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3 Time-Consuming Natural Hair Practices to Avoid

Avatar • Jun 29, 2013

Blackhair
By Imani of Tribe Called Curl

The joy of being a Lazy Natural comes from doing the least possible to maintain healthy, vibrant curls, coils and kinks. All hair involves work, and of course we’re not advocating that you skip out on a basic hair care regimen. But, the endless hours dedicated to practices with questionable benefits? In the words of the iconic Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” Instead of being chained to your mane, we want you to be outside playing, reading, drinking, partying, and living your life to the fullest. Plus, the easier you make caring for your natural hair, the more likely you are to steer clear of the creamy crack.

Here are three common natural hair practices we believe you can do without, and still have amazing tresses.

3. Re-twisting Hair Nightly
You love the sculpted texture look of a twist out, but dread refreshing it at night, which can take hours depending on your hair’s length and density. Instead of re-twisting it daily, extend the set by tying your hair down with a satin scarf at night. If you have longer hair, place loosely on top of your head in a satin scrunchie first (also known as the pineapple technique). In the morning, mist with shower steam, fluff and go. Shorter hair can be misted with a water-based leave in conditioner, then tightly braided into 4–6 plaits to maintain the hair’s elongated state, then placed in a satin bonnet or scarf. Or, try Youtuber LovelyAnneka‘s big twist technique below.

2. Henna
Many naturals swear by the thickening, strengthening and coloring properties of henna, and we’re not knocking the usage for people with special issues like fine, thin hair or folks looking to color naturally. But, for the rest of us, there are easier, faster, less involved ways for most people to achieve great natural hair. Henna represents a huge time investment with varying results. A thorough routine can take half a day, as in 12 hours. Yeah, no.

That’s not including time for deep conditioning afterwards. In addition to time, henna heads have to carefully select the brand they use in order to avoid turning their hair into a dry, tangled mess. And, let’s not forget henna adds a reddish hue to strands. Outcomes range from copper to auburn. And, as Youtuber and Alikay Naturals Owner BlackOnyx’s video below demonstrates, even experienced naturalistas can get it wrong. We’ll pass.

1. Deep Conditioning Overnight
This is our number one no-no. Leaving a deep conditioner in well beyond the recommended time is not only unhelpful, it could be damaging to your precious tresses in the long term. Over conditioning can upset your hair’s protein/moisture balance, leaving you with weak, mushy strands that snap easily, a nightmare that Shelli of Hairscapades discusses here. According to Scientist JC of The Natural Haven, the maximum benefit from conditioning comes between 20–30 minutes, at 33° Celsius (95° F). So, do your hair, and your significant other a favor, and stop wearing a shower cap to bed. For the most moisturizing bang for your buck, invest in a steamer (We stand by our Huetiful) for your conditioning treatments.

Ladies, what do you think? Are these natural hair practices a waste of time or worth it?

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MsKat
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MsKat

Ah, deep conditioning overnight…I remember when I was in cosmetology school, the teacher told us there was such a thing as overconditioning, but didn’t explain in detail, maybe because it was not in our books. I went years never seeing its effects. Then I had a customer who had started to come to me because her hair was in a terrible state-it was relaxed but it wasn’t over-relaxed, yet it seemed fine, limp, lifeless, and…kinda gummy…and was now breaking. So of course I had to ask a million questions, after which I determined that her routine contained way more deep… Read more »

Shelly
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Shelly

HennaForHair is a great resource for learning about henna. I used to henna my hair but stopped because it was too messy and time consuming but I always made sure to use body art quality henna that I would order on line. Never had a problem with it.

LBell
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LBell

I remember when the henna craze was really big (not as big as length or curl definition, but it was up there) and thinking: Yeah, um, no. :o) Even if I weren’t terrified of looking like some redheaded clown, there seemed to be too many steps, too many possibilities for trouble, etc. Deep conditioning overnight was something else I never got into. I like my sleep and I don’t want to be awoken by the sound of my plastic cap. As for retwisting every night: I think people with thicker strands can get away with this, but for me personally… Read more »

Jessica
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Jessica

I agree LBell… I could never wrap my brain around not only the time it took to actually apply the henna, but all the research that went into figuring out which kind to use, which one to mix it with to get the color you want.…not to mention the mess!! I passed on that too! Also, I used to re twist nightly as well, but stopped not because it took too long (it took about 15 minutes tops) but because it destroyed my ends… It was way too much manipulation and I have in my head that sleeping on twists… Read more »

neceyluv
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neceyluv

LBell, no its not crazy at all.

