my ends get raggedy because I’m always constantly trying to make my twists and flat twists neat every other day by twisting and the constant twisting breaks my ends. I really have to pay attention to moisture though. So I wash my hair once every 5 days by co washing and deep conditioning then slather on my hydrating hair butter by… Read more »
serenissima
Guest
quoththeraven
Guest

To answer the question, YES! My hair is always in a braid-out and is out/down 90% of the time and I retain length just fine. I have some split ends and lots of single strand knots but they don’t bother me nor do they cause breakage so I don’t trim them often. My hair has been officially “long” for a while now and I’m only 3 years post-relaxer. I did it by wearing my hair as I wanted to, so I’m pleased.

napfrocurlzgirl
Guest
I haven’t done protective styling, but my hair’s grown almost 6 inches since this summer. I constantly wore it in twist outs from week to week, but didn’t retwist at night. I only retwisted during my once a week wash day. I also didn’t moisturize every day…just once a week on wash day and my hair retained the moisture. This past week, I blow dried it so I’m sporting the dry braid out for another week. Initially, I was retwisting and moisturizing every single night, but I got sick of it and my hair wasn’t enjoying it either. Now that… Read more »
mangomadness
Guest
“I constantly wore it in twist outs from week to week, but didn’t retwist at night. I only retwisted during my once a week wash day. I also didn’t moisturize every day…just once a week on wash day and my hair retained the moisture.” Thia is my regimen except I do braid outs. I finger detangle, wash, moisturize and style once I week. I don’t rebraid or moisturize nightly–I just put my hair in a bonnet or tie it up with a scarf. My hair retains moisture and length just fine. The key to length retention is low manipulation in… Read more »
Earthy Natural
Guest

Just wanted to agree w/ the sleeping routine since I don’t go through the trouble of braiding or twisting my hair at night either and I’m having nice progress too. I just put a satin scarf and bonnet on and it is lights out!

Monisola
Guest
minding my protein and moisture balance, and doing low manipulation protective styles, updos/bigger braids and twists has helped me retain length. I have serious hand in hair syndrome so protective styles are a must. I have collar bone length hair after a year and ten months. My hair would have been even longer if I did these protective styles during the first year. I think that even when my hair reaches my ultimate goal, (collar bone length when shrunken and not stretched down by hand) I will still wear my hair in a protective style about half or three days… Read more »
ElectricFeel
Guest

Yes you can achieve length retention without protective styling.
Honestly, people need to cater to their hair needs and lifestyle. I’m quiet lazy and love twsists, updos, twisted bangs, twisted fro hawks etc. I have a busy college life so I need a style that will last and low manipulation.

julia
Guest

There is also climate to take into consideration.
Humid summers and mild winters mean something different to my hair than Chicago winters or dry heat.

sasha
Guest
I rarely do protective styling- I will have my hair braided weekly sometimes. For me the time it takes to do twists is not worth the end result. Even when I make sure I have a good cream and oil on the ends my hair “acts out” if I leave the twists in my more than a week. My hair simply likes water to much to maintain a protective style for more than 10 days. So I have do do huge twists or some modification of wash and go. My hair likes the water. Also my hair is extremely long… Read more »
Brianna
Guest

I just started doing my new regimen of conditioning and small two strand twist to retain length. I have 4a hair, but its not very thick. I was wondering, is the reason some people retain more length with wash n gos is due to hair texture and thickness? I get knots and breakage when I wear wash n gos but when I twist my hair I never experience problems. I just wanted to know what people think.

new2nappyatl
Guest

Everyone keeps saying they do wash in gos.ive never left my house with a wash in go.protective styling is part of my hair routine. ive been natural over a year now ‚i do twist outs and braid outs as far as out styles go. My hair type is 4a and b in the back. wash in gos for me= billo pad head look.

Anon
Guest

yes! who ARE all of these wash and go people? I have the same problem as you. I also haven’t ever left the house with a wash and go because i was instantly transformed into a 13 year old nigerian boy…

Yemi
Guest

LOL at you looking like a 13 year old Nigerian boy! Well, I’m one of the wash and go folks and I’ve got 8 inches of super kinky 4b/4a hair which shrinks to about 3 inches in a wash and go. I like that look but I can see how doing wash and gos would not work for you if a short ‘fro is not your preferred aesthetic.

Alice
Guest

I’ve had GREAT length retention and I wear my hair out almost ALL the time (mostly in flat twist outs). I hate the way protective styles look on me so I’m glad this is working just fine!

