One of the biggest chal­lenges of going nat­ur­al is wad­ing through all the advice to fig­ure out what works for your hair and what doesn’t. And while some nat­u­rals might report amaz­ing ben­e­fits from a par­tic­u­lar prac­tice, oth­ers might see no result at all — even find­ing it detri­men­tal. Here are 5 nat­ur­al hair prac­tices that don’t work for every­body.

1. Wash and Go’s

Some nat­u­rals love the ease of this style, which entails co-wash­ing, then apply­ing styling prod­uct and let­ting the hair go. But oth­ers don’t like the feel­ing of hav­ing a wet head for hours, or the tan­gling that wash and go’s can bring.

2. Protective Styling

Many nat­u­rals swear by pro­tec­tive styling as a way to retain length, but for some it isn’t nec­es­sary. Some nat­u­rals are able to retain length by sim­ply being gen­tle with their hair — even if they style it on a dai­ly basis. Remem­ber, the neces­si­ty of pro­tec­tive styling is depen­dent on how frag­ile your hair is. Stronger hair will require less, while fin­er, del­i­cate hair will require more.

3. Sealing With Heavy Oils or Butters

Cas­tor oil and shea but­ter are two go-to prod­ucts for seal­ing in mois­ture, but if your hair is on the fine side those heavy prod­ucts might do more harm than good, weigh­ing down the hair and tak­ing on a sticky, glue-like prop­er­ty. If your hair is fine, try seal­ing with a light spritz that con­tains oil, a light oil like jojo­ba or a light whipped but­ter.

4. Henna as a Dye

Not every­one will achieve the “hen­na red”. Henna’s bur­gundy col­or doesn’t real­ly show up promi­nent­ly unless hair is light enough that the dye can show up when deposit­ed.

5. Henna as a Curl Loosener

Henna’s curl loos­en­ing qual­i­ties tend to show up more promi­nent­ly on loos­er tex­tures as opposed to tighter tex­tures.

6. Blowdrying

Some nat­u­rals can incor­po­rate blowdry­ing into their reg­i­men (for detan­gling or styling pur­pos­es) with­out con­se­quences. Oth­ers deal with dry hair that leads to break­age and, in worst case sce­nar­ios, hair that becomes straight and won’t revert to its curly state.

7. Twisting

Believe it or not, not all nat­u­rals are a fan of the twist. Fine-haired nat­u­rals often find that twists look thin and scalpy on them. Plus, on some tex­tures twists become very shrunk­en (as opposed to stretch­ing the hair), lead­ing to tan­gling, knots and break­age.

Ladies, which nat­ur­al hair prac­tices sim­ply don’t work for you? Help add to our list!

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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73 Comments on "7 Natural Hair Practices That Don’t Work for Everybody"

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Donni F.
I can do wash and go’s every now and then, but only if I wrap it in a t-shirt first… and I can’t do it con­sec­u­tive­ly. Sur­pris­ing­ly, most of the above prac­tices do work for me except the pro­tec­tive styling and twists. PSing is a won­der­ful idea, but I can’t keep my hands out of my head for more than 2 days, and my hair doesn’t seem to mind, as long as I mois­tur­ize and seal every night. Twists aren’t a good stretch­ing tool for my hair, as it just shrinks up imme­di­ate­ly like a W&G, and can tan­gle like… Read more »

Braids and braid-outs. My hair does not like braids. I can use braids for stretch­ing but not for styling. The braids crin­kle my hair in a pat­tern that’s oppo­site of what my curl pat­tern prefers. Twists, on the oth­er hand, are per­fect! Since my hair grows in a coiled pat­tern, the twists are nat­u­ral­ly suit­ed for the coils.


Same for me with braid outs.…but in some sec­tions at the top of my hair, it actu­al­ly does work. I start with the braid then twist the ends. Any­where else it looks like a Sun Chip.

I’m also not a fan of sleep­ing with a satin scarf AND pil­low. I wake up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air which ends up ruin­ing my hair­style. The scarf is enough for me.

natural dancer/candice

I love the Sun Chip ref­er­ence!!!! My coils can’t stand braid outs or any oth­er PS sit­u­a­tion. :(
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I felt like I was look­ing at my hair there for a minute, except my crown strands are real­ly thick so they wave rather than cre­ate the pret­ty coils and my edges are more tight­ly coiled.

I have not been able to get a decent braid out or twist out. I just use it to stretch my hair.


All of this applies to me except the pro­tec­tive styling part. lol. Also my hair type can nev­er acheive a “puff” or “afro.”

