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Curly Nikki

Natural Hair Styling Challenged

By January 27th, 202146 Comments

Natural Hair Styling Challenged
Chrissy M. asks:

I’ve been natural a little over a year. I’m embarrassed to say that there are still some staple natural styles that I have yet to conquer. This is usually due to my length, but sometimes the styles just don’t work out… case in point- afro puffs and wash n gos.

I was wondering if there are other naturals out there who haven’t been able to master some of the staple natural styles? What d0 you do?


  • Aviance says:

    I'm hair challenged in general, so I have surrounded myself with people who are not. Between my sis and cousin someone is always there to assist when needed. I'm also a great fan of cornrows it allows me about 1 week of not having to think about my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't remember a time before I could braid ans cornrow but I was natural for 8 months before I could do a satisfying two strand twist or twist out and I'm still working on Bantu knots

  • Ereiol Nottingham says:

    As a professional hair stylist, one would think that i can do it all…HOWEVER!! I have settled on the fact that that i am not able to wear 2 strand twists. Ive been natural for quite some years now, and my goal was to be able to wear 2 strand twists for a week then loose for a few days, well with the multiple textures and lack of thickness in the top of my hair(hereditary-every woman in my family has the same exact problem in the same place), my 2 strands twists look strung out on crack! the only way i can wear them is pinned up and accessorized. and when i go to bed, they get flat and look like twizzlers!!! I have one side in the back thats loose and wavy(not heat damage) so i cut about 4 inches off thinking that would unify the curls. Shape wise-yes, 2 strand twist wise-no! so now my staple style is a flat twist out!!! I love that i can just retwist( 7 big twists) at night and recreate the same fabulous style in the AM and have the same affect, fullness and definition as I would get with a 2 strand twist out…Now, onto the wash and go…its really not a wash and go for me, because of my length(almost armpit) and multiple textures but hey! I am perfectly pleased with my imperfect curls!!!

  • Unknown says:

    At this point I go to a natural stylist (who is natural herself) and call it a day. I can not…not anymore.

  • KayDanai says:

    Twists outs – my hair is too soft and won't hold the pattern, so I do braid outs instead

    Bantu knots on wet hair – but on flat ironed hair they look wonderful. I think it's the drying time and I prolly take them down before they dry.

    I just completed a roller set that I actually liked, hopefully I can repeat.

  • KCAS says:

    Well, bantu knots and twists out rarely turn out nice. I may have tried twists for about 20 times and only once I loved the result. I am 90% decided to give up of them and keep on what works for me: curly primer. It never disappoints me.

  • NaturallyNay says:

    Like anon 3:24 I've always been a low maintenance kind of gal but I think it's because I'm not willing to put in the time to "practice" these styles. I've been natural for 10 years with about a billion big chops over the years and most of the time I wore a low fade because it's the easiest style in the world 😉

    I've been letting my fade grow out for about 16 months now and with 8 inches of hair I still rock my only 2 styles I've ever been able to do on my own – wash-n-go and puff!

    I know…I'm pathetic!

  • Anonymous says:

    I can't do the cinnabon and the tuck and roll hawk at all. I am going to keep trying!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I do twists 24/7. Why no other styles?

    – Don't have perfectly even trimmed hair for fros
    – Don't have the texture for rollersets
    – Have so much shrinkage that whatever length I have is always disappearing and I can't do many basic styles
    – learned to flat twist and didn't like it.
    – Can't do bantus (texture) can't do braidouts (texture) none of that looks good with my hair texture.
    – Can't wear it out loose or it will knot terribly.

    I've been a natural 4b for three years and there is so much that I cannot do compared to other naturals I see online who even dare to wash loose hair. I can do twists – don't do twistouts. That's it. Maybe when I get more length (which is slow in coming), I will be able to do tucked and updo styles.

