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Melissa writes;

I’ve heard that buns are an effective protective style but my personal experience with bunning has produced mixed results. I typically just fold my loose hair over and secure it with a hair tie. At night I take the hair tie out and twist the hair up. In the morning I unloose the twists, and fold the loose hair over again. I tried this for about 3 months and noticed that I did retain length — but a lot more slowly than I expected. Why is that?

BGLH replies:

The effectiveness of the loose hair “fold over” bun depends on the strength of your ends. For naturals with stronger hair, it’s a simple way to get ends tucked in. But for naturals with more fragile hair there are several red flags. First, the hair tie can put a strain on your ends and lead to cuticle snapping and breakage. Second, folding over all that loose hair can even cause knotting if your curls get tangled. Third, depending on the length of your hair, the fold over bun can require a bit of stretching. Stretching the strands too far can dry them out, leading again to dryness and breakage. And finally, buns can be hard on your edges if you slick and pull too tight.

You also always have to be mindful of the tools you use for bunning. Check out this handy do’s and dont’s list from the K.I.S.S. blog;


Wear Tight Ponytails
Use Metal Accessories
Use Rubber Bands
Use Elastics with metal
Use Hairs Clip and Barrettes that can snag hair
Do buns and ponytails with wet hair…Hair is weakest when wet ( I wait till my hair is at least damp before bunning)

Loose Buns or Messy Buns (alway cute)
Elastic Bands with No Metal
Good Day Hair Pins (Sold at Sally’s )
Use 100% Aloe Vera Gel (For Sun Burns) instead of Hair Gel
If you know your hair is weak ….I would stick with banana clips or french rolls until hair gets stronger..

If your hair is too short for a loose bun, try twisting your hair first and then putting it into a bun. The twists will provide protection for your ends as it sits in the bun. Also, stop twisting every night. It’s a strategy that works for some naturals, but it sounds like your hair is too fragile to deal with the constant manipulation.

Ladies, what has your experience been with bunning? Do you bun as a protective style? Why or why not?

Black Girl With Long Hair

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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34 Comments on "Are Buns An Effective Protective Style?"

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[…] a twist down the center for an extra flair. I actually wore that bun for three days.Buns can be a protective style if your […]


[…] a twist down the center for an extra flair. I actually wore that bun for three days.Buns can be a protective style if your careful. Here is how I got through […]

Tiera johnson

I’ve been doing loose buns and two stand twists styled into buns in order to retain length and I’m seeing great results. I just wrote a post on it on my blog if you want to see more of my technique

Aliyah Morrison
My hair actually likes loose buns my hair is medium shoulder length when stretched and Bob length with shrinkage . I put it in two buns and I love it. It’s not big yet but I’ll get there. I have only been a year natural . I tried protective styling with wigs weaves protective styling and my hair broke off and I had who of dandruff . Then I left I alone and just washed conditioned moisturized it and my hair grew alot from one less than one inch of hair from my big chop to medium length . The… Read more »
I have been experiencing excessive midshaft splitting, stressed hairs and breakage. The only thing I can conclude is that my hair is too fine even for daily loose buns, and I did nothing on the don’ts list. I don’t know for sure yet because I finally just made the decision today to experiment with leaving my hair loose or in a low pony with a silk scrunchie to see if the problem stops. It could be that something else initiated the breakage but that any sort of protective styling is probably just making it worse.There is indeed another way to… Read more »
I had this problem! :(( Super frustrating. My New Years resolution was to figure out what was going on with my hair. I trimmed on a regular, I did the Loc method, I was gentle with my hair…and I still kept getting mid shaft splits. It has been 6months for trial and error but I finally have it figured out for my hair. I first realized that I had low porosity hair. Although I would put water and oil on my hair it never absorbed…meaning my hair was always dry and greasy. I also realized my hair was protein sensitive..… Read more »
Thank you! Actually, since I posted this I have let my hair loose and am doing the LOC Method and my hair seems to like it. But there are other things I have done too, the breakage has literally stopped. I mean, as Cipriana says, expect less than perfect hair. My hair will probably never be perfect, but it is getting stronger and stronger. On my blog post I shared some things I have found that have really helped me with breakage. I also have been vlogging my experience with loc so far on my youtube channel (I am a… Read more »
test website

Hey there! I’ve been following your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

I love buns ! This is my style all the year ! Some days i wear bantu knot out on the front of the bun. I make loosy buns so no breakage. On the night i apply water and castor oil. Then i make 8 braid or twist and sleep with my scarf. In the morning i put my homemade moisturiser. I just have to brush a little with a special brush and use an elastic to maintain the bun. Never use comb !!!!! But if i can I don’t manipulate my hair in the weekend. And i wash only… Read more »

I really like buns, and would wear them more if I could learn to sleep in then. But I find the uncomfortable to sleep in so I end up redoing/manipulating it daily which I don’t want to do .


I love wearing buns. I just started wearing them this year. I’m a soon to be new mommy and I dont have the time or energy to do much with my hair. Buns are my go to hair do until my son is born. Check out my recent post with pictures of my bun

Just recently, I’ve begun burning my hair in multiple ways so that I can keep my hair protected while not growing bored of “the same old style”. So far, so good, although it hasn’t been long. I created twist out bangs which adds a little flair to my style. I don’t really see myself twisting every night since I can be heavy handed at times and cause unnecessary breakage (which I am working HARD on!) I just take down my loosely set bun at night, moisturize, twist my bangs and fold the rest of my hair into itself and cover… Read more »

I’d like to add that bunning has helped me retain length, but it also caused a little bit of breakage at the crown because I was bunning too tightly, I guess. So one has to be careful. I wish there were more ways to retain length besides protective styling.


