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Curly Nikki

The Art of Styling Old Hair- Natural Hair Routines

By January 27th, 202122 Comments
The Art of Styling Old Hair- Natural Hair Routines

by Evelyn Ngugi of NaturallyCurly

 I’m the self-proclaimed queen of styling old hair. I usually try to
shampoo my hair once a week, but sometimes I just can’t be bothered. You
know how it gets — one thing leads to another and your routine “wash
day” has come and gone. Over the two years and some change that I’ve
been natural, I’ve figured out what styles and methods work best to
maintain my hair during the extended periods of time that I’m just not
in the mood for a hair styling marathon. No shame!

The Before

The goal is to shampoo, detangle, and deep condition my hair every
Saturday or Sunday. My scalp doesn’t get oily very fast, but cleansing
and detangling weekly helps me control tangles. My go-to style is a twist out
on clean, wet hair. I choose this style because it’s a good starting
point for many other styles. It stretches my hair out enough to add some
length and prevent tangles that my shrunken hair is prone to.

The Art of Styling Old Hair- Natural Hair Routines

The Re-style

That wet twist out can last 2-3 days without retwisting. My hair is
relatively fine and thin, so instead of getting big and fluffy over
time, it shrinks at the roots and gets piecey at the ends. Not cute! You
need to get to know your hair so you can restyle it accordingly.

Because I know my hair is fine, I know that I can’t layer and reapply
products as the weeks (yikes!) pass. Even on freshly washed hair,
layering products (leave in + styler + sealant, for example) only weighs
my hair down. I usually style using a leave in conditioner and a light oil or butter.
When I restyle my hair, I don’t use any products. Using a spray bottle
or just by running my hands under the faucet, I dampen a section of hair
with water and twist. Yes, you read that correctly – water is my
styling product. This prevents product build up that will force me to
wash my hair sooner than later.

The After

After two or three twist outs, I naturally transition into roll,
tuck, and pin hairstyles. With a box of bobby pins, hair pins and
headbands in hand, I attempt anything from the Grecian goddess “crown” hairstyle to the (albeit smaller) Janelle Monae-esque pompadour. Sometimes I just throw on a headscarf or bandana for a Rosie the Riveter look.

After I’ve had my fill of that, I retwist my hair (only using water!)
and roll my ends with perm rods. I have now ventured into the land of
the Twist N’ Curl. The curled ends give a fresh look to my average twist
outs, and the new hit of moisture from the water makes my hair soft and

If I’ve been good about sleeping with a satin scarf and my hair isn’t too tangled, I can re-twist n’ curl or bantu knot my hair (it gives the same look) one more time.

Twist n’ curls and bantu knot outs are my favorite hair styles, so I
try to end my old hair styling marathon on a high note. But if I don’t
want to grab my widetooth comb just yet…

The Final Stretch

Braid outs
have always been hit or miss for me. If I make the braids too large, my
hair will practically be straight. If I make them too small, my thin
and fine strands look so piecey that no amount of “fluffing” will remedy
the situation.

If my braid out succeeds, I can finally rock the big, stretched out
hair that my thick haired sistas enjoy on the regular. If my braid out
fails, well, at least my hair is stretched out to the max, and I can
divide into sections and detangle fairly easily.

By this time, my ‘fro is screamin’ for a cleanin’. After an hour (or
two) of tender loving care, my coils are cleansed, deep conditioned and
detangled. All is right in the natural hair world. For now…

 Do you style ‘old hair’? What’s your routine?


  • LM says:

    I re-moisturize my ends almost every night or, at least, every other night and seal them, because they become dry after a couple of days. I also retwist nightly in chunky twists to further stretch my hair throughout the week so that I can coax my hair into an updo for my clinicals.

  • Shashou says:

    yes indeed. re-wet is the key. especially if I want to go from a wash n go to a braid out or twist out.

  • irvingj says:

    Restyling old hair is a way of life for me! Lbvs…this summer was full of twists and twistouts for me. I do medium twists and just wear those down for 2 – 3 weeks depending on how frizz free I can keep them. When they can go no longer I do a bun or an updo with the twists for a week or two and once those styles seem to be on their last leg, I do a twist out for about a week. Now I may wash after that, but if I don't get time before the twist out has died I will do buns or updos with the old twistout…

  • Robbin Melton says:

    We have quite a few similarities…I also wash my hair on Saturday or Sunday, sometimes even Friday night! I also love twist outs and bantu knot outs. But, I don't have to reapply anything to my hair. I used my own products and my style lasts throughout the week without having to reapply product or restyle my hair. I just pineapple every night and that's it! Good luck!