The sooner people realize that everybody (and their hair) is different and has different needs and/or wants…well.…you know the rest!

carlyfanjaxfan
Guest

Great article Imani! I’ve learned the hard way that over conditioning is indeed possible even for the kinkiest of hair. Even months after a serious bout of moisture overload my hair still is not the same.

mangomadness
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mangomadness

1. Deep Conditioning Overnight” and “3. Re-twisting Hair Nightly” are natural hair care practices that are worth it for me.

Overnight (pre-shampoo) deep conditioning leaves my hair SUPER moisturized and allows me to multitask.

Re-braiding nightly lets me avoid tangles and keep my style fresh (moisture + definition). I only do 10 braids so re-brading is quick.

mlank64
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mlank64

I did Henna, however, I don’t do it anymore. It become too time consuming and messy. I use to twist my hair every night as well. Don’t do that anymore as it was killing my ends, so I only twist on wash day. Rest of the week I let it do it’s thing. I just don’t have the desire or time to be doing all that manipulation with my hair on a nightly basis. I did an over night conditioning once, and it made my hair too gummy and weak. So, now, I keep it simple with less products and… Read more »

ChezCerise
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ChezCerise

I don’t have time for all that mess. How my hair looks once the steam hits it in the shower is what it will look like for the day. I feel like too many naturals are doing waaaay too much to make their hair look “natural”. I have better things to do.

jmh
Guest
jmh

ChezCerise, that is great for you, but perhaps you do not have tightly kinky hair that must be manipulated in some way or it will curl/tangle up on itself and form one giant knotted mass. It is not necessarily out of a desire to “make my hair look a certain way” that I need to style it.

ChezCerise
Guest
ChezCerise

Head full of nappies. 100% healthy, thick, and full. I stand by my statement. Less is more.

Corrie
Guest
Corrie

I love henna but I henna maybe 4 times a year. Used to shoot for monthly but ain’t nobody got time for that! Lol

dee
Guest
dee

Yes I do a conditioning henna treatment about every 2 months. Leanred this from Curlynikki.com Just add a some tablespoons of pure henna powder to my deep conditioner. My hair loves it. Hennasooq.com breaks henna down well.

Ms. Blue
Guest
Ms. Blue

I totally disagree with the not conditioning overnight thing. Conditioning overnight has always done wonders for my hair. Even when it was relaxed. That along with hot oil treatments prior to washing.

Chicago Chica
Guest

I tried the deep-conditioning overnight once, and never returned to it. I just didn’t like it. I am a henna head. I purchase body quality henna from Ancient Sunrise because they have kits for the different colors. It makes it easier because I don’t have to determine the amount of henna to indigo ratio to get the dark brown or black that I like putting in my hair. I do retwist my hair every evening for volume, and to prevent my hair from tangling. I’m doing while I watch television because I’m stationary. I may as well take advantage of… Read more »

Tisha
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Tisha

I’m just gonna quote Sweet Brown and say: Ain’t nobody got time for that!!!

coffee
Guest
coffee

I have been using henna for the past 6 or 7 years. As with anything else, you just need to know what your are doing. I buy my henna from HennaSooq, BAQ type. I don’t work outside of the home, so time is not an issue for me. I make sure to keep my hair well conditioned, and I don’t have any problems with breakage or red or orange hair.

Saundra Stamps
Guest
Saundra Stamps

Great article!! Wish I had read it last night before I went to bed because I sure left my conditioner in and slept in my plastic bag with a scarf wrapped around my head. I recently colored my hair and wanted to make sure I conditioned well. Won’t make it a habit.