Alice
Alice in Nappyland

FTLTess
Guest
I’m nodding my head as I read the posts above mine. I believe it’s more about Low manipulation than protective styling per se. When my hair was shorter, it was easier & less manipulating to wear a wash-n-go, remoisturizing everyday and at the end of the week deep conditioning & detangling for the next week. Now I wear my hair in about 10 medium sized braids pinned up in a nice style with decorative clips. I may wear half up in braids and have a braid-out on the bottom. On Sat or Sun — wear my hair out. I tried… Read more »
coffee
Guest

how do you do wash and gos in cold weather?

serenissima
Guest
my hair air dries fairly quickly, but if im in a really big rush, after i get out of the shower i immediately moisturize, wrap it in a t-shirt (sticking my head through the shirt the opposite way you would if you were putting it on, then tying the sleeves in a knot to keep it closed), then lotion, get dressed, etc. by the time im finished getting ready- which is usually 15 to 20 minutes- my hair is dry and im out the door. i also know of people setting their hair dryers to the cool option, so it… Read more »
Cofee
Guest

Thanks ! I love was and gos but I was unsure how to maintain the look without heat

Tonya NewNaturalista
Guest
I’m kinda confused. Are protective styles considered hair that is always braided, twisted or pinned up? I’ve been natural for about a year and a half, starting out with basically a bald head so I’ve never really had the length to go out like that. However, my hair has grown tremendously — I cut about 4 inches off in June — if I hadn’t done that my hair would likely be to my shoulders stretched. I do dry twistouts and more recently braidouts. Here’s my most recent look: [img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/bglhphoto.jpg[/img] My hair has grown really well, although I don’t have anything… Read more »
Stephanie
Guest

Your beautiful and so is your hair!

NewNaturalista
Guest

Awe thank you! I love the natural hair community. So much love.

Alta Angel
Guest

Love your hair!

LBell
Guest
How do you do wash and gos in cold weather? Simple: You do them early enough such that your hair is mostly dry by the time you leave. If you need help with drying, either through a microfiber towel or (gasp) a blow-dryer, so be it. You also let go of the myth that wet hair + cold weather = certain death. I live in the Midwest and have gone outside with damp hair in all seasons and have never gotten sick because of it. But then again I’ve spent my whole life here so maybe I have an extra… Read more »
mangomadness
Guest

I wish folks would realize styles don’t make hair grow too. Oh well… *shrugs*

Yogi
Guest

I have two friends who have retained length without protective styling…I do protective styling just to keep from having a difficult time detangling my hair come wash day…they work for me.…I’ve been retaining a lot of length.…but whatever works for you…do that…there’s no one fit all rule here..the main thing is to keep your hair from breaking!

Nina
Guest
My sister doesn’t diet or exercise (barely gets out of the house) and at 4’11, struggles to stay above 100 pounds. Yet her friend can eat the same way (and be equally sedentary) and pack on the pounds. What’s my point? We are unique. Not just genetically, but also in our interpretations and estimations. I am always amazed at these discussions because there’s really not a right answer. It’s about what’s right for you as an individual. I can’t tell the woman that takes 4 hours detangling her hair that “it doesn’t take all of that” because it’s not my… Read more »
Alayna
Guest

I agree with Nina! :o)

luminous
Guest
I wear my hair mostly in twists and twist-outs for the past 10 years. My hair never went past arm pit length. I recently changed my hair regimen and have experienced a lot of growth, 2 inches since September (13″ -> 15″). 1) pre-poo with coconut oil 2) detangle on damp (not wet) hair with coconut oil before shampoo (i still use a comb and a brush, can’t figure out how to finger detangle yet) 3) wash in sections 4) i use the kimmaytube leave in conditioner 5) moisturize my twists everyday (sometimes 2–3 times a day): spritz of water… Read more »
luminous
Guest

FYI, this is my hair today in a failed braid out… LOL!
[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/braidout.jpg[/img]

Janelle
Guest

your hair looks cute. Why do you think it’s failed?

CurlyChronicles
Guest

I’m not a aggressive protective styler and I do notice my hair is growing quite nicely while retaining the length. I do keep my ends tucked but not in twists/braids. Updos with victory rolls and pseudo buns I guess I should say 🙂 Victory rolls are protective without requiring too much time, so that’s a plus!

