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3 Signs a Natural Hair Style is Not For You

Avatar • Apr 20, 2014

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1. Styling Takes an Unnecessarily Long Time

There are some styles that always take a long time to complete. For example, it takes up to 8 hours to put my hair into mini twists. That’s not excessively long, as 150 small twists on long natural hair will take a while. But there may be styles that take you 3 or 4 times longer to complete than other naturals. And when you complete the style you might find yourself thinking, “was it really worth all that?”  A wash n’ go that takes 3 hours or a simple updo that takes an hour may not be for you. If you enjoy putting in the time to achieve such styles, by all means do so. But those who feel they have to spend hours upon hours in order to achieve what they consider an “acceptable”  hair style might need to reevaluate. I honestly believe that natural hair doesn’t have to take a long time to style. My hair is very coily (4a/4b if you use hair typing) and hovering around waist length.  I can spend hours on my hair but I don’t HAVE to and neither do you!

2. Diminishing Returns

It’s easy to figure out whether a style is excessively time consuming, but it’s more difficult to determine when the benefits of a style are outweighed by its drawbacks. If you choose to wear a style that creates another set of problems for your hair, it probably isn’t the best option for you.  In my case, protective hairstyles that add stress to my hairline, which has always been prone to breakage, will ultimately result in healthy ends and receding edges. Be sure that you don’t continue employing a method, despite clear indications that it’s harmful to your hair, just because so-and-so said her hair was 6 inches longer in a few months. Even commonly recommended styles may have adverse effects on your hair. This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the style, or even your hair.  The style simply may not work for you.

3. You Can’t “Work” It

I often focus on the relationship between technique, style and hair health in my articles, but I really believe it is important for you to feel good about the way your hair looks. There are a variety of styling options that are conducive for hair health. Don’t feel that you need to wear styles that you feel are unbecoming on you. You wouldn’t wear a dress that you think takes away from your best assets, so don’t feel obligated to wear ‘smart’ hairstyles that you don’t feel confident in. Earlier in my healthy hair journey, I admittedly didn’t wear the cutest styles, but I felt like that was price I had to pay in order to achieve healthier hair. Fortunately, I know better now. Feeling fly and wearing healthy hair styles are not mutually exclusive. If you’re wearing a style that makes you want to duck and hide when you see that certain someone coming in the other direction, then it probably isn’t the style for you. Being natural isn’t some form of hair martyrdom, in which you are required to sacrifice your sense of style. I sometimes sense that some women feel that way, but it simply isn’t the case. Whether or not the style is considered a staple in the cannon of go-to hair styles is irrelevant. Balance wisdom with your sense of style to achieve the hair you find most desirable.

What was a sign that made you realize that a popular natural hair style didn’t work for you?

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LBell
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LBell

First off, thank you for addressing STYLES instead of natural hair as a whole. With all the information that’s out here now, too many people still tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater… Secondly, thank you for suggesting that, contrary to popular belief, natural hairstyling doesn’t have to be a chore every single time. I’m still hoping BGLH will do an article about wash days because I don’t believe those always have to be super-long ordeals either. For the last couple of years I have been on a quest to keep my hair care as simple as possible… Read more »

cacey
Guest
cacey

yes, i don’t get how people’s wash days are quite so involved and when i see all the products listed that they used in a single wash/detangle session it boggles my mind each and everytime. especially on here, because i really only use like one or two products at any given time. so i’m just like…omg how is your hair not completely overly saturated with product?! My wash days are not a chore (anymore); i find them very peaceful and they are essentially my excuse for “alone time” lol i’m all for simplifying, which is why my main two hairstyles… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Thank you so much for saying this!!! I go on youtube thinking “how in the world does their hair just look like that after just a shampoo?” That’s what I thought a wash and go was. But when I actually watched them they use so many products.

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

It takes a long time for me mainly because its thick and coily/ kinky and I’m new still to getting use to my hair texture, so I don’t damage it. I don’t mind it at all. Because I use the time to just be still for a while. I always learn a little something knew about my hair, so I don’t mind.

