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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Bantu knots are the ONLY style, other than the wash n go, that work for me! The curls come out so perfect! But my twist outs n braid outs make me so freaking mad b/c I put all that effort and the next morning…. NOTHING. Just a mess that can only be fixed with a quick wash n go. I am currently transitioning and I have to say, my natural curl pattern is really nice. My relaxed ends are a handful but I deal. Going full blown in March tho, I need more length before I can just chop away.
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Usually when I twist my hair, it coils up. It’s kind of cute actually so I don’t mind.

Wash & Go’s? No. I’ve not even yearned to do try that. My sister was so obsessed (stalking wash & go individuals – 4a-4c hair), it was half sad because she’s in some other major denial phase.

Wash and go’s, of they were the only way to do my hair, I would have to go short. I cannot get wash and go’s to work consistently on my long hair. The only way they come close to working is if I plop for a long time, and even then my hair gets this frizzy, messy, disorganization to it. It’s not something other ppl notice, but I need organization in my hair, control over my tangles, and frizz. I don’t have a lot of time to do my hair, so the time I spend needs to guarantee me a… Read more »
I am SO glad to have read this article! I finally accepted that wash n go’s DO NOT WORK FOR ME!!!! I finally realized this after over 12 years of denial – thinking why this style didn’t work for me. I tried twisting and pineappling my wash n go’s and forget it – no 2nd day hair for me. Plus, I have thin hair that gets scalpy when I do twists. Plus, I have a hard time keeping braids because my head itches badly. I’m learning what’s good for Sally isn’t always good for me!

I can’t do Bantu Knots. I have tried many times and it doesn’t give me a define curl like other people who do bantu knots. Bantu Knots give my hair a wavy mess. I have tried doing it wet and on dry hair and the results is my hair tangles up on itself and then I have to just pin it up. Other people who do Bantu knots there curls look soft and fall to the side. My hair is too densely populated to do bantu knots.

Lately the only thing that works for me is wash and gos. Twist outs look horrible on me. I’ve tried them so many different ways but they always look scalpy and in general I think my hair is too short and my head too big for them. Also, I like my natural curl pattern after I was my hair better than the clumpy wavy curl pattern I get from a twist out. My natural curl pattern is a lot more defined. So, I don’t know if this stuff is good for hair or not, but lately all I do is… Read more »
I cannot use castor oil. OMG what is that? I don’t do protective styles either. My hair never stays in them and I look like a fool in short order. My hair is not damaged and responses well to low manipulation styles like twists, twist-outs, braid-outs, french twists with the front out, etc. No co-washing. Talk about head itching and build-up on my hair. Yuck. I love Giovanni or Knot Today leave in conditioners after shampoo that I seal in with shea butter. The difference is I kinda liquify the shea butter so I control how much I use better,… Read more »

Protective styling is not for me even though I have fine 3b hair. I really don’t get the concept of protective styling. I think my hair is better off without it.

Wash and Sets- I used to be hooked to going to the hair salon and getting my hair bone straight. Then I noticed that whenever I wanted to wear my hair curly it would take a couple of days to a week to get my curl pattern back (due to heat damage). I also noticed that when I straightened my hair myself I did not have this problem.

1. Wash and Go’s don’t work, Tangling 2. Protective styling with braids… depends, box braids murder my front edges and if done too frequently murders all my hair. If there’s no hair added and I take extra care to wear my scarf/bonnet every night, I’m good, but if done too frequently my scalp becomes tender. 3. I just learned today that heavy butters and oils are a no. Although I love the little coils and tiny ringlets I get when I use Shea Moisture’s Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Souffle. If I use that then I can’t use anything else;… Read more »
Well I am glad I have read this article, I find that Shea butter and Castor oil is a no no, even though most people recommend this for my hair texture. I know both of these products just sit in my hair and do not moisturise. I have dense but fine hair Wash and goes it another, one, I tend to just cowash twice a week and oil my scalp with coconut oil and use a gel like product (Curls unleashed- Curl boosting jelly ) to moisturise my hair, seem to be working for now I am @ twa stage

Twists as a functional hairstyle is NOT for me. I have fine hair and it lways looks scalpy. They work however as protective styling underneath wigs and to keep tangles at bay. If I tried to wear it as a style, I look like a 1st grader.