For the last several years, I've worn my hair in a bun pretty much daily. Part of the reason was due to my workplace environment, the other had to do with a bit of laziness. At first I was so sure that I'd gain all this length from constantly wearing my hair in a protective style, but years later, I'm saddened by the fact that my length retention has been less than optimal.
Part of it is my fault. As I mentioned in my bunning fail post, I did a lot of things wrong. Looking, back, I honestly believe that my hair would have retained much more if I wore daily braid or twist outs. I know this sounds counterintuitive but after reading some comments online from people who've retained successfully by using twist/braid outs, I believe this method of length retention could be more effective than bunning.
Let me start off by sharing my disclaimer that no method on its own is better than the other. But, some methods of protective styling may work better for YOU than another. I'm almost positive that braidouts/twistouts would work gloriously for me. Let me explain why.
Whenever I do a braid out, I always hyper moisturize my hair because I know there's heavy manipulation involved. We already discussed how moisturizing hair while it's braided could mean a more even coverage so every strand receives the benefits. When I bunned, I focused mainly on the hair that is visible. Sections of hair went neglected. As a result, I have areas that aren't as healthy as rest. This has been an ongoing issue ever since daily bunning became a practice. When I mist my braid, I run my hands down the length to evenly distribute the moisture.
#2. Better Manipulation
Yes, you can argue that braids/twist require more manipulation than bunning. And I'd agree with you to some extent. But, I would respond by saying that the manipulation is better. Here's what I mean. Braidouts, for the most part, don't require a comb. So the manipulation is less harmful. When I rebraid/retwist my hair, I can finger detangle. This means less tangles come wash day. Which could result in less breakage. Even though I'm handling my hair more often, I still could be losing less hair in the long run. Also, I noticed that when I would take down my bun, I'd have some breakage. But when I take down my braid, I don't experience the same outcome. I contribute that to the extra moisturizing which protects my hair from the manipulation.
#3. Improved Growth?
Call me crazy but I believe that our hair grows better when it isn't constricted on a daily basis. I was first introduced to this concept during my phone consultation following my hair analysis. Then I decided to put the theory to the test while on an extended vacation. I swore off a bun for weeks, wearing my hair down on a daily basis. I'm 95% sure that my new growth came in faster than usual. I'm keeping in mind that I probably did extra things like drink smoothies and such but I feel like my hair benefited from not having as much tension as usual.
#4. Those who do it retain like crazy
Don't take my word for it. Take a look at the hair journeys of those who mainly wear twist/braid outs. Naturals who are religious with their twist outs enjoy mad length retention. It's a joy to watch. Heck, even our resident hip length relaxed haired inspiration (Hair Roots) relies on braid outs as part of her daily routine. There's lots of proof out there that braid/twist outs can also promote great length retention.
With all that said, I still want to remind you to do what best for your hair. Remember important to modify the technique in a way the best benefits you. For instance, the fewer braids I use the better. I love the double cornrow braid as pictured above. If I want to use even less manipulation, I'd probably scarf twist outs daily. They're easy to do, the results are amazing, and they don't require the tension needed to create jumbo cornrolls. Keep in mind that I don't live a cold climate so wearing my hair down during the cooler months is much less risky than if I was wearing a wool coat everyday.
So far this idea of length retention from twist/braid outs is only a theory. But it's one I'm willing to try out for 2015. Anyone else think this could work well for them?
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