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 »
Sonya

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.

Jenn

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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Sue

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.

Tyler

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

Amelia
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 »
Natalie

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.

Zenith
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 »
Adwoa

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

Auset

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.

bluethenaturalmami

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!”

mangomadness

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.

mangomadness

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.

Lisa

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!

df

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.

Shannon

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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Accesuality

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

Jamila
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 »
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