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3 Styles That Show Off Your Hair’s Length Without Ruining Your Progress

• Jun 11, 2013

When growing out natural hair it can sometimes feel like you have to make a choice between style and hair health. If you have tightly coiled hair you have likely heard protective styling is a must, daily manipulation a “no-no” and hair accessories must be natural hair friendly lest they rip out your curls and coils. This information is what I gleaned from my perusal of vlogs and forums years ago and because I was tired of seeing no progress in my hair I had no problem following a strict set of rules. At this point in my hair journey I appreciate the frustration that some express when discussing the confines of natural hair. I’m here to tell you that there are ways to modify the rules while keeping your hair intact. I’ll start with what I consider to be safe “out” styles. These are styles that are not pinned up or tucked away. You can frame your face without losing your inches.

First things first: The key to determining if your style won’t set you back in your hair journey is asking yourself the following questions: Do I need to comb, brush or manipulate my hair everyday to maintain the style? Will I need to use products that strip my hair of moisture to accomplish the style? If so, do I plan to wear this style for an extended period of time? Does this style lead to excessive knots or tangling?

Once you’ve answered these questions based on YOUR hair, you can then decide if the hairstyle is right for you.

Style Options #1: Braid Outs/ Twist Outs

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Style Icon Geri
Okay, so I know you’re thinking “Duh, of course every natural knows braid outs and twist outs are the go to “out” hair styles.  I want to focus on how you maintain the style rather than creating the style. I have found that the way you care for the style can mean the difference between stretched, bouncy hair or  knots galore by the end of the week. When wearing either style (I personally wear braid out more often than twist outs) it is important to think of ways to minimize daily manipulation.  For me this means that in the evening I take about six sections of my braid out (usually created with 15 braids) and band them with elastic hair bands or  strips of satin fabric. I don’t re-braid the hair, rather I band the entire section so I end up with six banded pony tails. To keep the hair in the front of my hair looking fresh I may braid two small sections in the front. The great thing about this technique is that I can apply a little bit of a creamy moisturizer before banding  without waking up with frizzy hair.

Style Option #2: Bantu Knot Out

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Style Icon Kimberly
Again, depending on the technique and maintenance of this style it can be a “safe” out style or one that leads to tangles. If you want the style to last through the work week I recommend  medium and small sections.  At night you can put your hair in a high loose ponytail which will stretch the style a bit without ruining the waves and curls. In the morning you will want to make sure you apply a light oil to the ends to limit knots.  When the hair needs refreshing you can place it into large knots (basically buns) while place 3 or 4 smaller bantu knots in the front. The point is you want to avoid having to restyle your hair every night and when you do, you want to manipulate the hair minimally.

Style Option #3: Stretched Fro

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Style Icon Cassandre
In order to accomplish a voluminous jaw dropping fro many rely on the aid of a blow dryer. This isn’t necessary to accomplish this iconic style. When you wash your hair you want to detangle hair in sections, then band the hair to stretch it. In order to minimize knots you will have to exercise restraint and resist the urge to constantly fluff, twirl and caress your fro throughout the day. If you can leave your hand out of your hair and remember to re-band your hair in large sections each night then wearing a fro won’t necessarily lead to a setback.

Hope these tips were helpful.

What “out” hairstyles do you wear and how do you keep your hair from tangling?

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50 Comments on "3 Styles That Show Off Your Hair’s Length Without Ruining Your Progress"

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Charlotte
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Unfortunately there is not really an out style for me at this time that shows off how long my hair is. In fact it actually makes it look like I cut my hair because my go to out style is a high pony tail. I have hip length hair and so when I put my hair in a high pony I have so much hair that it makes me look like I have shorter, much bigger, fuller hair. The advantage though is that it does not tangle and it does not get smashed by my kids, plus it’s relatively out… Read more »
Mina
Guest

Please post a link to your video 🙂

Charlotte
Guest

Oh I forgot to say that I cannot stretch my hair right now at least because my hair for some reason is experiencing breakage. It started back with an itchy scalp in the winter, then I started doing a lot of combing, brushing and braiding, and trying to go high volume and product free. All big mistakes. Now I am in trouble.

nikki
Guest

another way to show off length is by doing mini braids. this is great cos your hair would be in a protective style too.

Kate
Guest

I love doing Bantu knot outs, but I find I’m too lazy to maintain it, so I either have to restyle every night, or do something different. I’m transitioning, would the high ponytail work on maintaining a Bantu knot out on medium length hair? (I have 6 inches of natural hair and about the same amount of relaxed hair)

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Kayla
Guest

Try leaving the bantu knots in longer. When I do my bantu knot outs, I make sure the knots are in four at least 12 hours. They last a lot longer that way.

Cece Danielle
Guest

What a great article!!

A
Guest

Let’s not forget heatless curlformers or flexirods sets. They also stretch your hair without causing damage.

yoshi
Guest
when I want to wear my hair out I typically turn to the stretched out afro. its always an option for me as i wear my hair pinned in an updo most days. this plus two big, loose plaits at night keeps my hair stretched. the main key for me is to never let dryness (and therefore shedding, breakage, and split ends) win by keeping my hair on a moisture routine between monthly washes. sometimes its as simple as wearing my hair out in the shower and then applying shea butter while plaiting for the night. it can be as… Read more »
AnonSince87
Guest

I find that the only technique which preserves my braid out is re-doing it lol. I’d love to be able to just ‘pineapple’ and spritz water the next day and go. But no can do (at least not now).