  • Dramaqueen says:

    Oh! You're hair is so cute. You are the answer to my prayers. My hair is very similar to yours and I've been growing it out for the last 19 months so it's past the TWA stage and I had no idea how to wear it cute and fluffy. I'm going to use your cute techniques. I'm so ready to fix my hair. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Zekia Brunson says:

    I have been trying out restyling my old style this week, and it is so wonderful. I wore a twistout for three days, and really didn't feel like detangling to reset my twistout. So I turned my old twistout into a funky afro braidout. I have to say that I am loving it, because its so big and fluffly. (1st pic is of my 3rd day twistout wednesday; 2nd pic is of my restyled-braidout-fro today). Love, love, love, love my hair! 🙂

  • Derika says:

    It's just so simple when I'm chasing after a toddler and expecting another baby. It's very low manipulation which I love!

  • CurvyCurly says:

    Me too! It minimizes manipulation but girl, I must admit, I'm not that creative either and actually rather conservative anyway 😉

  • CurvyCurly says:

    I do style "old hair" with buns, buns and more buns whether high, low or to the side. I used to retwist a twistout every other day or so between washing but stopped. Why? For 1) I workout and sweat too much which causes me to re-wash anyway and 2) I bun because it minimizes the amount of manipulation between washing which causes tangles, breakage, and SSK for me.

  • Derika says:

    The only thing that I do with old hair is put it in a bun or ponytail. I'm not very creative lol

  • Thetruthisoutthere says:

    Yes she does – look for "Spicyeve" and "Evelyn from The Internets" on YouTube.
    She also posts on NaturallyCurly. com as Evelyn Ngugi. No – I am not a stalker! LOL! She is my hair twin!

  • hairscapades says:

    Yes I do!! It doesn't happen often, but sometimes I go into week two without my normal weekly wash. This happens to be one such week! My hair wasn't stretched, but usually it is. So, like Evelyn alluded, it makes it less stressful to go another week b/c the fear of a marathon detangling session isn't looming in the future. But, this time, I started with a WnG, and I "refreshed" it the following Saturday with leave-in conditioner plus gel mixed with Carol's Daughter Health Hair Butter. High bunned it on Sunday, wore it down on Monday all wild and big … then did a low big bun on Tuesday. Will probably bun it until I wash, which will be Thursday at the earliest, but may have to wait until Saturday. Probably won't be too pleasant to detangle though. Curse you, you nefarious SSKs!!!


  • Yvette says:

    I have found my hair twin! Smart ideas for re-styling.

  • inHISimagine says:

    Nice article. Does Evelyn have a blog or Youtube channel? Where can I find more help and style ideas for my fine/thin hair?

  • JackieC says:

    Sometimes I'll restyle a 2 or 3 day old twist out by doing a braid out with Oyin's Shine and Define. It's just wet enough to set the hair and has enough hold for the style to last 3 more days..

  • CJayQueen says:

    This was a good read! Thanks!!

  • Davina916 says:

    Sometimes I'll re-twist old hair if I don't feel like co-washing.

  • Nashira Howe says:

    I do style old hair because the braid out I do on freshly washed hair won't last the entire week (at least if i want to wear it down and out). My routine used to be sectioning off my hair into 11-12 sections followed by wetting, moisturizing and sealing with coconut oil. I would then braid. Now the routine is the same except instead of coconut oil I use CD's Loc Butter; it helps my hair hold up better in the more humid climate that I've recently moved to.

  • Tajuana Shyanne says:

    Love your blog and wanted to let you know I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger award. My post
    will be up tomorrow.

  • Megan M. says:

    I enjoy styling old hair I wash my hair every two weeks I use to once a week but when my health started going down I switched to twice a week. I moisturize my hair every 3 days and retwist setting them on satin covered foam rollers because my will be a stringy mess if I do not. I just found out my hair is fine late huh! it use to be thicker when I was younger now it is fine. I am in the fine crew now lol!

  • Bobby says:

    I use satin sponge rollers for my twist/braid outs on my transitioning hair,12 months post relaxer…

  • Miss Anne says:

    The joy of styling old hair! i was gonna do a yoghurt DC today and thought…. my hair is still pre-tty soft and moisturized (thank you Shea Moisture CES). I think I can go another day of bantu knots…. hey maybe even two 🙂

    I'm in bantu knots like 4 days a week because they never fail me. Love 'em… if I'm feeling lazy, I'll make chunky bantu knots after hair has stretched for a few days and then next morning just take them out, pick and apply a headband to make a half-bun (hair isn't long enough for a full bun just yet… that will be the go-to a year from now).

    Great post! x

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