Individual Twists and Braids vs Buns and Updos; Which Retain Natural Hair Length Better?

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Kristina brings a very interesting question;

So… I’ve been trying to figure out a protective style regimen for a while now. First I was rocking the individual twists and braids then I stopped doing them because they took too much effort to put in and take down, and I felt I was losing hair in the takedown process. So I started doing buns and updos. But I found that those styles stretched my hair to a point that it almost became a bit dried out. Now I’m gearing up for another 3 weeks of protective styling and I’m not sure what to do. I’m not dealing with a lot of length (9 inches at the longest points).

I wanted to ask your readers; for those of you who have tried both individual twists & braids and less ‘piecy’ protective styles like buns and updos; which did a better job of helping you retain length? And why? I know the answers might vary from head to head, but I’m hoping that some helpful themes will emerge.

Alright ladies. Share your advice!

Which style helps you retain length better?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...


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56 thoughts on “Individual Twists and Braids vs Buns and Updos; Which Retain Natural Hair Length Better?

  1. they’ll all retain equal length, but it’s how you comb your hair when you take those styles down that will determine whether you keep the length. you can grow 2 inches and break off 3.

    • We had two weddings that wekened so I didn’t get to watch entire documentary on it but based on what I saw I totally agree with you. Kate’s bridal bouquet, I felt like it didn’t match the dress and wasn’t elegant enough. For me it would be perfect if she had a huge bundle of white tulips. The lace on her dress was just too bulky for lily of the valley look. The rest of the wedding was also missing flower presence, I was pretty bummed out about it.

  2. Twists work best for me. I usually end up wearing them in an updo, and they do a great job. I wet them every few days then seal them with a shea butter coconut oil mix. and they don’t unravel. I wash every one to three weeks (yes, that’s right, 1-3, depends on my schedule.) I may try braids, because as a school teacher, the less work I have to to on my hair every few weeks the better. I want to maintain it’s health, but not spend hours twisting/braiding every couple of weeks. Thanks for the input, ladies!

  3. Minibraids work best for me. I don’t wear them down much, mostly in banana clips and in updos. I cosign with sweetafrohair. I make sure that I am careful putting them in on stretched, moisturized, and sealed hair. I take them down by using my mix of distilled water, oil, and conditioner as a spritz to help the braids loosen without a lot of manipulation. I usually leave them in for 5 weeks tops, because I don’t want my hair to loc.

  4. I kept my hair in two big twists for 5 months straight, of course I’d take them down wash/co-wash moisturize and seal but them put them right back up and put a wig over if I went out. My hair was chin length (relaxed) when I started transitioning, when I finally decided to do a length check my hair was almost past my shoulders (curly)! I chopped about 2 inches of the relaxed ends 3 weeks ago since I’m opting for a gradual transition instead of a BC and my hair has already grown half an inch. I was stunned.

    Twists all the way!!

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  6. My goal being able to put my hair in ONE BUN! I haven’t been able to do this since I was a kid! For now. Twist, braids, and updos do it for me!

  7. I think twists are best because usually you’re starting on clean hair and using good moisturizer, sealant, (and a styling cream) and you’re doing this to the hair evenly because it’s in sections and detangled. It’s a great way to prompt you to keep it moisturized.
    Then if hair is long enough to pull into a bun without even using a brush (except if you want to brush a holding product on your edges) I think that’s the best thing then because there is hardly any manipulation at all, just make sure to keep hair spritzed and moisturized.

  8. Twists work best for me in protective styling and retaining length. I always get two strand twists and I love it . I go to the salon to get it done once a month and I can do so some styles with twists as well .

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