When grow­ing out nat­u­ral hair it can some­times feel like you have to make a choice between style and hair health. If you have tight­ly coiled hair you have like­ly heard pro­tec­tive styling is a must, dai­ly manip­u­la­tion a “no-no” and hair acces­sories must be nat­u­ral hair friend­ly lest they rip out your curls and coils. This infor­ma­tion is what I gleaned from my perusal of vlogs and forums years ago and because I was tired of see­ing no pro­gress in my hair I had no prob­lem fol­low­ing a strict set of rules. At this point in my hair jour­ney I appre­ci­ate the frus­tra­tion that some express when dis­cussing the con­fines of nat­u­ral hair. I’m here to tell you that there are ways to mod­i­fy the rules while keep­ing your hair intact. I’ll start with what I con­sid­er to be safe “out” styles. The­se are styles that are not pinned up or tucked away. You can frame your face with­out los­ing your inch­es.

First things first: The key to deter­min­ing if your style won’t set you back in your hair jour­ney is ask­ing your­self the fol­low­ing ques­tions: Do I need to comb, brush or manip­u­late my hair every­day to main­tain the style? Will I need to use prod­ucts that strip my hair of mois­ture to accom­plish the style? If so, do I plan to wear this style for an extend­ed peri­od of time? Does this style lead to exces­sive knots or tan­gling?

Once you’ve answered the­se ques­tions based on YOUR hair, you can then decide if the hair­style is right for you.

Style Options #1: Braid Outs/ Twist Outs


Style Icon Geri
Okay, so I know you’re think­ing “Duh, of course every nat­u­ral knows braid outs and twist outs are the go to “out” hair styles.  I want to focus on how you main­tain the style rather than cre­at­ing the style. I have found that the way you care for the style can mean the dif­fer­ence between stretched, boun­cy hair or  knots galore by the end of the week. When wear­ing either style (I per­son­al­ly wear braid out more often than twist outs) it is impor­tant to think of ways to min­i­mize dai­ly manip­u­la­tion.  For me this means that in the evening I take about six sec­tions of my braid out (usu­al­ly cre­at­ed with 15 braids) and band them with elas­tic hair bands or  strips of sat­in fab­ric. I don’t re-braid the hair, rather I band the entire sec­tion so I end up with six band­ed pony tails. To keep the hair in the front of my hair look­ing fresh I may braid two small sec­tions in the front. The great thing about this tech­nique is that I can apply a lit­tle bit of a creamy mois­tur­iz­er before band­ing  with­out wak­ing up with frizzy hair.

Style Option #2: Ban­tu Knot Out


Style Icon Kim­ber­ly
Again, depend­ing on the tech­nique and main­te­nance of this style it can be a “safe” out style or one that leads to tan­gles. If you want the style to last through the work week I rec­om­mend  medi­um and small sec­tions.  At night you can put your hair in a high loose pony­tail which will stretch the style a bit with­out ruin­ing the waves and curls. In the morn­ing you will want to make sure you apply a light oil to the ends to lim­it knots.  When the hair needs refresh­ing you can place it into large knots (basi­cal­ly buns) while place 3 or 4 small­er ban­tu knots in the front. The point is you want to avoid hav­ing to restyle your hair every night and when you do, you want to manip­u­late the hair min­i­mal­ly.

Style Option #3: Stretched Fro

TASHair 0067

Style Icon Cas­san­dre
In order to accom­plish a volu­mi­nous jaw drop­ping fro many rely on the aid of a blow dry­er. This isn’t nec­es­sary to accom­plish this icon­ic style. When you wash your hair you want to detan­gle hair in sec­tions, then band the hair to stretch it. In order to min­i­mize knots you will have to exer­cise restraint and resist the urge to con­stant­ly fluff, twirl and caress your fro through­out the day. If you can leave your hand out of your hair and remem­ber to re-band your hair in large sec­tions each night then wear­ing a fro won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly lead to a set­back.

Hope the­se tips were help­ful.

What “out” hair­styles do you wear and how do you keep your hair from tan­gling?


Island girl raised in the most roy­al of NYC’s bor­oughs. Proud nerd, social sci­en­tist, edu­ca­tor and recov­er­ing awk­ward black girl. When not lis­ten­ing to NPR, try­ing to grow spir­i­tu­al­ly, or detan­gling my fro, I’m search­ing for the best shrimp and grits in the Queen City.

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50 Comments on "3 Styles That Show Off Your Hair’s Length Without Ruining Your Progress"

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Oh I for­got to say that I can­not stretch my hair right now at least because my hair for some rea­son is expe­ri­enc­ing break­age. It start­ed back with an itchy scalp in the win­ter, then I start­ed doing a lot of comb­ing, brush­ing and braid­ing, and try­ing to go high vol­ume and pro­duct free. All big mis­takes. Now I am in trou­ble.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly there is not real­ly an out style for me at this time that shows off how long my hair is. In fact it actu­al­ly makes it look like I cut my hair because my go to out style is a high pony tail. I have hip length hair and so when I put my hair in a high pony I have so much hair that it makes me look like I have short­er, much big­ger, fuller hair. The advan­tage though is that it does not tan­gle and it does not get smashed by my kids, plus it’s rel­a­tive­ly out… Read more »

Please post a link to your video :)