Amber
Guest
I def agree about the protective styling like twists, braids, etc. I used them when my hair was a twa but I stopped after a few months because as my hair retained length protective styles broke my hair off. If I put in twists and leave it for more than a day omg it’s a nightmare…knots galore!!! All I do is tie my fro with a silk scarf at night and then wake up and shake it back into place. My protective styling is hats and buns when I am too lazy to do my hair. It’s been a year… Read more »
E
Guest

I do protective 2 strand twists on my hair, because I can’t go to bed w/o it. Otherwise I will wake up to a matted hot mess, and I personally think if you have a looser texture you can get away with it. But I have thick coarse 4 type hair that grows nice, but I’m still careful of my edges, having locs in my hair done professionally for 5years took its toll on my right side.

Vanisha
Guest

I agree with you, I pretty much do all of the things that most naturals say isn’t good for our hair lol. I wear my hair in an afro 98% of the time. So I wear my hair out in the winter, summer, when swimming etc.
but I do trim my hair very often, and lately I’ve been twisting it up at night like 2 times out of the week. I just don’t have the patience to do all of those hairstyles..
I love my hair wild a big, and it’s pretty long. the back (when pulled over my shoulder)touches my chest

sasha
Guest

I’ve read several comments. A poster asked how do you do a wash and go in the winter months. It’s more of a “damp and go” or wet the night before and put into two big plaits for the next morning. My hair hates do be without water for a long time. I’m not sure if it’s curly pattern thing or just where one’s hair has preferences.

barbaranaturallyspeaking
Guest
I’ve retained length without using protective styling. I’ve been completely natural for 2years and 1 month. When I did the BC I mainly wore wash n go’s. My hair is longer now and now I spend more time doing braidouts when it’s cold out and wash and go puffs when it’s warm. I want to try protective styling just so that I don’t have to style as frequently. Even now I may rebraid every 2–3 nights and pineapple on other days. Everybody’s hair is different though. Shea butter, oils, conditioner, getting my ends trimmed when needed have definitley helped along… Read more »
Dana
Guest

I think the reason why a wash and goer might retain more length than a protective styler is that even though a wash and goer does manipulate the hair more and may cause more breakage, they also stimulate thier scalps more so their growth rate is faster than those who wear protective styles and dont touch their hair or scalp. I used to co-wash everyday ad my hair grew like crazy and it was more moisturized then ever. I stopped though because I ended up getting too much buildup.

CharmU247
Guest
I am new to maintaining my natural hair on my own. I was getting it done professionally but that’s getting costly. I have read a lot of these polls & comments & u guys have been really helpful. I just have a few questions. 1) what is co-wash? 2) what is protective styling? 3) what does it mean to manipulate the hair? 4) I have really thick really dry hair. How many times should I moisturize & what products r good 4 that extra shine? 5) how can I keep my hair from drawing up so much when it dries… Read more »
Cygnet
Guest
1. Co-wash means to clean the hair using a rinse-out conditioner instead of shampoo. Examples of commonly used co-wash conditioners are a few of the Herbal Essence conditioners (Hello Hydration, Totally Twisted, etc.), Aussie Moist, V05 Moisture Milks, most if not all of the Suave conditioners, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle rose; and there are a lot of others that people use. If you go back through the archives on this site, you will probably find a few posts on people’s favorite products, and you will likely see mention of some different ones you’d like to try. The ones I just listed… Read more »
CharmU247
Guest

Thx so much for all the info! I think I am finally understanding the basics of maintaining my natural hair. I tried the 2 stand twists protective style & it turned out so pretty! The thing I need to do asap is find a good oil to help seal in the moisture & get a conditioner to co-wash w/. I am so excited about my journey & am happy to have resources to go & learn.

TeeTee
Guest

My biggest issue is now that my hair has grown to 2-inches (used to rock a low fade) it has been harder to prevent knots and retain moisture. I am starting to get discouraged in my hair growth journey.….….

CharmU247
Guest

I had same problem along w/ shrinkage & flattened hair when I wake up. What has helped me is when I wash or co wash I make sure I use a good conditioner that also detangles. I grab a section @ a time put the conditioner on & comb it out. I use kinky curlys knot today & shea moisture products. I’ve been doin the 2 strand twist to help keep hair from tangles & shrinkage. Just be patient & don’t give up. I gotta tell that to myself all the time 🙂

HelloKitty
Guest

I am the knot queen. I can achieve length, but at the end of those strands will be knots and knots on knots. NO matter what I do. I always have knots in my hair.

