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Pages and pages of online information have been dedicated to natural hair but, when you break it down, it only takes a few disciplined practices to achieve healthy, strong hair that retains length and moisture. And while it might be tempting to look to new products or ‘the hot new regimen on the natural hair streets’, there are many tried and true approaches that often go overlooked. Here are five natural hair practices that are often overlooked but have amazing results.

Protective Styling

Now this one might surprise you since, everywhere you turn, a natural is talking about protective styling. But, anecdotally, very few take a consistent, disciplined approach to protective styling, despite the fact that it’s a proven booster of length and volume.

Yes, it can be hard to not have access to your hair for extended periods of time, but protective styling is a proven and effective way to retain length on all hair textures and types. If you’re every looking to beef up the length and volume of your natural hair, set aside a few months and try consistent protective styling.

And keep in mind that the intensity of protective styling you need is directly related to how strong your hair is. Stronger/more resilient hair will require shorter protective styling stints and less binding styles. Whereas more fragile hair will require longer periods of protective styling, and styles (like twisted buns and cornrowed updos) that tuck the ends completely. Check out our protective styling do’s and dont’s.

Pre-pooing

The dry, squeaky feeling hair can have after washing is a common concern among naturals. But the solution is simple — pre-pooing with a penetrating oil (like coconut oil). Plus, it can help with pre-wash detangling. Try a quick 20 minute pre-poo before your next detangle and wash. Not only will your hair feel softer after washing, you’ll also see a reduction in breakage and shedding that occurs during detangling and washing.

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Leila Noelliste, 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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44 Comments on "5 of the Most Underrated and Overlooked Natural Hair Practices"

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[…] moisture is such a big deal when dealing with natural hair, a lot of naturals β€œpre-poo.” Black Girl Long Hair […]

Sibongile Amy
I think the most overlooked aspects of my journey so far was 1st ACV then maybe the trimming. Im in my 11th month of transitioning so I have been doing lil chops as I go about every other month and my hair is doing fine. However, I had tried white vingar in my final rinse and previously soda to clarify but what a revelation the Apple Cider Vingar rinse has been!! My hair was sooo soft and actually felt moisturised. Im never going back! πŸ™‚ I will need to remember to ‘dust’ my hair or do ‘search & destroys’ when… Read more »
Sparkles

My fabulous shampoo and conditioner regimen….Wet~N~Wavy shampoo and conditioner…. this is the BEST conditioner I have used to detangle by far… *licensed stylist*

Trinette
Hi Ladies, Do yourself a favor and get some Sta Sof Fro comb out spray. It will condition, provide sustained moisturizing, add sheen and conditioning to natural hair. I’m from the “I’m Black and I’m Proud” Afro wearing ’70’s…and we were. We went natural as a Nation and the Afro crossed all economic groups and generations. Momma, Daddy, Children, Politicians, Celebrities, and the whino on the corner, all wore afros. Our hair was beautiful and healthy. We didn’t need polarizing “hair typing” to care for it. Anyone that has curly hair knows it’s dry and the curlier it is the… Read more »
OfficiallyNatural

Agreed, I do not call my hair type 3 or 4. It is what it is afro hair texture. In the UK people have started using this numbering system, before the internet it was afro hair.

NubianPrize

I’m from that era,too & still use old school products like StaSoFro & S Curl along with the newer products like Qhemet, JBCO, KinkyCurly & SheaMoisture.

Cynthia

Thank you I think that’s just I need

Nejat Gasiem

I tried to grow my hair for long time,used alot of product nothing worked. I would like to buy same of the product you use.

jas

omg i want to UNDERSTAND the whole pH thig but everytime i read on it or watch a youtube video i feel like i’m back in class at my old high school. I just dont get it πŸ™

CurlDiva

I liked the article it’s a great summary of the five techniques but I would like to see how advice for trimming since advice (VIA LINKS) are posted after the other techniques. Trimming curly hair is different from trimming relaxed hair. If you trim straight across versus at a slight angle it can affect protective styles such as two strand twists; which may began to unravel at the ends if you have a finer texture of hair. When I cut my end at a slight angle my ends are happier.

Faizahjade

Having a professional examine your hair cause you can not see the full extent of your own head. Licensed cosmetologist knows best.

Styling natural hair for 7 yrs

hyspin

Well wouldn’t say a cosmetologist knows best I would say Trichologists knows best. Cosmetologist is definitely helpful though assuming one find a cosmetologist that understands your health of hair versus just aesthetics.