Screwy Haired Girl
Guest

I’m a 4b/c natural with porous hair. What I’ve found works for me directly contradicts 2 of these points: 3. I’m trying protective styling this year, but twist-outs were my go-to style for 10+ years. With my texture and diff lengths, the pineapple and scarf were a recipe for a hot mess–tangles everywhere. My ends need tucking away to behave. I had to retwist nightly with moisture and a butter/oil. I did bigger, chunky twists whenever I was too tired, but the look was always meh. 2. Henna–well, can’t argue with you there. Too messy the one time I did… Read more »

trea
Guest
trea

but to condemn what works for me and so many others of different textures? Not cool, dude.”

stop being so dramatic and finding controversy where there is none. LOL

Charlene
Guest
Charlene

My hair is thin in some places and thick in others. I do the overnight conditioning religiously! Almost ever other night. As a result, my hair has become more manageable eventhough it’s a bit drying. So I’ve incorporated essential oils on my scalp when conditioning. After overnight conditioning, I always wash out on the following morning with a natural shampoo and then follow up with a natural conditioner. Also, I put conditioner on my hair while it’s still wet (after washing) and leave it in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “leave-in” conditioner or not — as long as it’s… Read more »

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

I actually heat my henna mix and the color releases like in 20 minutes instead of 24 hours. That works for me but yes it’s a thing you have make time for. I only do it three times a year anyway. For color. But my lazy behind usually wears twists and when they get a little dusty I put a wide headband on as camouflage until wash day So henna once in a while isn’t to crazy for me.

Karjiana
Guest
Karjiana

I’ve been transitioning for about 8 months now and my natural hair is about 3–4 inches long now. I wash my hair every week.But now it’s taking about 6 hours to do so. I section my hair into four sections and sometimes subsections then apply shampoo (sulfate free of course). Next I apply a good conditioner onto my hair then apply my detangling conditioner, because my detangling conditiner isn’t that great of a conditioner, to detangle my hair (which takes about 1–2 hours). Next I make a Deep Conditioner and apply it (I’m not sure how long that takes). Then… Read more »

surVIVEr28
Guest
surVIVEr28

Hi Karjiana, That sounds about right in the detangling process. When I was transitioning, I hated it because you have to care for your natural hair in a way that differs from your relaxed hair. So it can get time consuming. I used to find that keeping my hair in plaits helped with the detangling process- before I shampooed, during the shampoo and then again when I deep conditioned(Rinse well in both of these steps). The pont is that braided hair is stretched hair and stretched hair is detangled hair. You mentioned having a condish with “okay” slip. Some protein… Read more »

Karjiana
Guest
Karjiana

Thank you for the tips. I’m relieved that it’s not unusual for detangling to take as long as it has been taking.

surVIVEr28
Guest
surVIVEr28

LOL!
1. I don’t have time for an overnight condish.
2. Re-braiding my fragile hair just broke it off.
3. Henna? Baby Bye! I’m clumsy smurf when it comes to baby powder. lol. I was expecting something else when I read this article. I was expecting stuff like pre-poos, herbal rinses etc. This was refreshing.

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

When it comes to over-night conditioning, it really depends on the properties of the hair and the actual conditioner. There’s a difference between leaving Greek yogurt in your hair overnight, vs suave naturals, vs. coconut oil and a leave in conditioner. Thus, we have to ask what is the science behind why over night deep conditioning is bad? Also, how to hair porosity affect this? I’ve read some articles on many hair blogs that don’t really address this issue. Thus, we can only say, do what works for your hair!

Alwina
Guest
Alwina

I’ve done henna and re-twisted (but not nightly). I did the henna for a couple of months and when I ran out, I didn’t re-purchase. Especially since the hair stylist that did my color suggested I shouldn’t do both processes. If I do a flat-twist out then I will re-twist every few days, but no more than. I work out and andy twist out style (with the exception of mini-twists) don’t last too many days before needing a re-fresh. I may keep in a deep condition as long as it takes me to complete a project but no longer. Thanks… Read more »

28 dreams
Guest
28 dreams

I am another “lazy bones”, I love the look of the twist-out but it only lasts a few days (like maybe 3 with re-twisting @ night!)I don’t like making a dc (Macadamia is awesome)and I work out. Protective styles only work for 6 days, my hair finds ways of being untangled and I have finally decided to either braid it up or let it do its thing. Every wash gets a deep condition or I will cry trying to detangle. Coconut oil, Olive oil, Walnut oil moisturizes and shines. I get compliments and feel great with or without them. If… Read more »

shay
Guest
shay

I love henna!I henna once a month, I’m about 65% grey so the henna gives me highlight effect. I always receive compliments on the color of my hair. Now I must say the first henna I purchased was a complete mess! It literally had twigs etc in it. I researched and now I buy my Henna from my local Indian store, its like $1.50 per package. I open the package and put the contents into a ziplock bag and only use what I need. I do not henna my whole head when I do henna. Just my roots. I shake… Read more »

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