You’re welcome. If you have any questions about any of the styles and how they were achieved pls feel free to ask.


I can’t wait until my hair is long enough for a bun, I love buns

Bunning is something that I’ve just discovered and never really liked until now. When I was relaxed, my mother stopped doing my hair around 8 years old. All I knew to do was to throw it back in a bun. The result, my hair fell out in the back. I’ve not worn buns really except for maybe once or twice since then. I have been transitioning for 20 months, and have a little over 7 inches of new growth. Because I had the length and desired a new style, I turned to bunning. The way I bun now, is not… Read more »

I’m a little over a year into my transition and I can’t bun. My hair is just too thick. It’s heartbreaking (lol) because when I was relaxed I would bun all the time.


I am 20 months into mine and I thought I could never bun for the same reason…I found that using the technique similar to the cinnabun would allow me to achieve the bun-look, without having to worry about thickness getting in the way.
What I do is use an elastic headband to push the hair up into position, then simply pin my hair down using bobby pins. I’ve found this also alleviates some of the tension that using ponytail holders (even ouchless ones) can cause. Your bun will also look full and luxurious! Good Luck!


Thank youuuu! Definitely will try this

Ii was in a bun challenge land my goal was to find different ways to wear my buns without elastic ties and without tension on my edges. I came up with some pretty dope styles that consisted of: lightly twisting the front and swooping/pompadouring the front, twisting/braiding (one braid/twist) the back then forming a bun and pinning, using a banana clip (my favorite) then twisting the length and pinning behind the clip forming a “teardrop” type ring , messy buns using the plastic pins (from sallys) to secure then decorating with hair candy, “the southern tease” bun using a small… Read more »

Do you have any images or examples of your different bun styles without using elastic ties? I would love to get some images of some great alternatives.


I did have a lot of them but unfortunately my laptop was destroyed ;0(. If you can check out my profile at you may have to join before you can view my albums ( I have one just for buns) but I have a lot of different styles on there.


Or you can find me here as well. Again you may have to sign up to view but go to the Bun album. The first website is for naturals and this one is for All types of hair.


You are awesome. Thank you.


I’ve been on a protective styling challenge. I’ve been doing a sock bun. I hold it in place using just a mental free ponytail holder.

I bun ALL THE TIME and it has been great for my hair. I just can’t do many hairstyles, as I exercise (heavy cardio) 6 days a week. It seems like my hair stays damp! Lol! I basically wash once a week, cowash on one other occasion during the week and microfiber towel dry my hair (which has a bit of conditioner in it). I then apply some type of leave-in and a whipped shea butter for the edges. Up in the bun it goes. On some evenings after workout, I take it down, rinse it out, add shea butter… Read more »

I don’t even touch elastics. Instead I use a thin scrunchie which reduces breakage even more and reduces tension on my edges.


I’m bunning my hair for the first time this winter. Love, love, love the Good Day hair pins. Eliminates the need for bobby/hair pins.


This is a question I’ve pondered as well. I just thought that the bobby pins or folding the hair over (whichever method used to secure the bun) would cause strain on the ends. I can’t yet say if wearing a bun is effective for my hair or not because I haven’t worn a bun for an extended period of time. Since I do like buns in general, I think I’ll try keeping a bun in for longer than just a day and see how it goes.

I like buns they do look professional and really neat but it dont work for me. I usually have my hair in twists but I’ve tried buns and rolls for a week because I wanted to try a new look and every night before bed I will undo moisturise and twist because I just wont sleep well with my hair in those styles, also it wont be a style when I wake up in the morning. It was the most amount of hair I’ve lost since I started deep conditioning and moisturising daily. Constant manipulation was really traumatising for my… Read more »
J Kenn (SpeakingTALL)

I bun ALL of the time. It’s easy, carefree, looks professional, and a quick style to do when on the go. But, I also wear my hair in 2-strand twists, so I’m usually wearing a twisted bun. The style keeps my ends protected.

I try to dress it up a bit though with a pompadour or flat roll on the front. It’s Go-To-Style.


Yucky. Spam. Make it stop. My feedback about bunning is don’t twist every night. Twist every other night or even every third night. Sleep with a scarf instead of a bonnet to minimize frizz and ease styling.


sock bun seems to be ineffective for my hair because the need for two elastics to keep the style together seems too tight (cause breakage). I think i will try the cinnabun a try and maybe revisit the sock bun when I have time to test looser ponytails with better hold results. My go to up-do for now is single strand flat twist.

Buns–sock buns and cinnabuns–are the protective style of choice for my medium length afro-textured hair. Buns are elegant and easy (to put in, take down and detangle afterward). They’re the only protective style that works for me–without them I would protective style way less (or not at all). I bun on moisturized, stretched hair (via braid-out, banding, etc.). For my sock buns, I use a DIY satin-covered sock bun form ( and Scunci No-Slip Grip The Evolution Jelly hair ties. For my cinnabuns, I use a black knee-high stocking and MetaGrip Bobby Pins. I use flax seed gel, my hands… Read more »