Style Icon Safiya

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 “pre-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! :) I will need to remem­ber to ‘dust’ my hair or do ‘search & destroys’ when I am… 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 :(

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.

:)

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 ;)

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. :-(

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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