Do you remember back in the 1990s when it was en vogue for young women to wear over-sized male clothing? Popular singing group, TLC managed to do so while appearing crazy, sexy and cool. Some of us (points to myself) didn’t do such a great job imitating the look i.e. wearing our mothers tapered legs jeans (yes, mom jeans) and our father’s discarded Charter Club work shirts. Not everything is for everybody, and when it comes to hair, this nuance couldn’t be more true.

One thing that I’ve learned over the course of my hair journey is the fact that no one (not even the vloggers with lusciously thick, long hair) has “perfect” hair. Some styles and methods simply don’t work and I want to encourage those of you who may be in the early stages of your hair journey. Even when you have waist length coils and curls like I do, your hair still may not “act right” and that’s just fine.

Roller sets

6th Annual ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon

When I had relaxed hair I wore roller sets countless times, so I thought I would have no problem wearing this style once my hair was natural. In general, roller sets are preferable to direct heat methods, such as flat irons or blow drying because you place less heat stress on your hair. Therefore, I was  pretty disappointed when I realized that after over an hour of roller setting my natural hair then 2 hours of drying, my hair looked like the aftermath of completing a Taebo workout in a wind storm. Some sections were straight, some curled, while some of my hair managed to remain in tight coils. I would love the Joan-from-Girlfriends bouncy and full roller set, but alas it doesn’t work for me. If I want to achieve that look I have blow dry my hair, then roller set, which essentially defeats the purpose of avoiding direct heat.

Wash n’Gos

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There was a time when I would simply say this style didn’t work for my hair because of the nature of my hair texture. However, two years ago, I sampled a product that allowed me to achieve a pretty decent wash n’go. The problem was that in order to subdue my thick hair into coils and curls I had to painstakingly apply the thick product to every section of my hair. To me, if a wash n’ go requires an hour just to apply the product, then another 30 minutes to diffuse the hair, the purpose of the style is lost. Moreover, my hair was so coated with product that I knew that after a day or two my hair would be dry and brittle and require a thorough cleanse so that my hair could be properly moisturized.  Just because I can achieve a style doesn’t mean it necessarily works for my hair. If the health of my hair is compromised in the process of styling, then ultimately the style is a hair fail.

Twist Outs

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I have a love-hate relationship with twist outs. On the rare occasion when I wear mini twists (it takes about 12 hours to twist my hair), I absolutely LOVE the resulting twist out that I have after a few weeks. The traditional twist out, usually styled with 20-40 twists, on the other hand, has never lived up to its hype for me. While my braid outs are defined, my twist outs often seem frizzy and last for only a few hours. Recently, however, I decided to wear what I felt was a rather failed attempt at a twist out because I wasn’t in the mood to care. To my great surprise a few women complimented my hair. So perhaps, there are a few healthy styling hair fails that are only viewed as unsuccessful because they don’t meet my high standards. That’s probably the same for you.

What are some healthy styling methods that do not work for your hair?

Gen

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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48 Comments on "3 Popular Natural Hair Styles That Don’t Work For Me"

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Tanya B

None of these work for me yet. I am newly natural and going through the trials of finding products and regimes that work for my hair. I think I’m a 4a/4b in the crown.

darlarosa
It seems like every single natural hair style I try is a no go. The only half decent style has been an afro an now my hair is too long for it. Furthermore because my hair grows out, but not down I can’t just comb it down. At this point I don’t know what to do other than to spend $190-275 every three months to get it braided, which is unsustainable and economically stupid. I can VERY occasionally get some even curl definition, but Most times it ends up frizzy. I can’t use many products because I get build up… Read more »
Hansy

I haven’t tried to roller set my hair. But I can’t do wash and gos or twist outs. My hair looks the best after a braid out and I stuck with that. Sometimes I pull it up in a pony tail but I prefer to wear my hair out most of the time.

Alysha

I love the different variations of natural hairstyles! Trying them all out is a must.
For those who want to check out some thoughts about black women and the battle between natural vs. straight, read, comment and share my blog. Here’s the link: http://thinkbiggthoughts.wordpress.com/

Enjoy!!

