While much of what’s needed to do to retain length is about how you handle and care for your hair, styling is a big factor as well. The three length retention hairstyles shared below are suggested for those with fine natural hair. That’s because our hair is fragile and with a fragile hair type, it must be about low manipulation and protective styling.
Low manipulation styles and protective hairstyles that promote healthy hair and help prevent hair breakage are the types of styles to focus on. That is if you want to grow long hair. Longer hair requires a commitment to a specific type of care but it’s actually easier than you may imagine.
The Best Way to Achieve Hair Growth With Styling
From the inception of my natural hair journey as a fine hair natural, I’ve discovered quite a bit as it relates to styling. I’ve tried many different hairstyles over the year. These include:
- Bantu knots / bantu knot outs
- a number of curling rod sets
- Box braids (in varying sizes)
- Mini twists
- Flat twists
- Twist outs
- Braid outs
- Updo protective styles
All of these hairstyles are great. Some require a little more manipulation than is good for fine hair. Also, while some of these styles are protective and some are low manipulation, they lend themselves to doing a lot for your hair.
To achieve hair growth on fine curly hair, the final conclusion is based on these key points:
- The best protective styles are those that not only protect the ends of your hair but also aren’t left in you hair for too long.
- Protective styling isn’t the only way to style your hair to retain length (as you’ll soon discover below)
- Minimal handling is a great way to prevent excess wear & tear and premature split ends
- The hair typing system is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if you have 3 A or 4 C Hair.
The 3 Length Retention Hairstyles
I embarked upon a journey to increase my hair length over a 3 month period. I used my own hair and no added hair was used.
Each of these styles take into consideration all that’s needed to increase the length of your hair.
While the stretched style is the only style that manipulates your hair texture, each of these are length retention hairstyles in their own right.
They require low manipulation to do and you don’t have to re-do your hair daily.
The ponytail style can last for 3-4 days before you have to redo it if you tie it down and sleep on a satin pillowcase. Silk pillowcases are the better option for healthier hair but both will protect the style from frizzing.
Here’s the variation between twists and braids in the ponytail. Obviously, braids give a bit more hang time while twists give a fuller look.
Find more ponytail styles here: 50 Easy Natural Ponytail Hairstyles
Stretched Twist/Braid Out
The stretched twists/twist out (alternative braid/braid out) is a cycle hairstyle. It’s not a protective style but it still helps with length retention because you aren’t overly-manipulating your hair.
In this video, I demonstrate how I set my hair in stretched twists. It’s my favorite length retention style of the three:
The braids/braid out style is done on freshly washed hair but does stretch the hair out some. I much rather do this on blown out hair but when you want to take a break from the blow dryer, this works.
Here’s a video demonstrating how I do this style:
Side bar: The blow dryer I use to blow my hair out and stretch it out without any breakage or damage is the RevAir. Here’s my stretching routine using the RevAir.
You’ll see why I think this is the best hair dryer for black natural hair. I also highly recommend it for fine hair.
These Aren’t Great Length Retention Hairstyles
There are other hairstyles that people do to grow their hair but if you have fine hair, the best thing to do is pass these by:
- Styles using hair extensions
- Crochet braids
- Faux locs
The reason these styles aren’t recommended for fine hair is they require the addition of hair that’s not your own. Any hair that has to be added to your hair puts your own hair at risk of drying out. There’s also the friction that takes place against your hair shaft from the fake hair.
Lastly, while stretching your hair is a good practice to reduce tangling and knots, you don’t want to use heat to do it. The exception is a warm blow dryer and even that you don’t want to use too often.
So, avoid flat irons that will negatively affect the integrity of your hair.
Products I Use to Care For My Hair – Before and During the Style
Before setting any style, you want to make sure you adequately prep your hair for the week. This includes using the right hair products.
These are the “right” types of products for my fine natural hair:
- Amla powder
- Coconut Oil
- Herbal Shampoo
- Moisturizing Deep Conditioner
- Protein Treatment
- Detangling Conditioner
- Leave in Conditioner
- Hair Strengthening Oil
- Herbal Hair Growth Oil
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil
- Alcohol free Gel
- Edge Control
Wash day is the time when you give your hair the moisture and conditioning it needs to make it throughout the week.
