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Lazy Practices That Still Help You Retain Length

Avatar • Dec 18, 2014

cassandre

Cassandre rocking her fro

I’m not going to lie- I don’t care for my hair every single day and I’m pretty certain that most natural ladies out there don’t care for their hair every day either. It’s not that I don’t want to care for it, it’s just that sometimes it has to take the back seat while other things, like work and mothering, take precedence. But I’m convinced that despite negligence or downright laziness, there are still a few lazy practices that can and do help to retain length.

Washing your hair every 3–5 weeks

Usually when clients ask me about tips on keeping their hair hydrated I always suggest upping the amount of times they saturate their hair with water through the washing process during a month. While I believe this is great advice, especially for the natural who is trying to regain lost moisture from heat processing or trying to see gains in length very quickly, I’ve found that you can do a very decent amount of maintenance and actually gain more length than you lose if you wash your hair less, but intensify your moisture intake on wash days.

So if you’re going to wash your hair less often, on the days that you do wash it you’ll want to be super intentional about getting all the moisture you need and sealing all of that in. 

Keeping your braids in a tad longer than you should

It’s that moment most of us dread- the take down of of our 9+ week long protective style. While I don’t condone keeping in synthetic hair for that long, sometimes life just happens and you either can’t take them down now, or well, you’re too lazy to.

To ensure that your laziness works in your favor, I found it best to moisturize my braids twice a week. Mix a little bit of water with more oil on your palms and gently grab your braids and pat your hair down. This technique helps you to minimize potential frizz that comes from adding moisture to your styles, but ensures that when you finally take down you hair it won’t be crazy dry. The less dryness you hair has suffered throughout that “protective period” the more likely it is that you’ll be able to retain length.

Going to bed without taking down your hairstyle

Am I the only one who does this? I’ll wear the same undo for 4 days straight without taking it down once and just wrapping it up at night. While this maybe a strain to some ladies’ edges, this lazy practice doesn’t have to hurt you too much. The key is making sure your hair is well moisturized before you style it into that updo. After that it’s all about maintenance. I really wouldn’t even suggest doing anything more than spraying it with a little oil sheen on the second and fourth day of wear and not wrapping too tightly at night. Make sure you wrap it up with a satin scarf and use a bonnet and you should be fine.

We all make decisions in life based on many factors and sometimes our hair has to come last, but that doesn’t mean it has to ruin our desire for length. Sure, these methods aren’t ideal, but sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got.

What are some ways you help your hair to retain length even when you’re being lazy or really just can’t tend to your hair?

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About Cassandre

Just another naturalista playing by my own rules! Got hair that doesn't seem to grow past your shoulders? Check out my free Grow Your Hair Faster Video Course

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SonyaPJ
SonyaPJ
5 years ago

I know for a fact I can be a lazy natural! I’ll wear the same twist out for days until it’s basically a curly fro! I’ve tried to wash my hair once a week, but having 4 kids and a husband it’s HARD! There is always something interfering with that, so washing every 2–3 weeks simply works best for me. If I’ve used a lot of product in my hair then I will definitely wash it sooner than later. My overall goal is to manipulate my hair as less as possible, but I still make sure I moisturize during this… Read more »

Meri
Meri
5 years ago
Reply to  SonyaPJ

You aren’t alone! Washing always seems to drain my hair of moisture and I’m a firm believer that nothing moisturizes my hair better than my hair’s natural oils. I’ve actually tested this, because so many people make it seem wrong that people go without washing for more than a few days. Washing daily or even in the same week will strip my hair, co-washing or not. I use water pretty frequently between washes just for a little bit here and there, but my natural hair oils don’t reach root to end if my hair is kinky-curly so I stretch it… Read more »

Dreamgirl
Dreamgirl
5 years ago

For my updos (which is what I think the writer meant lol) I do in fact keep them in without taking them down. Updos for me are usually protective as well which means it probably took me longer to put the styles in- so taking them down every night and twisting my hair up, etc. is impractical and would definitely lead to more unnecessary shedding for me. As for braids, those stay in for two months at the most for me because I have fine hair and even with proper moisture, my hair breaks if you look at her the… Read more »

Jada
Jada
5 years ago

As a college student, this past semester was one of my busiest, and as such, I started wearing buns almost all the time and leaving them in for days. I’ve retained more length than ever before by only manipulating my hair on wash day, and am now just past BSL. Being lazy about styling (but still keeping your hair moisturized) is a great length retention method!

Lacquerholic
Lacquerholic
5 years ago

I’ll leave in my updo for a few days especially when I’m busy. But Ive noticed lately my scarves are messing with my edges. I stick to the satin pillow case.

LC
LC
5 years ago

I do all of the above except the last one because I moisturize my hair at night and sometimes it’s uncomfortable but yeah I agree! I’ll be transitioning for 2 years in January and the less I have to detangle my hair, the easier the transition lol!