  • orchiddragonfly says:

    Correction: been natural since June 10

  • orchiddragonfly says:

    I've been natural since June 09 and have a terrible time with twist out. Instead, I have to plait my hair and it has to stay plaited for at least days and after taking them down, they still look suspect. My hair is short (about 5") so keeping them in twist and wearing them out does not look good.
    The only thing reliable thing at this time are the curly cremes. I can wear it out and curly but that's not a good protective style. Until it grows out more-I'm thinking of wearing larger cornrolls that end in a bun in the back.
    Not sure what else to do at this time.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been natural for 3 years. befor last week, the only style that I mastered was a bun. YES… 3 years and only a bun. Totaly defeted, I wore wigs and weaves for the entire time. last week I decided that I would try a twist out for the 1,000,000th time. Ohh and it went wrong again. falure was not an option this time… soooo I tryed again using a different method and BINGO… I GOT IT. My mistake was that while twisting in the past, I would "borrow" hair form section one if section two was not full enough. I stoped borrowing and got great results. Good luck to you all!!!!


  • Anonymous says:

    I guess I need to find time and practice…wanted to do a bantu knot out, just couldn't the "knotting" process down!

  • Anonymous says:

    So…I been natural for a year and a half now and still have not mastered all the cool styles, but they are getting better the more I try and the longer my hair gets! The best thing about being natural is that you can just simply wash it out and start over or try something new if you do not like it!! LOVE IT!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I do not like "outs" on me. They always look dry and frizzy even with products I KNOW work well with my hair. I much prefer wash and gos and puffs. I love the look of twist outs on other people and I really think the look I'm going for on my own hair will come with length. I still practice my "outs" on days I'm not going anywhere, just to see what works and what doesn't…

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow! It's so coincidental that I saw this posting. I just told a friend today who's also natural that I'm not having any success with twist outs, nor banding. I don't know what else to do but get it flat ironed.
    I celebrated my 1 year "naturalversary" October 2009. I got my first relaxer in 6th grade only after I begged my mom. For years, my scalp burned when I got sensitive scalp 'touch ups', even without scratching. [One stylist had the nerve to use a regular relaxer on my hair! & I won't mention what her rationale was for doing so] My last relaxer, two weeks before my wedding, was a children's relaxer, which still burned, but not as badly as the sensitive scalp relaxer. But, by this time I dreaded getting relaxers and had even attempted to go natural years ago, but wasn't successful. Then,I saw the documentary Good Hair and saw the chemical content in relaxers and that changed my mind, for the better. So here I am now. I am a long term transitioner, meaning I chose to keep my relaxed hair and trimmed it off every so often. I just recently got a lengthy layered trim and I thought all the relaxer was gone. But to my dismay, I still have about 1/2 inch [or less]relaxer on some ends. I've been told that this journey is a trial and error one which requires lots of patience. Don't I know it now. Recently I washed my hair with Burt's Bees Rasberry and Brazil Nut shampoo, and conditioned with Yes to Carrots conditioner [GOOD STUFF!] I wish YtC had a leave in conditioner. [of course I too am a product junkee, I've got to be during my trial and error period LOL]
    So I said all this to say, I'll keep working with my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bantu knot out. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

  • adrien says:

    i have yet to have a good knot out. i've given up. too much work and waiting for my hair to dry just for it to come out all wack-like. twist and braidouts work juuuuuust fine.

  • Shalonda says:

    I am 16 months natural and I can't flat twist, roller set, or bantu knot my own hair to save my life. I will keep practing though. I have learn my hair behave best when it is DIRTY! My go to style is always twist or a twist out. Also as my hair has gotten longer wash and gos are not working for me(BOO)

  • Anonymous says:

    Styles that "work" depend on the hair texture as well. I exclusively do wash 'n gos but I only wash it every 4 days. As my hair is now long enough for 5 "buns" at night, the style is stretched and I don't have to wash everyday. WNG doesn't necessarily mean daily, particularly with longer hair. I would love to learn how to cornrow, though.