Shouna
Guest

My experience is a little different. I found that by doing chunky twists instead of medium twist on my hair I retained length and moisture. My biggest problem is me though I have HIH syndrome in the worst way lol. I struggle to keep one style all week. sigh I’m working on it though.

Ronnie
Guest

+1

Beth
Guest

There y’all go posting a picture of my cousin again 🙂

Emerald
Guest
During my first four months of being natural I had great growth and retention. I went to Florida in January for vacation(I’m from NYC), and noticed that I had huge growth! I was so happy when my hair was finally long enough to catch and be braided and twisted without unraveling when it dried and got fat. Now I’m inching toward my sixth month, I’ve invested in flat twists weekly, and it seems that something has put a dent in my progress. Could it be my twists? I had great growth without twists! But the twists are so low maintenance.… Read more »
Ebony
Guest

I take pretty good care of my hair. I don’t do too much protective styling unless it’s putting it into chubby twists at night and sleeping in a satin cap/scarf. Although I’m careful and gentle with it, the longer my hair gets the less I feel like fooling with it. So far I haven’t had any problems with retaining length. I’m approaching 6 years and it’s just about waist length.

bernie
Guest
For me at this point, protective styling that also stretches out the hair is the best way to retain length. When my hair was still above shoulder length, wash and goes worked great bc detangling was not a problem as long as my hair stayed moisturized. I did a wash and go (with some product to weigh hair down and stretch it as much as possible) recently for the first time in a long time, and oh my goodness detangling was a horrible. I cannot do that again until I reach my goal. So mostly, I keep it in box… Read more »
benita brown
Guest

I find that if I do protective styles (twists or braids) for a shorter periods of time, no longer than a week & a half, than I noticed way less knots when I kept them in for like a month. Also I like to alternate between twist and buns (with just stretched hair) from week to week, and i’ve noticed a lot more length from doing this.

~peace 🙂

Jaeda Barbie
Guest

This sounds like the routine I do.

naturalmelisa
Guest

i do this too.. buns and cute up dos. when i first wash it, i pul it all into a bun at the top of my head or all the way in back. i try to use either 2 large bobby pins to tuck in the ends, or a really big ribbon to wrap arouand my bun and keep the ends in. This keeps the hair stetched and easy to moisturize-and i cant play in it!!!:)

Thembi
Guest

I notice breakage when I refrain from combing for more than two dAys at a time. Bunning seems to put to much stress on my hairline. I’ve transitioned over a 18 mo period. 100%natural as of august 2010. My hair is just shoulder length . So far I’ve determined the best thing fir my hair is hair Is long term weaves, applying castor oil to my scalp every few weeks.

Shirl
Guest
I like out styles, don’t have time for all that twisting/braiding nightly. I only do that weekly after washing/conditioning. I purchased those silky scrunchies (6 in pk) from CVS. The technique is called pineappling (fr CurlyNikki) however, another natural whose length is about the same as mine, did a YouTube video showing how to do it on her length which is the same as mine. It works fantastic! I get about 4 days w/o any smashed up next morning hair! I think the brand is either Goody or Scuuni(sp?) Gather sections of hair (about 6 or 7) and slip on… Read more »
Gayle Allen
Guest
Wow … this is what I do! I found some scrunchies at the dollar store that are satin like material and they work. However my last couple of wash and go’s my hair was dryer than normal?? I’ve been using baking soda/water to cleanse my scalp and I think it’s more drying to my hair. But … if my hair is really moisturized wash and goes my ends stay clumped/coiled and I was able to make a good week with maybe a little moisturizing with a spritz in the crown area; dryer. I use Giavanni Leave In. I’ve been doing… Read more »
kn
Guest

check out cynthiarf on youtube. she has followed a regimen of daily wetting/rinsing and finger combing more often than using tools with great results. your growth retention with wash ‘n go’s i think is the combination of genetics (letting your hair grow as is) and daily co-washing (it’s the magic of water lol). this technique can be challenging due to knots/matting like you mentioned but the concept behind it is low manipulation and moisture.

Lolakinola
Guest
I started growing my hair out naturally about 5 years ago. However until a couple of months ago I was always consistently hiding my hair under weaves. When I so much as let my hair out. Its only under torture from straightening at high temperature using dax wax so it looked straight and shiny (I don’t know why I bothered I might as well have relaxed the dang thing). I resorted to maltreating my hair because I noticed whenever I had my hair out naturally I always got a strange stare and people warmed more towards me when I had… Read more »
Jesse
Guest

Wow I can’t believe you felt that you had to hide your hair. You are absolutely beautiful!! You’re a gem. Best of luck!