JENNID
Guest
JENNID

Great thoughts Lbell. I think wash day should take as long as it takes but I have seen some peoples wash day and smh wondering what in the world is someone doing for 5 hours. But as I dig deeper I’m find most naturals are detangling/washing, loong deep conditioning and styling their hair ( not simple styles) on the same day. I abandon that years ago cause it was too much. One year I forced my self to find two quick styles that I could wear on wash da done on wet/damp hair in a few min, detangle and prepoo… Read more »

LBell
Guest
LBell

Agreed and let me be clear about something: If people want to spend entire weekends all up in their hair, that’s fine with me. What I keep pushing back against is the notion that this kind of regular time investment is a REQUIREMENT if you’re going to wear natural hair. I firmly believe that natural hair care and styling is only as hard as you make it, and I think that’s true regardless of the kind of hair you have. As I said, I’m still revising my wash day time downwards as I continue to look for more efficient methods… Read more »

NaturallyNeesh
Guest

I agreeeee! I say this all the time, it is as easy or as hard as you make it. I do not spend hours washing my hair lol…I dont dread wash days either. I have a youtube channel and I made a vid about my wash routine and a commenter asked me if I deep condition since I did not show that in the vid. I responded yes but not every time I wash. She seemed shocked. lol. I love having natural hair but I refuse to make it seem like it’s not doable or manageable…this is the stigma that… Read more »

mochachick10
Guest
mochachick10

I agree except about the minitwist. Sure they take a long time but they also last a long time and diminishes styling time to almost ‑0-. They also look fab! Consequently, the two days I take to do my minitwist on my hair — totally worth it

Ivie9ja
Guest
Ivie9ja

It never seems like you have an option at times but these are definitely wise words

Iva
Guest

Bantu knots. Can.Not.Do. I love the look of the knots and the curls you get when you take them down, the ease and speed with which you can put them in BUT, without fail, after the first day my hair starts to mat and lock in the knots. No clue why but its not worth me wasting time (and hair) trying to figure out why. It’s just a style, there are a thousand other options.

silkynaps
Guest

I wash my hair every three days. The first day or two, I’ll wear it naturally. The last day or two, I’ll wear a puff. I am really, really, really trying to ween myself off the puff. Even if I wear it with zero tension…slicked up only by the remnants of curling gel and the grace of God…I end up with a headache. Not to mention, the puff part of the style becomes a nightmare to finger detangle if I’m too lazy to wash my hair on that third day. I just really enjoy the style. It’s soooooo easy. I’m… Read more »

Gabby
Guest
Gabby

When you wear your puff are you using an elastic band? If so that could be what’s giving you a headache. Try using a knee high (the cheap ones you see at a drug stores) for your puff instead, that way you control how tight you want it to be without too much tension or headache.

God bless. ?

silkynaps
Guest

In the beginning, I used a nylon for my puff. The problem is that I have fine hair and nylons would snag and them.

Now, I puff my hair with a stretched out, covered, elastic headband. I loop it twice; but to have tension, I’d need to loop it 4 times.

Like I mentioned, I puff my hair with zero tension; so, that isn’t the issue. Maybe the headache comes from having a sensitive scalp, heavy hair, ingredients in products…who knows.

silkynaps
Guest

I wash my hair every three days. The first day or two, I’ll wear it naturally. The last day or two, I’ll wear a puff. I am really, really, really trying to ween myself off the puff. Even if I wear it with zero tension…slicked up only by the remnants of curling gel and the grace of God…I end up with a headache. Not to mention, the puff part of the style becomes a nightmare to finger detangle if I’m too lazy to wash my hair on that third day. I just really enjoy the style. It’s soooooo easy. I’m… Read more »