Camille
Camille
5 years ago

I’ve always just gone to sleep with my hair loose on my pillow because it’s the most comfortable. Contrary to what I’ve read, oftentimes I can wake up, fluff it, and go. Make sure you have time to style it in the morning though because I am just as likely to get bedhead, but trust me, it’s worth the freedom from scarves.  I don’t think it’s good advice to skip washing/wetting your hair though. I’ve been natural for 15 years and I think it’s important to find your “point of no return” regarding hair dryness. My hair is parched after… Read more »

ambi
ambi
5 years ago
Reply to  Camille

as you said that is Your hair…I’ve never washed more than once a month and often longer than that in my entire life about I’m 35 years I have waist length hair and agree with her that you have to take care of it

Kita Williams
Kita Williams
5 years ago
Reply to  ambi

I have predominantly 4a/3c hair. It is also highly porous so all the moisture I get during wash day quickly leaves my hair after about 4–6 days. I’ve noticed that those with low porosity hair can go longer without washing. Even though it may take more work to get the moisture in, the low porosity of the hair helps keeps that moisture in as well. I envy that lol I just had my bob box braids in and I washed my hair once a week but had to moisturize every 2 days. Hair was super moisturized after a month of… Read more »

Kim
Kim
5 years ago
Reply to  Camille

The ability to sleep with loose hair is largely dependent on hair type/texture. I don’t use a scarf but I must do at least 1 twist to avoid chaos in the morning.

Ms. Vee
Ms. Vee
5 years ago

I dunno about washing every 3–5 weeks. That sweat build up is nasty and needs to be washed weekly imo. I suppose this mainly pertains to those that are physically active. Wash yo head often.

CommonSense
CommonSense
5 years ago

I try to make sure my hair gets saturated on a daily basis. This keeps it moisturized and hydrated and it is growing. I don’t get how you can go without wetting your hair for 3–5 weeks? Doesn’t it smell sour after awhile?

Meri
Meri
5 years ago
Reply to  CommonSense

.…why would it smell sour? hair only seems sour if it isn’t dried properly not because you are washing it. hair on people’s head isn’t like armpits or other bodies parts that stink it’s hair. so they are people who wash frequently, regardless of the results, and their are people that don’t, but just because something isn’t washed regularly doesn’t mean it stinks. especially considering the oils and products used it would probably smell more like that than anything.

ambi
ambi
5 years ago

Wonderful article! I try telling all the above (except keeping up-do p up , however I do styles that last for a month and don’t have to touch my hair until wash day so every 4 to 6 weeks for a wash about 9 months out of the year However folks don’t do this because they still have these mental perceptions of how to take care of hair, but so many wold benefit from do “lazy” hair care more often

notconvincedgranny
notconvincedgranny
5 years ago

There is such a thing as scent fatigue — you’re accustomed to a certain smell, and it’s no longer as intense as it once was, or you don’t smell it at all any more. Whether you are active or not, hair that is washed once a month STINKS. And depending on your hair’s coarseness, it will mat like crazy.

elizabeth31
elizabeth31
5 years ago

I really have never experienced this, though. My hair doesn’t tend to smell, even after weeks. I co-wash weekly (at least) but I do not use shampoo oftentimes all month and I am VERY active, and again have never experienced so much as a “stink”.

Adriannan Nonyo
Adriannan Nonyo
5 years ago
Reply to  elizabeth31

Thats the point, you wouldn’t smell YOUR stink but other people will.

Brdgt254
Brdgt254
5 years ago

The only time I go a month without washing my hair is when it is in braids. I will clean my scalp with acv and water. I have to clean my scalp i sweat a lot in my head (especially in the summer)

Kim Braxton
Kim Braxton
5 years ago

Very good article. I’m a VERY lazy natural. I’m not into all this pre poo, co-wash & all that. Because I don’t use a lot of products in or on my hair, I have gone longer than 1 month (2 to be exact) without washing my hair & it didn’t smell. I know, I know, I must be crazy, however, you have to do what works for your hair. Sometimes I think less is more. I’ve been without a relaxer for 7 years now, and I think there are MORE products for the natural then there were when I was… Read more »

elizabeth31
elizabeth31
5 years ago

Lol, I live with people, I am pretty sure they’d say.

Michelle Freeman
Michelle Freeman
5 years ago

The only way I get a perfect bun for days on end (with open hair, i.e. hair that is neither in twists, plaits, or my Mum’s favourite plait/twists) is by doing it the night before, tying it down and sleeping on it … then it stays perfect. Trying to do it the morning I have to hustle to work however, DISASTER.

Tonia T.
Tonia T.
5 years ago

i am a lazy natural as well. I’ve notice that my hair grows best the less i manipulate it, therefore, i will keep the same bun in for days and only wash my hair every 2–3 weeks. i will tie my hair up at night though so I don’t look raggedy!

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