Adeola @ TheManeCaptain

“out” styles rarely work for me too. This is why I’ve come to perfect my flat twists and updo skills. Though I recently noticed that rope twists gives more definition.
http://www.themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

Nicole

I don’t like wash n go’s. I dislike using a lot of gel on my hair and I don’t like that my hair is usually crunchy and hard. I stay away from them besides I feel that my twist outs look just as good as a wash n go!

CherishBomb

Roller sets and wash-n-gos. The last time I did a wash-n-go, it didnt look anything like it used to when I did them all the time. maybe I just need a good clarifying wash to remove residual product that may be sticking around. My roller sets never turn out like the ones I see on YouTube. they still have a significant amount of kink to them and are never smooth and bouncy.

Tyler

Wash and goes never last for me, so they’ve become a no-go.

Tyler
onelittleblackdress.com

Charity

Me and my hair don’t like bantu-knot outs, wash and go’s, straw sets, and un-stretched fros. The tangles, damage, breakage, and heartache aren’t worth it for me. I have 4c type too, but I can do rollers sets and twist outs with good results if I use the right products.

mary

None so far for me. I have fine, half 4c, some 4a and some a mixture of 4b/c with a few straight and a few wavy strands. I always end up picking it out into a fro as the 4c sections refuse to look anything like the rest. Regardless of my braiding, twisting, etc.

StilettoDivah

Here, here. Though I love Wash n Gos, rollersets and twist outs do not work for me. My hair works better in braid outs.

Monisola

none of these styles work for my hair. I have medium fine hair in a medium fine density that is 4c. nothing gives my hair definition that lasts more than a day except for mini braid outs done with a creamy product (but no glycerin) and left in for 10+ days. Fine hair is easily frizzed, and 4c hair doesn’t like to take a curl pattern. I kinda just gave up on defined hair all together really.

Tabatha

I’m still working on my twist outs and my wash and goes are kind of a no go cause I have to dry it. My hair will stay wet until the evening. I haven’t done a roller set since I was little.

So what does work for you?

Truth Hurts

Hair that never drys could be from the use of too many products or too much of one product.

Dananana

It could be, but my hair has a hard time drying quickly, and I rarely use more than water and oil. Everyone’s different.

Truth Hurts

Im surprised at the number of naturalistas who cant wear/do twist or braid outs! I guess because I have it down pack I thought everyone else did or I just never thought about it.
I think the reason they work for me is because as soon as product or water hits my hair it forms an “S” pattern and twist/braids only preserves the look.
What doesnt work for me is wash no go…too much shrinkage!

Brittany.L

Roller sets omg lol I can’t do that thing for nothing but this post actually inspired me to try it out again & wash n go’s I just haven’t mastered it.

Check Out http://www.curlskinksfashion.con
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Jamie Freedman
A lot of styles require manipulation to work for my 4c. I tend not to use a comb regularly but have started to since roller setting. Following NaturalHairnSkincare’s method, I’ve managed to achieve good roller sets but it is time consuming and puts more stress on the hair than a twist set. If i do not style on detangled stretched hair, I cannot achieve these styles. Braid outs and twist outs have never looked nice. I think I would also need some kind of setting styler and a bit more hair length to make them look good. Roller sets just… Read more »
lablooplah

defintion is a waste of time for me. I do braid outs, as in that’s what i’ll do to stretch my hair before i wear an “afro” because i dont have defintion and i dont care about definition. It’s kind of funny the old generation things twist outs, braid outs, look like uncombed hair, while our generation is all about defintion. shows you the arbitrariness of it all.

Lynn

Your last sentence is so true and interesting. When I do a twist out or braid out and it comes out defined, which rarely happens, my mother says it looks uncombed. But when I pick it out and wear an “afro” she is all for it.

Honeybrown1976

I have not tried the wash ‘n go hairstyle because I can tell you my shrinkage is real and while my texture is 3c/4a, it’ll frizz up in a minute. I’m not risking the time and energy for a big mess! Also, braid outs can work for me. But, there are not as defined for me as twist outs. So, once again, the time and effort isn’t worth it.

