7 Natural Hair Practices That Don’t Work for Everybody

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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!

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founding editor of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008), social media and black beauty enthusiast.

 
  • Likewaterforchocolate

    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.

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  • Fiona

    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

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  • http://www.propapristine.tumblr.com Jazmine

    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; it works like gel.
    4. I’m newly fully natural, so I’m weary about dying… not ready for all that extra stuff yet.
    5. I’ve thought about doing this with Henna, but I’m enjoying my two textures… when it gets longer and I see how it falls like at 12inches then I’ll reconsider…
    6. I don’t blowdry, my hair is thin and easily dries out.
    7. The only twisting I do is for my bantu knots and bantu knot outs. Or to flat twist the front for a style.
    8. Water as a moisturizer… only works when I already have stuff in my hair and I don’t want to add more gunk, so I just re-wet what’s already present.
    9. Using Shampoo and Conditioner as is. I water everything down so I can work it through my hair I detangle as I work then through my hair, otherwise I find that I still have as much dandruff as I started with and it just seems like I washed the hair, not the scalp….
    10. Flat-ironing… my hair is too thin. I did it once for a keratin treatment. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again… not until a special occasion.

    Like I said, I just became partially natural in November and fully earlier this month. I’m still learning about my hair, because half of what works on others, doesn’t really work on me.

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  • http://nudebonnie.tumblr.com/ NudeBonnie

    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.

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  • http://www.survivingdating.com Debsterism

    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, and I concentrate just on the ends working a small amount up to the new growth. My hair loves this and is bouncy, smooth and does well.

    Don’t get the whole multi oil concoction thing. Too much work. I use coconut oil (I’ve been using that since I was a child – my grandmother always put it on me and all the grandkids skin and hair), or shea butter, or sometimes I blend them both together in the blender and make a butter. Then I put in my mini-twists and call it a day for 2 weeks or so.

    Shrug.
    [img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/debwithtwistsdb.jpg[/img]

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  • quelita

    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 cowash, then moisturize with a little bit of leave in condish, add some tea tree oil (for my scalp), and then saturate my hair with the olive oil brand wrap/set mousse. Afterwards I let it airdry and voila…that stuff is the only stuff I found that holds my natural curl pattern without leaving and weird residue or that gel hardness that you can get from other products.

    So yea, I’m not sure if that stuff is technically good for my hair but…it works wonders for me.

    Once every two weeks I deep condish my hair with a mixture of olive oil, sea butter and conditioner. In general I only cowash my hair twice a week or so (more in the summer than the winter), and I only use shampoo if I’m trying to get products out of my hair.

    Oh yea, and protective styles are HORRIBLE for me. I suffer from severe itchy scalp (only when my hair is braided, never otherwise) and no matter what I do, use (or don’t use), my scalp itches like crazy with any type of braided style. I used to have locks for seven years…ever since I took them out my hair cannot withstand any type of braided style… go figure.

    even in the braids in this picture were itchy..and it was done with no product..and it was only a fauxhawk
    [img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Img_00438.jpeg[/img]

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  • http://perfectomy.wordpress.com Roxy

    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.

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  • Mo

    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!

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  • http://www.youtube.com/chamarieq Charlotte

    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 consistent result. So I do braid out’s, always, and while my hair can do heavy oils/butters, what I have found is I can use this stuff when I am wearing protective buns, which my hair does need, but when I wear my hair out I use light leave-in’s because my hair is so long it can easily look greasy and flat. So being it is long and dry it does benefit from heavy products, but I tend to wear them on my daily grind and do protective buns and stuff, and then when I wear my hair down or in a loose style I can afford to go with much less on it, especially since I use grapeseed oil, which is awesome as a protectant for high volume hair. Twist out’s can work on my hair when it’s dry, but not at all when wet. One thing I refuse to believe protects my hair is a pineapple. For protection at night I wear braids or bun. My hair is so long my ends would move around too much and I could wake up to a mess with a pineapple. My hair would be better off left down, but of course I would not do that either. I am a tad bit skeptical about deep conditioning too. I put heavy oils on my hair the night before washing but no matter what I have to dust my hair on a regular schedule to keep it healthy.

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  • Ellie

    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.

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  • tangie

    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.
    [img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CAM01491.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CAM01495.jpg[/img]

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