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November 9, 2012

Best Bun Practices for Length Retention




by Shelli of Hairscapades

With the cold weather breathing down my neck and the drying air that accompanies the cool temps, as well as the return of friction-causing, lint-spreading, tangle-inducing sweaters, coats, scarves and hats, it seemed like a good time to bring back protective styling in force!!! So, I’ve decided to embark on my own personal bunning challenge for the next month or two. However, as many of you know, constant bunning can cause more harm than good if done haphazardly or without good techniques. It can be murder on your edges and crown and result in some nasty detangling sessions if done improperly. So, if healthy length retention is your goal, it’s important to establish a strong regimen.

That being said, I decided to put together a list of bunning steps and techniques that I’ve found give me the biggest bang for my buck! Hope that you find them helpful!

BUILDING A BUNNING REGIMEN
  • Start with clean and well-conditioned hair. A dirty scalp can clog pores and cause “the itchies.” Dirty hair can collect lint and dirt that cause knots and tangles, resulting in breakage. Dry and/or weak hair is more susceptible to damage and breakage. So, wash, condition/detangle and deep condition (moisturizing or protein, as needed) weekly or every two weeks. (Note: You can find my wash day regimen here.)
  • Apply a leave-in conditioner and/or moisturizer.
  • If desired, massage scalp with a stimulating oil such as Wild Growth Hair Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil or an essential oil mix like the one I shared here.
  • Seal hair using an oil, butter or follow the L.O.C. Method.
  • Stretch curls, kinks and coils with twists, braids, Bantu knots or lightly blow-out to reduce tangles and single-strand knots. Stretching also makes it easier to thoroughly re-moisturize hair, when needed.
  • Bun hair after it dries fully. Bunning wet can cause mildew and/or result in over-conditioned/weak hair if the hair can’t dry.
  • Wear buns in different styles and positions. This reduces repeated tension on the same areas and alleviates boredom! Don’t forget, you can wear your bun high, low, to the side, to the other side, make multi-buns, roll, tuck, braid, twist, pin-curl and/or add extra hair too!! Check out YouTube, other hair blogs and my Style Library for oodles of ideas!

  • Don’t pull hair too tightly!! Your edges and nape will thank you! Plus, a loose, messy bun can be fun, relaxed, sophisticated and sexy !
  • Use hair-friendly tools to secure your buns. There are a lots of options available and you don’t have to choose just one! Hair bungees, ouchless/metal-free hair elastics, silicone ponytail holders, banana clips and/or comfort flex barrettes are all great tools. You can also go the homemade route! Try cutting the leg of a pair of opaque tights into a 1-2 inch loop to make a DIY ponytail holder!
  • Be careful with bobby and hair pins! Don’t stab your scalp and use as few pins as needed to secure your style. Your scalp/head shouldn’t be sore or hurt while or wearing a bun or after releasing it. If it is, those are signs that the scalp is being traumatized and/or the style is too tight.
  • If you are using a gel for hold, ensure that it is free of drying alcohols. Not sure which alcohols are drying? Check out Skills Notes: Product Ingredients!
  • Smooth the surface of hair leading to the bun(s) lightly with a firm, natural bristle brush or a fine-tooth comb laid flat on its side. Yes!! I said a fine-tooth comb!! I just learned about this from watching this video by my girl MyHairFetish, where she demonstrates how this enemy of natural-haired women everywhere is converted from foe to friend!!

(I’ve only tried this a couple of times, but I’ll be forsaking my Phillips teasing brush for a fine-toothed comb for the immediate future.)

  • Don’t brush/comb through to your scalp/roots. Simply smooth the top surface of the hair and tie edges down with a silk or satin scarf for 10-15 minutes to set.
  • Release bun and re-moisturize and seal as needed between wash sessions. For some, this may be every day, for others it may be a few times a week and for others still, it may not be at all between wash sessions. This is entirely dependent upon your hair’s needs. The important thing is to make certain that your hair doesn’t become dry and brittle.
  • Wear a silk/satin scarf or bonnet at night and/or sleep on a silk/satin pillowcase.
  • Wear hair bunned for a minimum of 5-6 days a week.

BONUS BUNNING TIPS

And here are a few extra tips to make a bunning regimen work for you!
  • Think you hair is too short to bun? Maybe not! If you can make a ponytail, you can probably bun. Try stretching, using a sock bun and/or adding extension hair for length and fullness!!
 Check out the many wonderful YouTube mavens for ways to make buns work for short to medium-length hair.
  • Feeling bored and ho-hom? Dont forget to accessorize! Dress up buns with cute accessories like bows, headbands, flowers (my fave!), broaches, hair sticks, hair forks, snoods, etc. Just make certain that your accessories are gentle and don’t snag or dry hair.
  • Brrrrrr!!! Cold ears a concern? Don’t forget your earmuffs or opt for more stylish and trendy winter headbands! To keep knits, cotton, wool and fleece from robbing your hair of healthy moisture, tie a small silk or satin scarf under the headband or sew a piece of silk or satin fabric to the inside to make your own custom lining. Choose a pretty printed fabric to up the cuteness factor! Or, you can just buy pre-made satin-lined headbands like these flowered and sequined ones sold on Hatsome.com!
  • Ends looking and feeling jacked? Get a trim or do it yourself because, who wants to retain ratchet looking length?!
Sooooo … that’s all I got. Now, about my personal bunning challenge. It actually may not remain that way! If you’re interested in joining me, stay tuned for the “official” buning challenge announcement, which is coming very soon!

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Do you bun for length retention? What techniques work for you? What Best Bun Practices would you add to the list?

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