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3 Reasons Why a Constant Need For Fresh/Done Hair Can Compromise Length

Avatar • Jan 2, 2014

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Style Icon Tammy

There are very many of us who are used to or simply prefer their hair to always look perfect. This means that there is a lot of effort put into making sure no strand is out of place and often there is a preference for hair to be open in a twist out , braid out or bun rather than in own hair twists or braids. If you are someone who likes your hair to look fresh/done all the time, there is no way that preaching the virtues of protective styling and accepting a little fuzz halo when the style gets old will work, so I will not try! However, there are ways to reduce manipulation of your hair and still continue to have it look fresh.

1. Constant manipulation of edges
The edges of natural hair are often the first spot of focus for the appearance of fresh hair. Many naturals use gels and brushes on a daily basis to smooth strands backwards. For some, this is not a problem but it is just far too often that you and read about naturals losing hair specifically at the edges. This is most often a result of constant manipulation.

Solution: You actually can smooth hair using water, a moisturiser of your choice, your hands and a scarf applied for 10–30 minutes. If you prefer to brush your hair , you can opt to continue to do so but do opt for the softest brush you can find for the job.



2. Choosing an inappropriate style for the length of your hair

Buns are often touted as a quick and smart style to turn to when your braid out or twist out is getting old. However, if you do not have the appropriate length or indeed if your hair is the type that shrinks quickly over time, you may find that constantly stretching your hair to get it into the style may give you split ends including the dreaded mid shaft splits

Solution:
If your hair is shorter (naturally or by shrinkage), consider doing a french roll instead of a bun. It is a very simple, low tension and elegant style which works well with hair as short as 6 inches.



3. Not protective styling when you know you should be

I know, I promised not to preach the virtues of protective styling, I have not lied! I am however asking you to consider that IF you know your hair requires it but you, personally, do not like how those type of styles look, perhaps you can change your mind given some alternate evidence on just how cute you could look?

Solution: Take a spin in the bglh pinterest page and see just how easily you can transform your protective style into something drool-worthy. Another really simple adjustment you can do is just to pin back and bun twists or braids.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer having a fresh do’ or keeping your hair in protective styles? Do you think the two are mutually exclusive? And if any of you are rocking fresh styles every day and also retaining length, please share how you’re doing it!

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Scientist on a hairy mission!

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darkchildlovethyhair
6 years ago

Great article , I totally agree especially about over slicking edges.

Peace
6 years ago

Another thing. A constant need for fresh/done hair can compromise your sanity! At one point I was redoing twist outs nightly, using way too much ecostyler, and making my buns so tight I gave myself migraines…all in a quest to obtain perfect Youtube guru hair. All I got was frustrations, endless hair jealously and tons of headaches. A second big chop and a few lessons on self acceptance later, I learned perfect hair is not worth my sanity. And now my hair behaves so much better and actually looks better than when I was freaking out over it! Natural hair… Read more »

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  Peace

*applause* This article is just another reminder of how “out of it” I am because while I understand the concept, I don’t really relate. 🙂 While I definitely *do* my hair, my definition of *done* isn’t aligned with a picture I see on a Web site or a video. One of the things I love most about my hair and textured hair in general is the very fact that it has a mind of its own, which makes it so much more interesting to me than “laid,” “behaving,” boring straight(ened) hair. Also, I view my entire head as being one… Read more »

Jesse
Jesse
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Yes Lbell I agree. Why do my edges need to be straight and laid, while the rest of my hair is curly? I can’t think of a style that I’ve done where slick edges would look good, and I’ve done a ton of natural hair styles. It would kind of look forced on my 4c hair actually lol.

Ellipsis
6 years ago

Protective styling caused breakage for me. I did loose twists and moisturised every day but my hair texture is one that gets dreaded easily and even a week in twists takedown was so hard. now i do a twist out and do roll tuck and pins or buns,

Shy
Shy
6 years ago
Reply to  Ellipsis

I feel like you are right but I find twists so convenient as a weekly hairstyle whereas my out styles and tuck and rolls would shrink as the week went on and be unwearable by day 3. It’s all a process I guess.

