10 Ways To Grow Long Hair Without Protective Styles

By now I am sure you have heard a thousand times over about the benefits of protective styling. Sometimes you just want your hair to be free! Yes, protective styles are definitely effective, but you can retain hair length with a low manipulation regimen, too.

Below you will find 10 Steps for Building a Low Manipulation Hair Routine.

I’m a big fan of styles with tons of volume and height, so for the most part I am actually not too fond of protective styles on my hair because they feel too flat.

Another important concern is that braids in particular can cause thinning of the hair if you are not carefully applying the appropriate amount of tension.

See: Do’s and Don’ts of Protective Styling with Braids

Which is why when I do protectively style my hair I go for a simple bun and if I have the time two strand twists. The truth is you’ll most likely retain more hair if you protective style your hair more frequently because your hair isn’t subject to as much manipulation and your ends won’t be exposed to as much damage.

However, if you prefer twist outs, braid outs, bantu knot outs or other set or protective styles more you can still retain a good amount of hair length.

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10 Ways To Build a Low Manipulation Regimen:

  1. Choose styles that do not require much combing or brushing to maintain. Go with a style that may only require adding a little bit of moisture, primp and go.
  2. Detangle hair that is damp (not wet) to avoid breakage. For those who prefer to dry detangle make sure you apply a product that will give you some good slip to get through your hair. (You can check out this list of 10 Cheap Conditioners. They are perfect for dry detangling.) You may also want to try implementing Finger Combing or Finger Detangling for a more gentle approach.
  3. Wash your hair in sections to cut down on tangles. (This is one of the tips I swear by to grow longer natural hair.)
  4. Make sure to frequently deep condition your hair even if you choose to co-wash. This will help improve your hair’s manageability making detangling and styling easier. Here’s our top Deep Conditioner Picks.
  5. If you notice that it’s time for a trim to get rid of split ends, go for it and do not delay! Split ends tend to cause the hair to tangle more easily. The longer you wait the more hair you’ll have to cut. More signs its time for a trim.
  6. When you’re conditioning and moisturizing liberally apply product to your ends. The ends are the oldest and most fragile part of your hair requiring the most attention especially if you’re not protective style your hair often.
  7. Your hair can get snagged on your clothing, so if you are wearing your hair out be mindful of your hair coming into contact with wool or cottons.
  8. If you have hair that tangles easily you may want to opt for more stretched out or blown out styles to avoid breakage. You will find tips on how to heat stretch your hair without damage here.
  9. Use a protein treatment for stronger hair with more resiliency so that it can withstand more manipulation. 5 Protein Deep Conditioners You Should Know
  10. Moisturize even more. Since your hair is being worn out, it may not hold moisture has long as it would in a protective style. The L.O.C Method is the best way to moisturize during and after your wash process. But if it doesn’t work for you in that order try L.C.O or some other order.

SEE ALSO: 8 Things to Avoid When Protective Styling


7 thoughts on “10 Ways To Grow Long Hair Without Protective Styles

  1. Michelle

    “The truth is you will most likely retain more hair if protective style your hair more frequently because your hair will not be subject to as much manipulation”

    I think you meant less manipulation?

  2. amber

    Does anyone know where I can find a guide to figure out what kind of curl I have? I have two girls and we all have a different curl pattern and its expensive buying different products to see what works. Thank You!

  3. Eleanor

    I don’t like protective styles. It’s great to see other point of view. I make protective style only in winter (Weave or wig). I just feel horrible with it but it’s the only way to maintain length retention in winter.

  4. Fran Waters

    I braid my hair with extensions and break down in 4months and my hair has grown about 4inches. It took me years to figure out how to grow my hair naturally.


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