  • Breanna says:

    Check out this Fierce haircut from , after Sweetdark1 got her new haircut which looks gorgeous on her. It had me thinking of maybe getting mine cut, and I saw this a couple of minutes ago on Youtube, and I might go with something like this or wait until summertime to rock it. What do you ladies think?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have mastered the wash and go and the art of slapping a headband on my head or wearing a slouchy hat. I'm six months post-BC with about four inches of hair and I've tried various hair styles with various products, all of which will invariably make my hair a frizzy mess.

  • Breanna says:

    I can't cornrow,nor flattwist either. I can do twists really good both small,medium,big and braidout "NO" that is to time consuming taking out. I can do 2 semi flattwist on the side of my head and thats it. Normally I will do twists/twistouts/ or puffs/ or afro with the front twisted and adorned with either a flower or headband or little bobbypins. Wasn n Go are a big "NO,NO" for me because that will cause my hair to tangle up like crazy.

  • Cheryl says:

    I do wash n go's, but not without a curl activator. Thus to say, I only do them in warmer weather. I can do two strand twists, but I end up looking like Coolio. Not a good look. There are some styles I won't even attempt like Bantu Knots. I can already tell those won't work for me and rod sets. I don't have the patience. My go to style is a chunky fro.

  • ljkelly says:

    I am the same way. I celebrated a year on 12/23 and I do not have a staple style but I think I am getting there…Roller sets. I use curlformers & I love my curls after. I hope I keep it up!

  • Moni says:

    Despite being natural for almost 3 years (next month!), I still can't do any "flat" style like flat twists, french braids, or cornrolls. Anything that requires grabbing more hair and adding it into the braid or twist that you're doing is a no-no for me. Maybe someday…

  • JustMe says:

    I just celebrated my 1 year anniversary. Twist outs are my staple but anything else is a fail especially wash n gos! I'm going to try and do more styles this year but we'll see.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bantu Knots!!! omg i cannot do those at all!

  • Sherri says:

    I can't braid to save my life. I did a sloppy braidout for Christmas and managed to stretch it for a few days. But now I'm back to my wash and go. I actually have simplified even this simple style. I apply the gel to it while dry. Then I run my head under the shower and shake and never touch it again. No more parting and shingling. Plus I only use a fraction of the gel. That I have mastered. Everything else requires too much patience.

  • Brittany D says:

    I have not yet mastered the wash and go. It sounds so easy, yet the times I have tried it by the end of the day my hair is a mess and huge. DoOn't get me wrong I love the volume, but after wearing a wash and go by the end of the day, even after applying water and conditioner I have the hardest time combing my hair out. My hair does better in a style where I don't wear all of it loose. Plus my hair grows better and stays healtier when I don't comb it or bother with it everyday like keeping it braided or in a bun. I love it! There are many styles that I have tried that were a flop but I enjoy the time me and my hair have together; like when it talks to me and says "nope this style is not for me chica!" I usually smile and say okay. Love your hair and the styles it embraces and it will love you back.

  • Anonymous says:

    Don't feel bad I have been natural three years in August and so far I can only do a twist out. My twist outs look best when re-twisted on dry hair. I'm even at the frustrated level – will soon start a new job and I want good looking/sexy hair.

  • Tahlove says:

    It's funny that a lot of the styling challenged stick with wash n go's… My hair does not like the wash n go. I stick with twist outs most of the time. I flat twist the front two sections and do individuals in the back (cuz i cannot for the life of me get the back flat twists right LOL). Braid outs take too long to undo and end up a frizzy mess. I don't like to pull my hair back due to my Tyra Banks-esque forehead so puffs and buns are out too.

  • Carla says:

    Twists & braids: I look like a child wearing twists and braids outside the house.