JENNID
JENNID
6 years ago
Reply to  Ellipsis

I have come to this conclusion myself and I have fine Kinky hair that is suppose to “live” in protective styles for at least three to four weeks. Caused way too much breakage. I just either do twist outs or Bantu knot outs that are worn out or pinned and tucked in some type of up do. I simply moisturize and seal as needed and let it be. No nightly retwisting required. As the week progresses my style is not as perfect as day one or two but it works. Very low manipulation. No more protective styling for weeks. All… Read more »

Jc
Jc
6 years ago
Reply to  Ellipsis

Many people who have the classic super shrinky 4c hair (e.g Chinwe, Cipriana), do style their hair in twists but do not apply water to it every day . They may do so once a week or once every fortnight.

Hair is predictable, if you find that you style it in twists and water causes shrinkage and matting, this is always going to be the case.

If you want to apply water to your hair daily, you should switch from twists to braids.

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  Jc

Amen…I’ve learned over time that if I wet regular two-strand twists the takedown will be a challenge (to put it mildly), which is why I only wear them for as long as my scalp can handle not being washed, which for me is about 14 days max. Even washing with them in and redoing them individually is more time than I want to spend. Experimenting with mini-rope twists, I’ve found I can get one wash out of them, but that’s about it. They take twice as long to put in as regular minitwists and since I’m already not trying to spend… Read more »

Dotty
Dotty
6 years ago
Reply to  Jc

How do you keep 4C moisturised without a water based product??

JENNID
JENNID
6 years ago
Reply to  Jc

The thing was I didn’t use a water based product to moisturize my twists. I think I just cant keep twist in for longer than two weeks. Even then the meshing is pretty bad. I think my issue is that it was becoming time consuming and tedious thus I’d be rushing to get them out. I like protective styles like twist but I wont do them back to back any more. I did that for YEARS for convience sake but its too time consuming to install and take down.

Jesse
Jesse
6 years ago
Reply to  Ellipsis

I have 4c hair with a lot of shrinkage (at least 75% shrinkage). So, my hair can also easily dred from twists being left in. That is precisely the reason why I stopped twisting my hair. After a nightmare take-down about a year ago, I haven’t done it since. I have no idea how people do braidouts on the regular. Braids are always hard for me to take out. Perhaps it depends on the amount of shrinkage one gets and whether the strand is fine or coarse. My fine strands clump together way to easily from braids and twists. I… Read more »

lv
lv
6 years ago

yep. i obsess over the fresh wash and go. I have to restrain myself from washing daily—that is so no good. But, I am still enthralled with the natural hair thing, so i like playing in my hair, using different products, etc. I have to learn to leave “Sissy” alone. Sissy does not like to be bothered, she looks better after few days of peace but I keep messing with her. Breakage happens. I have to tell myself: “stop with the overmanipulation and leave Sissy alone!”

Rose
Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  lv

Sissy… I love the name. Lol.

Rose
Rose
6 years ago

Wow, I used to fuss about my hair all the time, changing my style every three days. Now I wash my hair once or every other week, put it up in a flat twist style, tucking my ends away and letting my edges do as they please. My hair loves it. I’ve noticed great improvement in my hair since then.

Marta Daniels
6 years ago

Oh my goodness this is all I’m screaming to anyone that ever asks me how to grow and maintain long healthy hair! You cannot wear your hair down and straight every single day and maintain length and health. You just can’t!

Robin
Robin
6 years ago

Edge manipulation caused me so much breakage over the years. While transitioning to natural, I often gelled my edges back or wore a silk scarf tightly around them (like a headband) all day. Both methods tore my edges up because I was pulling my edges back too hard and often. Eventually I figured out the 15-minute scarf method (using a little olive oil instead of conditioner), which does work as long as you don’t tie the scarf too tight. Now that I’ve been natural for almost 10 years, I don’t lay down my edges unless I’m smoothing the rest of my… Read more »

Jo
Jo
6 years ago

I don’t mind my wild edges. I never really mess with them and I let them do as they please. 🙂
🙂

Tina
Tina
6 years ago

I prefer to have a fresh hairdo everyday, but I will definitely try out all of the suggestions made in this article. I do not use a brush on my edges, but I do manipulate them each day. I will start tying them down with a scarf at night. I could also try wearing my braids and twists in pinned up styles. I feel I have been able to retain length because I keep my hair and scalp clean, I finger detangle/style and I consistently deep condition my hair once per week.

CuteKinks
6 years ago

I am totally guilty of number 3. I like to wear my hair out..the bigger the better…but I definitely have a hair texture that benefits from protective styling.

Hansy
Hansy
6 years ago

This was me until I started doing the tightly curly method. Now I wash once a week and wear my hair out after I finger coil. At night I only put a satin bonnet and I am off to bed. My hair last the whole week and I don’t mind when it looks a bit undone at the end of the week.

luminous
luminous
6 years ago
Reply to  Hansy

I never heard of the tightly curly method.… I will try that.