Adina

Lol, that is not a flattering pic of Tracee.
But I digress.
I can relate, braidouts and twistouts never seem to work for me no matter how hard I try. I finally had to give up on them.
Bantu knots are my best friend.

Roberta

I can not not not do braid outs! They tangle my hair really horribly at the root for some reason. I love the bit of stretch they give me vs. twist outs but Lord almighty, the amount of extra detangling necessary on wash day is not worth it.

Pat

Twist outs and braid outs aren’t for me.These styles make my hair almost straight and the twists always unravel. That’s not the look that I’m going for.

Sheilah
After rockin’ Locs for 20+ years, I decided to cut my Locs but remain natural. While I don’t regret my decision, I must say that I’ve come to realize that natural for me simply means no relaxer. Unless I decide to wear a TWA, I will spend the next 20+ years manipulating my hair so that it represents who I am personally and professionally. I love when people say, my hair must be so easy to take care of. LOCS were easy to take care. There is nothing “natural” about my hair when it takes 4-5 hours a week for… Read more »
Jojo Satoes

Girl!!!!!!!!!!! I had locs too for 10 years and that’s my lifetime regret, cutting them for loose natural hair in 2012. Just went through my 2nd big chop and think I’ll grow a short fro like Destiny Godley’s current style and call it a day! I hate protective styling so I just got to keep a fro n don’t exceed 3-4 inches 🙂

anastasia

Isn’t Destiny Godley simply THE cat’s meow?!! Just beautiful, inside and out!

Nappy 4C Rocks

I still can’t style my hair:( twists or mini-twists is all I can do

anastasia

I’m sure your twist/mini-twists look fabulous!

TBQH, I’ve tried various styles, but given my active lifestyle and multiple textures, 99% of the time I’m in a bun composed of twists b/c minimal manipulation works best for me. There’s nothing wrong w/ twists and mini twists if they are working for you. I’m a 4abc lady too btw.

Dananana
Honestly, I’ve found that lately styling my hair is more about maintenance than aesthetic. My hair does the “shrink in several stages” thing that April said upthread. Because one of my hair goals is length retention, I have to keep it stretched most time to avoid nightmarish knots. That makes wash and go’s a once a blue moon thing for me. My hair takes a lonnnng time to fully dry if it’s wet and then compacted. Bantu knots? Only if I have a day for them to set. Braids? Sure, if I want wet hair for 2 days (I don’t).… Read more »
silkynaps
Some styles come naturally for some hair types. Some styles require a certain technique or product. I think any hair style is possible on any type of hair…if you’re willing to do the work. I think hair style success can be achieved by 90% technique, 5% product, 5% hair type. I’ve used magnetic rollers to achieve everything from curly afro’s to straight hair on both relaxed and virgin hair. Now, if you don’t love the way your hair looks as it grows out of your scalp, I don’t see how you can achieve a true wash & go…but if you’re… Read more »
Tabatha

Well wash and goes are a no! I’ve tried so many ways and so many products and because my hair holds water like no other, it doesn’t dry fast enough and my hair shrinks too much if I do a “Wash and go” its not really one because I use my blow dryer with my diffuser. I take it with me to work because I have to be on the road by a particular time or its bumper to bumper, so I get to work early and then I blow dry my hair.