Hi, I have fine hair, yet lots of it, my moth­er is cau­casian and my far­ther is bajan so I have a com­bi­na­tion of fine and thick hair, I am try­ing to grow it and my hair is cur­rent­ly above shoul­der length, it is real­ly dry, splits very easy and Over­all in bad con­di­tion. At the moment I have to tie it up, I put hair food in reg­u­lar and I use hair gel to slick it back. In 2008/9 my hair was in such good con­di­tion and I would wear it out in spi­ral curls, a bit like cor­rine… Read more »

Boil up some irish moss and add some oil that your hair likes to it and use it instead of hair gel. It works a charm. I have thick 4b/c hair and use it to make ringlets in my hair, not my whole head of hair just the loose baby hair, it is also great for smooth­ing all my hair down before I do an afro puff — yes my hair is final­ly long enough for an afro puff.

Hi Amelia! i Rec­om­mend that you scale back on your use of gel. I know that’s eas­i­er said than done, but a bet­ter option may be to use some­thing like Jane Carter Nour­ish and Shine instead of gel for slick­ing back the hair. I may add a warn­ing that slick­ing back usu­al­ly requires exten­sive brush­ing to smooth the hair and then pulling the hair to tie it back. Both of these add stress to the hair which can result in fur­ther dam­age. A week­ly deep con­di­tion­ing treat­ment will help tremen­dous­ly. I would rec­om­mend using a heat­ing cap and leav­ing it… Read more »

You should post this in the forum. You will def­i­nite­ly get a bet­ter response. Wish­ing you all the best in your hair jour­ney!


Yes, I agree with all of these. As a fine haired nat­ur­al, I’m not a fan of shea but­ter and hate the way dry twists look on me (thin and very scalpy). What works for one does not always work for the next.


Thank you for this arti­cle! There are so many of these so called “nat­ur­al hair prac­tices” that don’t work for me and I kept try­ing and try­ing while dam­ag­ing my hair in the process…after 1.5 years of being ful­ly nat­ur­al I final­ly fig­ured out that “every­thang ain’t for every­body!”


Seal­ing with heavy oils or but­ters (3) on the entire hair shaft equals greasy hair for me. I only use cas­tor oil on my ends and edges. Shea but­ter attracts lint to my hair–I use it on my skin instead.


1,3,4,5 & 7 don’t work for me.

Wash-n-goes (1) were fine when I had a TWA they’d cause too much tan­gling on my Afro-tex­tured hair now that it’s longer (APL).

Dye and “curl loos­en­ing” (4 & 5) are not the goal of hen­na for me–I use it for its strength­en­ing prop­er­ties.

Twist­ing (7) does not work for me–at all. Twist-outs are hit-or-miss (most­ly miss) so I do braid-outs. Braid-outs–as com­pared to twist-outs–impart a pret­ti­er pat­tern onto my hair, stretch my hair bet­ter and are eas­i­er to detan­gle. They’re my go-to style and a great base for my buns and updos.


A twist out.…can’t do one to save my life. I’ve been nat­ur­al for about 15 mos and EVERY sin­gle one has been an epic fail. I love the way they look, just not on me!


same here! I actu­al­ly think it’s because my stretched hair is at that awk­ward length…I pret­ty much end up spray­ing water all over till it shrinks to a cute fro and then i’m hap­py with it…any twist/curl pat­tern dis­ap­pears at that point. Ah well, I love my shrunk­en fro, it’s how I’m sur­viv­ing through awk­ward length land.


Yep, its always odd to me to hear how many folks are against blowdry­ing. For almost a year, I’ve been doing it once a week and I’ve seen a lot of growth and my hair is still per­fect­ly healthy AND its dyed blonde!

I get it from my mama…she has hair strong enough to lift an ox, LOL.
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My hair is the same exact way! It absolute­ly loves the dry­er. Even though I have been nat­ur­al for the past ten years, most recent­ly, I have been avoid­ing the dry­er like the plague due to infor­ma­tion on youtube and forums. How­ev­er, since I have low poros­i­ty hair, my hair needs heat in order for the cuti­cles to lift and absorb prod­ucts and stay mos­tur­ized. Ever since then I have been using the dry­er at least once a week and my hair has been thriv­ing. I for­got the most impor­tant les­son for nat­ur­al hair: no two hairs are alike.

Twit­ter: @Accesuality

I use to co-wash fre­quent­ly but find that my hair does bet­ter with just a rinse and fin­ger comb or spritz with water. I only wash, con­di­tion, and comb out with comb once a week. So far my hair likes this bet­ter and my curls are more defined and less poof. I love pro­tec­tive styling. My hair doesn’t require shea but­ter or cas­tor oil to seal, I can just use coconut oil and that’s suf­fi­cient. I’ve nev­er tried a Hen­na but I do col­or my hair with tra­di­tion­al hair col­or and find that it loosens my curl but the effect… Read more »