Hansy
Hansy
6 years ago
Reply to  luminous

You can check out the website: http://www.tightlycurly.com/welcome

Christina Patrice
6 years ago

I’ve always wanted to be able to protectively style long term, especially during the winter months. Unfortunately, I have psoriasis that acts up more at this time of year, so I have to wash my hair every 3 or 4 days..or else my scalp goes crazy. For those of tall that can protectively style, feel blessed! Lol.

Jesse
Jesse
6 years ago

I know talking about protective styling is like talking about a natural’s mama, but.…

I don’t think anyone *should* be protective styling (ps), and I mean long-term ps, not buns or a flat twist for a few days. Hair grows and retains length without protective styles too. I’m not saying pick your afro out every single day, but you definitely don’t have to wear braids and twists constantly to grow hair and maintain length.

cho10
cho10
6 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

What if your strands are fine and very kinky and break off even with gentle handling?

Jesse
Jesse
6 years ago
Reply to  cho10

My hair is like that too. I just keep my hair stretched and moisturize it every day. I don’t over-manipulate either. I just let the kinks be. I know everyone’s hair isn’t the same, but my hair is super kinky and shrinky(I had to rhyme it lol). My hair loves long-term “protective styles” so much that it could just stay like that forever (read: lock). I like fluffy, stretched styles. Compressing my hair in tiny sections just encourages tangles for me. I do like short-term protective styles that don’t encourage too much compressing because they involve larger sections. My favorite… Read more »

MV
MV
6 years ago

Slightly off topic, but I really like Tammy’s bun in the article pic! Is there a tutorial on this website so I can create the style at home?

MV
MV
6 years ago

Slightly off topic, but I really like Tammy’s bun in the article pic! Is there a tutorial on this website so I can create the style at home?

Tisha
Tisha
6 years ago

okay, I have type four hair and after I did my big chop in 2010, it started growing like weeds. Now I am 3‑ish years natural and I am at this point where I cannot do what I used to with my hair. 1) my go to protective styles aka roll tuck and pin are more difficult to achieve b/c of the length 2) the more long term protective stlyes (like mini twists) start looking raggedy after 2 days, no matter how little I manipulate them. 3) when I don’t wash my hair weekly, it really starts looking dusty and somewhat… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago

1)Have you tried bunning instead? 2)do you wear a scarf at night? That could keep your hair smooth 3 and 4) start squeezing in a wash no matter how tight your schedule seems. SCHEDULE/PLAN the timing of it. Keep the ROUTINE SIMPLE. The best way I know of is DCing before washing. Some say they don’t understand the benefits, but washing will not dry out the moisture. I and others have done this enough to be sure and say so. It works. If you’re not sure, you can cowash instead. It is really the only quick wash routine there is.… Read more »

Tisha
Tisha
6 years ago
Reply to  Ugonna Wosu

Hi and thanks for the answers. 1) I’ve been bunning like there is no tomorrow and I am starting to feel bored. 2) I wear my scarf religiously but nothing seems to work. My protective styles get fuzzy after 2–3 days and I look like a neglected child lol 3) Now that it’s colder I wash approx. every two weeks and I DC for 20 mn, and shampoo if necessary. That’s it. I think it’s the detangling that’s driving me mad!! Once my hair is wet it’s so fragile that it keeps breaking when I detangle. But when I dry detangle the… Read more »

Lansky
Lansky
6 years ago

I do protective style all the time since is winter. My go-to is two flats twist (I keep it for 3 days because after, it get so messy ahahah) or cornrow in the front with a fake afro-puff to protect my ends (I keep it for one week) I can remove the fake afro-puff & moisturize my hair at the same time. When I wear the afro-puff everybody thing is my hair cause it look soooo natural so it a win!

mangomadness
mangomadness
6 years ago

I prefer wearing a fresh do’. This is not incongruent with wearing protective styles as I often wear buns and updos done on stretched hair. I slick/smooth my hairline because it makes it appear fuller. ‘Relaxers’ thinned my hairline so smoothing it with castor oil followed by a light layer of gel and setting my hair with a satin scarf flattens the hairs making my hairline look more substantial. This makes me more comfortable wearing my hair up. I never use a brush on my edges (or even combs for detangling) so I don’t have breakage from that practice. I… Read more »

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