Lisa
Guest

You look like one of the Original People that still exist that just happen to have blond (straight or kinky) hair. You look fine. Hold your head up as another commentor stated.

naturalatte
Guest
I started my second natural hair journey November 2010 and I did nothing to my hair as it was too short for the first 4 months. Because I noticed my hairs slow growth I invested in treating my scalp with D. Miracles Root Stimulating Oil which is great for waking up dead hair follicles and promoting faster growth. Since using Miracles Root Stimulating Oil my hair has grown to enough length to do twists, braid outs, and bantu knots, so I would recommend to all you naturals who are not seeing growth to invest in using scalp stimulators to increase… Read more »
NYC
Guest

Protective styling works wonders for me…i have been natural before natural was “okay.” and I used to experience breakage and extreme dryness…I didn’t know how to take care of it, now I do lots of protective styles and the winter is going to keep me in protective mode. I have retained length and I can’t wait till next summer rolls in.

Nickie
Guest

Yes I have retained length without doing a lot of protective styles, its just a lot more work.

Ronnie
Guest
I see both sides. I agree that there are more than one ways to skin a cat (who came up with that saying?). I have found that I am retaining length, my daugters are retaining length just fine by leaving our hair loose. We are diligent about moisture, conditioning, oiling, wearing satin caps or pillowcases. Wearing protective styles too much (wigs, weaves, braids, braid extensions, twists, buns, rolls, updo’s) can lead to receding hair, thinning edges, breakage at the crown and brittle ends. Plus protective styles can get dull or cause you to project an image that might not necessarily… Read more »
FrizzyBobbedCutie
Guest

I agree 100% Length will quickly come on its own when the hair is worn in its loose state, protective styles don’t change anything.
I am so glad someone finally shared a similar story to mine 🙂

naytural
Guest
The length retention hasn’t been as much of a prob. 4 me as the moisture retention has been. So I follow most of the basic rules. D.C. treatments, wrapping my hair @ night, keeping my ends sealed, all the way down to my diet & exercise. But where I might differ from other naturals is after my M & S, i put a plastic cap on my head. It may seem weird 2 some, but 2 me, my hair stays moist a lot longer. I put my cap on so the oils can penetrate better. Sort of like how u… Read more »
Lisa
Guest
I agree with you about the moisture retention. I think that is key. I would only add that regular protein treatments may be necessary also. The hair gets too soft and mushy from only moisturizing treatments. We don’t need Aphogee for seriously damaged hair (I think that is best for relaxed hair no matter how good it looks) but we need protein reconstructors just the same. I think baggying it daily may encourage bacteria and fungus on the scalp unless you are washing it weekly or bi-weekly. My scalp itched and burned a lot on top and down the center… Read more »
me
Guest
I have to disagree. It probably depends on your hair type. My hair grows, every month, but it also breaks off when it’s worn loose. Why? Because it’s very curly — 4b and the ends coil and tangle, form single stranded knots etc — and it just becomes a hot mess. I don’t mind wearing it out but I have to accept that I will lose some hair in the process. For me, when I am trying to retain length, cornrows work best. Not even twists. For four years I was natural and I would look online at some people’s… Read more »
ello
Guest

I see no point in trying to grow your hair,when it’s not even out to display and instead it’s covered in a wig 95% of the time. Might as well shave your head *shrugs*

Lisa
Guest

Your noticing great length increase after your last chop could be due to your getting all of the split ends off and the evened length. I recently had my hair trimmed and I think I see better growth and I don’t feel those single strand knots I had before and have not had a problem with it tangling.

Michelle
Guest

Protective styles have been helping a lot in retaining moisture for me. I am just beginning my journey with natural hair and my hair feels great.

Lisa
Guest
My last relaxer was November 27, 2010. I don’t know. My protective style for the past 2 years until May of 2013 was to cornrow my hair and wear it under a wig. It became difficult to continue that without buying larger, longer haired wigs so I went to twists as a style. I don’t like my length for twistouts so I haven’t done that. As has always been the problem, I did not know what I needed to do to take care of my hair natural or relaxed. It was a little past shoulder length until recently. I don’t… Read more »

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