πŸ™‚

Elora

I think another overlooked natural hair practice is paying the most attention to ones OWN hair and knowing your textures limits and benefits.

lillian mae

These are actually tips every transitioner or natural girl can use. I practice all but trimming

hyspin

I guess I agree with most except pre-poo. I had I find oil rinses more affective.

EG

What is the diff?

hyspin

pre-poo is something you do before you wash your hair so that the oil get absorbed into the shaft so that shampoo doesn’t strip away all oil from the hair. While Oil rinse follows after the conditioning to adding in oil in the hair that is lost from shampooing. It gets rinsed by warm water to get ride of excess oil. It is excellent at prevent single strand knots and make detangling process easier.

hyspin

It provides the softness as well but I find that I don’t need to use lotion/leave-in conditioner afterward for detangling I just use water to keep the hair slip.

mangomadness

I’m surprised that these haircare practices are “underrated and overlooked”. I protective style (buns &updos) alot, I always pre-poo (coconut oil, aloe vera gel/castor oil mix or conditioner), I seal my ends (w/ castor oil) on every wash day and I trim 1/4 inch from my ends every 3-4 months. Theses method work very well for my medium length afro textured hair.

Awakening April

I’ve been doing 4 our of 5 regimens listed here. The last one, I never heard of. Going to look into it. THAT might be the culprit as to why sometimes my hair is shorter/curlier and other times longer/wavier. Thanks BGLH!!! ?

Lisa

ACV is murder on my low porosity hair. No bueno.

Em.

Not murder for mine but it doesn’t do anything for a cuticle that is pretty much impenetrable!

Doneak Williams

I am so loving and appreciating this page

Doneak Williams

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Monique

Her hair is La Bomba

Monique

I have natural hair and I have such a hard time dealing with it. It’s really long and super thick, so I usually end up straightening it about every 6 months. Although my hair is extremely healthy, I only get about two trina a year, I’m afraid the heat will damage my curl pattern so I need more “natural” hairstyles and ways to maintain them for girls with my type of hair because I have yet to find anyone. Can someone please help? I have uploaded a picture of my first twist out hairstyle. Anymore ideas?

Jade

Hey guys,
Can anyone tell me what the lady in the picture is rocking? Is it a braid out or a twist out ?!!!

THANKS

Jade

Great thanks ladies!

Marsha

I think it’s a braid out.

Etty

Yea, I think it’s a braid-out too.

Cee

I’m pretty sure she has dreads.

AH

I think she means the picture in the article.

nestazze

Hi decided to follow u,bcs is I think is gonna be usefull to me.I am a local male hair stylist in africa,and I really need to grow and learn more.hop u ar the best to tell this ? Sure u gonna contribute,
xpect ur tweet or mail

MissJoiful1
I HAVE to agree with the first point!!!! I have most certainly seen a difference in the health of my ends and noticed that I seem to retain more length with protective styling. I’m forced to wear my hair up most of the time because of the nature of my job, so cute twist updos and tucked under styles are a must for me! I’ve managed to grow my hair to BSL (with only 2 trims) in only two years! Pre-pooing (yes Madame, that does have an icky undertone…. Lol) has also worked wonders. My hair is softer and shinier… Read more »
madame

nice article….! but “pre-POOing” has an icky undertone to it πŸ˜‰

smartieskirts

yeah, idk about doing that step (prepoo)…umm, it’s like putting oil on top of the oil you already have on your dirty hair!!! PINEAPPLES (kevin hart voice), not doing it!

MelodyBlu

I would LOVE to rock rotective styles more often but my scalp is so sensitive that I have flare up all the time. πŸ™

Shirl
I thought it was just me. Certain protective styles (PS) that entails buns, hairs pins etc makes my scalp act up something awful after one day. My PS are mostly twists under wigs and the days I do styles with hair pins, buns, updos, ponytails I carry around a metal rattail comb to gently scratch my itchy scalp. Funny thing this is my first winter as a long term transition/natural and I’m doing a PS challenge till April. Aside for itchy scalp from buns, hair pins, side combs etc my hair tolerates evrything. I haven’t had not one product that… Read more »
Em.
I’d been having some issues with my scalp and would only wear protective styles no longer than a week. I realized one thing was that I was letting my hair air dry and it frankly takes two full days to dry on its own. That extra moist environment was making my scalp super itchy. I started treating my scalp with apple cider vinegar (ironically it does nothing for my hair) before washing and then using the blow dryer with the diffuser attachment to dry my scalp and roots. I’m now able to wear protective styles longer without wanting to rip… Read more »
SWEETLO

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Shaun

Hot oil treatments

Cee

LOVE that skirt!

Angie

Hey cuz!! Beautiful!

Tomeca Banks

Gurl your dreads are hot!!! Im loving them!

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