Christina
Guest

I keep my hair in braid outs and I find that as my hair has been growing and manipulation of techniques, the pineapple method works. A few months ago I always had to rebraid every night, what a nuisance. Now, I just pull it up and sleep. Try different products, for me, shea butter allows me to do this because of the great hold 🙂

A
Guest

I agree. I also have yet to get second day hair with a twist-out. The only way to preserve my style is to re-twist at night and I hate it.

Playwitit
Guest

Are you guys flat twisting in sections before you go to bed? I find that helps me maintain my twist-outs until its time to wash my hair (about a week). It takes 15 to 30 mins depending on hair length but I think its hella worth it.

monisola
Guest
I really want to start rocking the heat-less blow out/banded styles! Braid outs leave my fine medium density hair flat and twist outs don’t give enough stretch to prevent tangles. With that said, I LOVE my hair, the feel of it, I would have to become some sort of ZEN MASTERRRR if I am gonna keep my hands out of my hair in any real kind of way. This is why I protective stlye 8 weeks at a time then take my hair out for a 5 days max. Oh well, your personality needs to be a factor in your… Read more »
cb
Guest

this is a good article, what I got out of it is to show off length you must stretch the hair…IF you want to SHOW OFF length…am I correct? Geri the Great is featured wonderful

mangomadness
Guest

Braid-outs (10 braids w/ two-strand twisted ends) are my “-out” style of choice.

I keep my hair from tangling by wearing braid-outs — they stretch my hair well and thus minimize tangling. Re-braiding at night is a must for me.

P.S. I have to experiment with two-strand twisted Bantu knots on dry, stretched hair.

Autumn W.
Guest

Yea i agree, its very hard for my hair to stay as moisturized when I don’t re-braid. My style doesn’t last as long either, but re-braiding allows it to become bigger and bigger while maintaining moisture

Jewelybean
Guest

Twist-outs are the only thing I can do to my hair that can last. The stretched fro neverrrr works. It always ends up shrunk, matted, and tangled within minutes, damp or dry.

momocurlz
Guest

Braidouts with twisted ends and perm rods for curl are pretty much the only style i have mastered that allows me to show somewhat length. I am too scared to try other styles bc if the style fails i’ll go crazy after wasting all that time

Caramelcurls
Guest

I LOVE braidouts–oh and did I say that I love braidouts?! lol It is so easy to do–I put about 9–10 braids in my hair and it stretches the hair AND keeps the moisture locked in. After I big chopped, twistouts were my favorite, but as my hair as grown longer (a year and 9 month natural), braidouts have taken the lead. They take less time and always yield good results.

Xoxo
Guest

ENOUGH WITH THE TWISTOUTS! I noticed the recent 3 style icons’ hair all look pretty much the same because they all seem to be wearing twist outs. They seem to make everyone’s hair look the same regardless of texture…it’s not bad just…boring. I think people forget there are other style options out there LOL…anyway just an opinion, everyone can do anything they well please with their hair of course!

Jessybabe
Guest

I’m little over 6 months of transitioning and already tried braid outs, twists and bantu knots. My hair never looks right. I think its due to length and possibly the fact that my straight hair is being rebellious

pw
Guest

That is likely the problem. I found bunning while I transitioned to be the best way to get through it. Good luck!

Alwina
Guest

Thanks for sharing! I prefer to wear my hair in mini-twists and pineapple them with metal clips at night. That protects them, along with my satin scarf/bonnet and stretches them to minimize tangles.

rocky
Guest

No metal clips,…bad business for hair, esp at night!!!

pw
Guest
Hi ladies! Wow reading these responses you’re all so passionate about your hair. Me too! Well I just finished a braidout on my hair and I agree with the ladies who said they have to re-braid every night. I have to do that to my thick shoulder length when shrunk hair too. The ladies with longer hair MBL, BSL and almost close to or waist length can usually, if created well initially, get more days from pineappleing at night. Not me-not yet. I think its time to put my hair “away” for a few months as I think I’m sewing… Read more »
Lorez Muhammad
Guest

I am struggling with my hair I believe it broke off after wearing kinky twist extensions for about 3 months. Now I am having a difficult time trying to get my hair to grow. I am never sure about what products to us in my hair. It would be great if I a regime that I could follow regularly. I love my hair and its versatility. My hair works best when I dry it. It is easier to style. I was even considering chopping it down and starting over. Thank you Sister for all of the helpful hints.

LaNeshe
Guest

Mini-medium two strand twists are a good way to show length as well. Braiding the twists every night to keep them stretched shows length and reduces tangles while giving the twists a nice wave.

Nix
Guest
Nope, wasn’t helpful LOL. I used to be addicted to twist-outs on my 4c hair and I did all the low-manipulation, oiling, etc., but as pretty as twist-outs are, my 4c gets much better length retention when it’s hidden away in protective styles (PS’s). I hate PS’s, though–or rather, I used to hate them until I found cute ones to wear (on YouTube, BGLH) and stopped going to the salon (cos their mission statement says something about giving you traction alopecia). I now vary the styles–faux-hawk with flat twists and then regular twists in the front, pinned-up twists, etc.–and my… Read more »
Thalia
Guest

Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!

Hye
Guest

I seriously love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my very own blog and would like to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Cheers!

Guadalupe
Guest

Excellent article. I’m facing many of these issues as well..

annnsow
Guest

Any “out” style makes my hair dried, that breaks easily. Those styles are really not for my very coily hair.
This wasn’t helpful at all.
Sorry, but I’ll pass on this one.

Kris
Guest

Hiya! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thank you!

Cynthia
Guest

OH MY GOODNESS Am I the only one who thought that the style icon Kimberly was a doll at first?? I had seen her picture a MILLION times and this is the first time I noticed that it was a real person Lol love these styles, btw…

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Guest

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