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

I’m having issues with Twist out and braid outs. I think its that I don’t have the technique yet, but I don’t want to give up on it. Wash and goes are kind of a no go. I have to dry it and style it. It literally takes all day for my hair to dry, and it tangles so much.

lablooplah
Guest
lablooplah

that’s why I dont do two strand twists and the longest i put them in is 2 weeks, i always get more broken strands and my hair locks up. The puff works best for me. I’ve learned that my hair flourishes when it’s worn loosely and contained (like in a puff)breakage and shedding has reduced by alot

CJ
Guest
CJ

I’ve been natural for 11 years now. It’s takes me 2 hours to do a wash and go. If it doesn’t take you hours, great for you. But I have waist length hair that is very dense so it takes almost 2 hours just to wash and detangle it. It only takes about 10 minutes to style, but a wash and go includes washing. No way I’m washing my hair without detangling it. I feel like these blog posts and forum threads implying that natural hair should always be quick and easy are misleading. Some styles will just take a… Read more »

Guest
Guest
Guest

A wash n go shouldn’t tangle your hair to that extent regardless of the length. My hair is APL and I wash/detangle my hair in 10 minutes because it never has tangles. If I did a wash n go it would take an hour to detangle. Ie, I don’t do wash n gos. That’s why she said some styles work for some (in the sense that they are quick) and not for others

CJ
Guest
CJ

I totally missed the “style” part of the article. Obviously my comments were irrelevant. 🙂

AveryKinkyCurl
Guest
AveryKinkyCurl

I can’t rock bantu knots because my hair literally ends up in knots…and wash & go’s are another style I can’t really get into, simply because my APL
Hair shrinks so much and I’ve never been one to embrace my shrinkage. I stick to stretched styles.

Antoinette
Guest
Antoinette

I have to same problem with bantu knots ( I don’t know what it is), the tangles are just ridiculous.

NaturallyNeesh
Guest

I wear my hair in a puff most days…whether it’s because I had a twist out or braid out…it always ends in a puff lol…I do not like spending so much time on my hair so I don’t. In the morning I just spray my hair with water and then back the puff. My hair looks weird right now out with no headband…the length is at that stage. Anyways…bantu knots used to be my fave by I hate then now lol

Siboniso Ndlovu
Guest
Siboniso Ndlovu

@NaturallyNeesh I am in the same boat! You made me feel better! My hair looks super weird without the headband and I realized the length is at that stage. sometimes even twist outs don’t work for me unless I go through a rigorous and very tiring process. Sometimes I just sleep without doing anything to my hair and wake up to apply Elentee Vitale cream activator for natural hair but I have to be in the mood for that look. LOL!

Lady
Guest
Lady

Great Article,
i often wondered why some styles looked ‘odd ‘on me;)

Trainee Rapunzel
Guest
Trainee Rapunzel

As a natural who can’t use heat (just one use, taking EVERY precaution my hair stayed perfectly straight) I thought my style options were limited to afro textured extensions, braids etc. I’ve recently discovered curlformers (the cheap ones) and it’s given me hope! This is a journey of discovery and I personally love making time to pamper my hair and try new products. Nothing worthy comes easy.

Tyler
Guest

This is just how I feel about wash and goes.…

Tyler
onelittleblackdress.com

Kanika
Guest
Kanika

I’ve been natural for abt 4 years now. Originally I would wear my hair silked out..getting it done once every 5–6weeks. Then I decided to wear it curly and tried to do the WNG however that didn’t work for me so I decided that I wouldnt deny myself the treat of being pampered nor would I continue to wear my hair straight so what I decided was that I would still continue to get my hair washed at the salon but either have her give me French braids..Bantu knots or something that I could stlye later..for me that Was the… Read more »

Antoinette
Guest
Antoinette

Yeah I notice that if a style leaves my hair horribly tangled than its not for me. You also have to realize that what works and looks good on everyone else, doesn’t automatically mean it will look good for you.

UmJanna
Guest
UmJanna

You should ONLY give up on your style choice, when you’re listening to what others think of it, more than you’re listening to yourself.

