Style Icon Michelle

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…

Leave a Reply

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

Notify of
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 2 for months.… 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 real­ly the… 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 (most­ly… 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 and… Read more »