silkynaps
Wash & go is the terminology for wearing our hair in its natural state. Coily, zig-zaggy, afro…whatever natural state you have. There’s no law against using a blow dryer. I alternate wash & go’s with a wash & puff. Either way, I blow dry my hair on a cool setting until it’s, at least, 85% dry because I am not the one to be walking around with soggy hair. My hair can be unpredictable, but the blow dryer allows me to determine how it will fall. Not only that, but it also prevents ssk’s that accompany uncontrolled shrinkage. Hope that… Read more »
Deedeemaha
I agreed Silk. When I went on YouTube it was to learn the technique, and product. When I did the style I accepted the way my hair came out, not compared to the you tuber. Sometimes I found that another product worked better. I have great twist outs “for my hair type”. I don’t compare, or judge a person twist out success against mine as if it’s the “master print”. I love natural hair so much I think I see the best in everyone’s hair. It’s like natural hair can do no wrong to me. For example: I was in… Read more »
LBell
THANK YOU! I completely agree with both you and silkynaps. Technically all of the styles that Geniece says don’t “work” for her do work for me because I’ve found ways to make them work that are realistic for my particular hair texture and whatever length it is at a given time. The way they come out, also, is realistic for my particular hair texture and length. Using Jess, aka MahoganyCurls, as an example (because people know who she is and her hair texture is drastically different from mine): I could get my hair to *look* like hers does in its… Read more »
April
I can’t do braid outs because I can never get any good definition, plus another major reason is the reason for why I can’t do twistouts, my hair goes through multiple stages of shrinking. If I twist on wet hair, my hair is going to shrink as it dries, then it’s going to shrink after one night of being in twists. Then, it’s going to shrink once I undo my twists for a twist out. All of my “out” styles shrink and continue to shrink as long as my hair is left out. Wash and gos are a no-no for… Read more »
April

When I’ve done roller sets my hair didn’t shrink because my hair was curled and tight.

tonia

I just KNEW I was going to rock twists when I was transitioning. I love the look on others but its not the business for me!

cacey
oh that’s absolutely bantu knot-outs for me. my hair just will not come out right when i attempt this style, so i’ve closed the door on that particular chapter. i used to say WNGs didn’t work for me but i figured out how to do them correctly. i agree, if it’s taking upwards of an hour to do a WNG, the point of the style is a lil lost. lately i’ve been doing twisouts because they give me predictable results. 🙂 and my hair comes out looking the same as if i WNG’d it anyway after i fluff it out.… Read more »
Elle
Good article! Even as a child I disliked my hair heat straightened, blown out. It always looked forced. Like a stiffer, ironed-out, kinky-straight imitation of the naturally straight hair I’d never have. I like looking authentic and effortless, even when I put a lot of time into it, Lol! One point: ‘in order to SUBDUE my thick hair into coils and curls I had to painstakingly apply the thick product to every section of my hair’ I thought a wash-and-go was your NATURAL hair fresh out of the shower – whatever it looked like. Coils, curls, kinks, wurls, straight strands,… Read more »
anastasia

LOL @ Elle!! “Coils, curls, kinks, wurls, straight strands, right angles, jagged edges, broken strands, whatever” And I’ve got all of them! =)

Yes-complete acceptance IS the only key to open doors of satisfaction.

Heather

So much truth to this. It’s nice to know it’s someone out there this sharp

Scootova

“Styles that don’t work for you?” Who cares?

anastasia

Greetings Scootova (cute screen name btw),

You must be new here, welcome. This site creates a safe, nurturing, and educational environment for those with naturally highly textured hair. I’m certain you will find it doesn’t hurt to enter with that ‘spirit’ in mind. In fact, you may just pick up a few helpful tidbits along the way which will no doubt catapult your hair journey to new heights.

silkynaps

I thought it was refreshing that the focus was on the writer and what does or doesn’t work for her hair. The most practical approach is to describe your experience and if someone relates great, if not…then it’s just for informational purposes only. Unless the blogger is a hair stylist with extensive experience, it’s impossible to provide realistic solutions to naturals with different hair types.

wow

The article is not necessarily about her. It’s to show that everything does not always work for everyone which can open a discussion among the readers who can also relate to this. This way, viewers can share their ideas and tips to successfully achieve these hair styles or share new hair styles ideas since these may not work. It is a hair site so when their is any topic concerning hair, there is always someone else who cares. You don’t have to like every article but was that comment necessary?

JustJoy98

I have 3b-c, 4a hair so I thought WNG would be my beau, however at this point in my hair journey (TWA)I’m gonna say no. What I don’t like is wet hair, and hard hair. I ride and die for my TOs. Lol.

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