I’ve been “natural” all my life…before it was the thing. Before pre poo and cowash were used! I didn’t care then that I was the only one in my classes…and I don’t care now…that I’m a grown behind woman and others asked that I contain, straighten or add extensions to my BEAUTIFUL hair!

K.J.
Guest
K.J.

I personally cannot wear small kinky twists or Sengelease twists. When I wore that hairstyle last, I had unnecessary amount of “shedded” hair. So now I do buns, big twists and crochet styles. Just always do what’s best for YOUR hair.

[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAM00145.jpg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAM00145.jpg[/img]

Amber
Guest
Amber

weaves make my hair fall out and break
Stopped that.
Braids somehow made my hair knotty.
Hated the combing my Mom subjected me to so I gave up.
Tried the twists last week and they won’t stay and knot my hair as well.
For now I just finger comb and go. Having a hard time with most styles. Any ideas? I have kinky short curls.

Florence deBear
Guest
Florence deBear

Try color.

Domonique Williams
Guest
Domonique Williams

Try finger coils. I rock them and they last a week with minimal maintenance . Look up Ms Ken K on YouTube.

Ray
Guest
Ray

God bless all you ladies with the confidence to go “against the grain” and rock your God-given, natural hair. The long term, continual damage wrought by the constant burning (perms), and pulling out (weaves) of our sistas’ hair doesn’t seem to be enough to deter the continuation of the practices for so many. But I’m glad to see more and more of our queens and princesses embracing their realness! Keep it up!

Kay
Guest

Thank you for this article. I’ve read so many times that one should wear protective hairstyles to protect the hair, but I don’t like wearing twists and braids in my hair. It doesn’t fit me at all. But a twist out does, even though I have to twist it every day or two to keep the knots away. I either wear a twist out or wash and wear. I love my fro, and will always wear one. Twists, bantu knots, braids, up-dos (I didn’t do that when I had a relaxer either!) don’t suit me. I feel vindicated.

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

Geniece, what does a person do when people in her family don’t accept her choice to wear natural hair? It hurts me that my mother does not accept my hair. Okay, she accepts the natural part, but she has an aversion to natural hair in its natural state. In other words, she wants me to wear it straight all of the time. First of all, this is impractical as I work out and my hair sweats, so wearing it straightened all of the time is not going to work. I have done an about face with my hair which had… Read more »

Kim Randle
Guest
Kim Randle

Tracey, When your disapproving family members say something you don’t like about your hair just know that they don’t know what great feeling it is to be rid of the perm!!! They just don’t understand. When they give their opinion, just say — “that’s nice” and change the subject. It’s a subtle way of telling them you’re not worried about what they have to say about YOUR hair.

Jessica Williams
Guest
Jessica Williams

I can’t stand ignorance. I am a firm believer in people wearing their hair any way they want; as long as it is healthy who cares what people think. If your self esteem is in tact, why try and tear someone elses down because you think they should be the same way you are?

Kay Von kent
Guest
Kay Von kent

when it makes my hair horribly tangled or when i am embarrased to wear it. The same goes for products. if it works for 1 natural but I dries the heck out of my hair, I find another use for it or give it away. there is no need to continue either practice if it doesn’t work for you. good article.

Natalie Live / The Tiny Closet
Guest
Natalie Live / The Tiny Closet

inspiring words of wisdom right there. Thank you for this!

Florence deBear
Guest
Florence deBear

I realized I needed to respect myself when I was pulling a smoking hot comb through my hair while sweating and squinting in the bathroom mirror back in 1968. I kept asking myself,“Why I gotta do this?Why the hell am I doing this?” So I stopped. When my Brother ask when I was going to straighten it back . I answered, “When you do.”

Kat
Guest
Kat

I went to a stylist that flat ironed my hair, but didn’t do anything for the hairline that remained kinky looking. I am very limited as to hairdressers. And, have learned that my options are even fewer.

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