  • Bird says:

    I've been natural for a few days past 14 months. I started out with twist outs and I have to say they are my favorite! I've managed to pull 5 day hair out of them quite a few times!! However I've never tried a puff because my length and I've tried a wash and go but it was a complete FAIL. Right now I've got a head full of mini twists that are growing on me. =)

  • Courtney says:

    I'm totally style challenged. I can't do a braid out or a twist out to save my life. All I do are wash and gos.

  • b. says:

    Your expectation of what the style should look like may not match up to the texture(s) of hair you have. For instance, if your hair is fine or has a looser curl pattern, an afro puff may not look like it does on someone with thick and/or tighter coils. Same with twistouts.

    Do your wash and go look "weird" b/c your hair has many patterns? What about the styles you name make it look "wrong"?

  • newlyme says:

    i want to learn how to perfect the wash n go (shrinkage is a …..) twists and braid outs(cornrows) are my best friend

  • Anonymous says:

    I think being able to do certain styles is all a matter of how long your hair. Like Im noticing that the longer my hair gets, the easier it is to do styles and the more styles I am able to try.

    I never did wash and gos because I hated the shrinkage. However, I did finger/comb twist until my hair got long enough to two strand twist.

    i think alot of style is trial and error. You have to figure out what works for you because whats works for one person may not work for another.

  • elitebeauty13 says:

    Since my hair is starting to get longer, my wash and go has become an eye sore. It doesn't bother me too much because twist outs, braid outs, and bantu knot outs are my hairs best friends,

  • Anonymous says:

    I LOVE my two strand twists. I do them on the weekends after my deep conditioning treatments, and keep them up all week. I can put them up into a ponytail during workouts, pin them up for work, and leave them down just for fun! (I love that swing action.LOL) Then on Friday nights when it's time to step out, I do my twistout style and it is oh so easy! I have also been able to retain a lot of length with this style as well.

  • Jeannette says:

    I cannot do twist outs or wash and go's. I think it's mostly due to my expectations. My length and texture also plays a part as well. Perhaps when my hair gets a little longer I can achieve those styles but for now I stick to twists, braids, blow outs and flat ironing.

  • Curly Hairdo Ideas says:

    I think each person and their hair will have different styles they favor. That's ok! But then there's some you really want to master…so you keep trying!

    I wanted to be able to do braid outs on my daughter, but whenever I tried her hair just looked WEIRD. So they would have to be washed out. Then one day I took out a braided style that had sideways braids instead of straight up and down… and it worked! (I also used No product or water when removing the braids) It was a beautiful braid out! lol! I was shocked!

    Anyway, sometimes trial and error will help – and sometimes an accident will teach us! I wouldn't worry about it too much – as long as you're happy with your own go-to styles as is!

    ~ Karli

  • Bridget says:

    I mostly style my hair in wash and gos and afro puffs. Although I can do bantu knot outs, I can't do braid outs or twists outs. I have tried so many times (for over a year) to no avail. Ugh!

  • Unknown says:

    I can't do twists or a twist out to save my life. I'm all about wash and gos, flat twist and flat twist outs. I'm JUST starting to learn how to corn row though (yay!!)


  • Anonymous says:

    I have been natural for about 14 months and I only do wash and gos. I tried twist outs and braid outs a couple of times but couldn't make them work for me. Not only did they not look right, but I could not get more than a day out of them before I was back to wash and go. I tried curl formers (which I love) but can't seem to get 2nd day hair with them. The wash and go seems to be my only friend until I have enough length for a decent fro puff or bun (I can do a fro puff now, but I want a BIG one). Even when I was relaxed, my hair was in a bun or a pony tail 95% of the time. I think I'm just a low maintenance gal.

  • WildOnce says:

    ALL I do is a wash and go! Throw on a head band if I want…I guess I don't have the patience for twist or braids and my arms get sooo tired and in order to get good results they seem to have to be so small on my head full of thin hair. Maybe I should try to find a day and dedicate it to my hair!

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