How to Use The Products
On wash day, I start out with doing a pre-poo with coconut oil or Amla. This helps to prevent hair loss and promotes moisture retention.
After about an hour I move on to shampooing with one of the best sulfate-free shampoos of all time – Ominira Naturals Herbal Infusion Hair Growth Shampoo. This shampoo stimulates blood flow in the scalp and supports the hair follicles for a healthy scalp.
After shampooing and thoroughly rinsing my hair, I move on to detangling using the 90-10 detangling method. I use the Tangle Slayer from Ominira Naturals which helps me to detangle my hair with the least amount of effort and fast too.
After rinsing out the Tangle Slayer, I then work my deep conditioner throughout my hair, put on a plastic cap and heating cap. it’s important to use heat so that the hair shaft can receive all the moisture and nutrients from the deep conditioner.
30 minutes is typically sufficient for deep conditioning but up to an hour is fine. After that, your hair doesn’t receive much more benefit from the deep conditioner.
all products from Ominira Naturals here: www.ominiranaturals.com
The final step before styling is to seal the moisture into my hair by first applying my leave in conditioner. Then, sealing with the hair strengthening oil.
If leaving in braids set on damp hair, I will use a small amount of gel and Jamaican Black Castor Oil to my ends. This helps keep them smooth and sealed.
If I’m blowing my hair out, I will only use my leave in conditioner before blowing it out. After my hair is blown out, I’ll use an oil. The reason is the oil can damage the RevAir.
Lastly, for the ponytail style I will work the leave in conditioner and oil throughout my towel dried hair, followed by the hair strengthening oil. Gel is only applied to the perimeter of my hair to smooth the hair in the crown section.
When doing a longer term (3 weeks tops) protective style, I will give myself a protein treatment.
Tips for Maintaining the Styles
Length retention styles don’t require nearly as much maintenance as other hairstyles. You just need to keep your hair moisturized and as tangle free as possible.
Here are some additional tips to help you maintain each of the 3 styles:
- Always do a mid-week refresh even if your hair doesn’t look like it needs it
- When using moisturizer (water) on your stretched hair, use a continuous sprayer to spritz your hands and then smooth onto your hair
- Regularly smooth the Jamaican Black Castor Oil on the ends of your twists or braids
- Massage your scalp with a hair growth oil several times a week. If you are looking to retain length with a length retention style, you want to make sure your hair is growing in healthily from the scalp.
- Trim any knots that may form. This should be non-existent if you’re keeping your hair fully stretched.
- If you are hormonal hot flashing then don’t worry about tying your entire head of hair down with a scarf. Just tie your edges down and sleep on your silk or satin pillowcase.
- If you get too.much stretch, you can add a little texture back to your hair by putting it in a few large bantu knots (6-8). This works really well at stretching the braid/braid out cycle hairstyle that’s set on damp hair.
Why These Length Retention Styles Work Best
While you may discover myriad of other length retention hairstyles shared on other websites, there’s a difference in what they share and what is shared here. The styles shared above are kind to fine, fragile hair.
You won’t have to worry about the intricacies of styles requiring the installation of braids or added hair. Those styles are much too complicated for fine natural hair. They require too much tugging and pulling to set those styles and cause too much trauma to fine strands.
Stick to rotating the three hairstyles shared above and you’ll be able to retain length much easier than you would with the more complicated styles. Those styles may be more interesting but the stress you have to put your hair through to install and take down the styles, isn’t worth it.
The excess manipulation of the take down alone will impact all the hair you actually grew. If you want longer hair, you want to do styles that are first off, easy to do and second off.
My 3 Month Results
To wrap this all up, I think it’s important for you to see the results of me actually doing these length retention hairstyles. In this video I share the results of following the hair regimen of my friend Janet Davies, on Youtube.
Janet is the one who introduced me to each of these three hairstyles.
Check the video out to see my progress and an unofficial length check:
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