On the hair-typing chart, my hair would be considered type 4. It is thick, dense, and has very coarse strands. My hair also tends to be naturally strong, even when I was relaxed. Up until recently in my hair journey, I used very minimal protective styling. While transitioning, I did several low manipulation styles, such as braidouts, to help blend my relaxed hair with my natural texture. However, as time progressed, I have started incorporating protective styles more often into my regimen.


While my hair journey, until recently, has not focused primarily on protective styles for length retention, I do believe that protective styles can be very beneficial for type 4 hair. Type 4 hair, even if it is coarse and naturally strong, can still be damaged if it isn’t being cared for correctly, or if it is being manipulated or handled too often. I do love that protective styles allow me to give my hair break from ME.

Some of my favorite protective styles are mini twists and twists with Marley hair. Occasionally, I will also do jumbo twists, worn in a ponytail or bun, to help protect my hair when I am not wearing my favorite protective styles. These days, I wear my hair in protective styles about 80% of the time. Because I wear hats for work, I have found that protective styles such as mini/jumbo twists or plaits allow me to easily fit my hair into my scrub hats.


For my personal hair journey, I have found that protective styles have not significantly affected my length retention. I love letting my hair be free and wearing it out/loose, so I find myself wearing my hair out quite often, even while I was transitioning. Throughout my hair journey, I have focused on wearing low manipulation hair styles that I can simply refresh or redo every 2-3 days (e.g. braidouts, twistsouts, etc).


So, while I do believe that protective styles can be very beneficial, I think length retention is more greatly affected by how you handle or care for your hair.

Ladies, can you retain length without protective styles? Why or why not?

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25 Comments on "I’m a Waist-Length 4B/4C Natural, and I Can Retain Length Without Protective Styling"

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Talk about click baiting! SMH


totally not what i expected. i thought the article was about NOT using protective styling to retain length. did i miss something?


I feel like the title of this article was click bait. There are two strikes against this article that make it misleading – firstly the author admittedly has strong thick strands of hair (genetics) and secondly, she wears protective styles 80% of the time. The reader who may have come here for solid advice will surely feel hoodwinked. A person with a natural predisposition for long thick hair shouldn’t get on their soap box and preach to those who don’t have that hair type.


You can say that again…


I agree with the need for vetting. This can actually be used as a mini petition area.

Truth be told, I’d have had no issue at all with this matter had the mention of the recent 80% protective styling been just that – a mention with the main focus being on HOW she maintains her hair without PS. Obvious way without using heat would be low manipulation & it’d be more in line with the title if the content and photos dealt with that more.

Free Tea

I’m in the same boat. This article felt like a humble brag. It’s great that she is able to wear her coarse stranded, kinky hair out and retain length, but how about actually including a detailed regimen for wearing kinky hair out without protective styling?

Death of Hallyu

Everybody can wear their hair out. The author made a huge mistake by not emphasizing moisturizing. With well-moisturized ends you can wear it out as much as you like.


Actually, no, I can’t. I have the desire for my hair to reach certain lengths, and that goal can’t be achieved no matter how moisturized my ends are. Actually, moisturizing the ends of my hair while it’s out makes the knotting and inevitable breakage much worse.

Not everyone can wear their hair out all of the time. If you think otherwise, you probably have a looser curl pattern, and you have no clue how longer kinky hair works.

Tori Stevens

Oh it’s most definitely a humble brag. There’s no other way to look at it. It is what it is; it’s right there in the title. However, the title is indeed contradictory to her statement of wearing her hair on protective styles 80% of the time, as an earlier commenter stated.

I have to ask, is anyone vetting these articles before publishing them? I like about 75% of the content on BGLH and I love the inclusion of other topics relevant to the African-American community, but someone HAS to to start vetting these articles for quality.

Elodie Careme
Let me quote her: “Some of my favorite protective styles are mini twists and twists with Marley hair. Occasionally, I will also do jumbo twists, worn in a ponytail or bun, to help protect my hair when I am not wearing my favorite protective styles. These days, I wear my hair in protective styles about 80% of the time.” Well if she usually wear twists and projective styles about 80% of the time…I don’t really understand the title of the article. Please misses from BGLH be careful…recently you had a tendancy to use (over-use) these kind of very attractive titles… Read more »

Why can’t the French learn English? I seen french, Spanish sites and non consider the English speakers.

Elodie Careme

Among my french speaking friends most of them speak a foreign language (not always fluently but still) either english, spanish,italian, german,arabic,portuguese etc. I lived in english-speaking countries and few of my english speaking friends speak a foreign language as they consider with a lot of arrogance that everybody speak their language. French are certainly more opened to foreign langages than english speakers…


The person above should probably work on their own English before demanding others learn the language!!!

And you are right about us English speakers, we are an arrogant bunch!! Wish I knew my language, will be learning French soon (not my language), as I want to go and do my working hoiday visa there in the next 18 months. Wish me luck!

Elodie Careme

Well luck then! And if you need someone to practise, contact me 🙂


Yeah…you have some great suggestions. And I know I come here for black hair tips, so I don’t want to see social issues here (hopefully they consider their audience before making huge changes to their website). Id prefer they send the social issues to another blog, and those who are interested may go.


I thought it was just me! The content on this blog has really fallen off and it seems to have lost focus. I thought it was about black women’s natural hair but lately there are articles on a variety of black issues. Not that that’s a bad thing–but it’s not the focus of this blog. Perhaps you (owners) should consider an offshoot of the blog that deals with other social issues so as not to confuse readers.

Lilian Grae

You know what else predicts length retention… genetics. Done.

Death of Hallyu

How on earth would genetics prevent the ends of your hair from splitting and breaking off? Please don’t spread such misinformation.


Bc genetics determine the collagen makeup and strength of protein bonds in your hair. Notice many Indian women who don’t do anything special to their hair can cut it short in June and have it to their butt by the time fall rolls around. Genetics has a lot to do with hair durability- more than any hair product or styling technique.


First of all, NOBODY’S hair grows from short to butt-length between June & fall…that’s impossible, I don’t care how “good” one’s genetics are. Secondly, genetics vary on an individual level–not a racial one. Some people’s hair grows crazy fast, others ridiculously slow–and it could be bone-straight or 4z, it don’t matter. So let’s not start on the whole “other races’ hair grows faster thing” (which is what your post implies), because that notion’s been proven false time after time.

Or don’t take hair length personally or buy into the idea that physical attractiveness is dependent on hair length? I’ve seen it with my own eyes. There are people who can grow hair that quickly and I saw a lot of girls growing up cut their hair in June and have long hair at the Homecoming dance in the fall. I’m always floored by the idea of “cutting my hair short for the summer” b/c for me that’s basically a 2-3 year commitment to short hair. Just as there are different genetics for body build, there are genetics for hair.… Read more »

Because the stronger something is the less likely it is to break that is common sense


I can’t because I have fine strands. Even frequent twist outs are a no-no for me so when my hair isn’t in a protective style I just wash and go. I have less breakage now and my hair is at its longest. I won’t lie; I wish my strands are course.

Ugonna Wosu

She didn’t give enough info. Usually, women who retain without protective styling are frequent cowashers. She did mention low manipulation styles, which helps, and she sometimes protective styles.


Have to agree there. Felt like a bit of a non-article. Where’s the helpful info?