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Curly Nikki

A Bunning Routine for Natural Hair Length Retention

By January 27th, 202130 Comments
A Bunning Routine for Natural Hair Length Retention
Pamela writes:

I only wash my hair once a month and in between styling sessions, I keep it bunned. I hear the same question from everyone– how do you keep your hair looking so shiny and clean?

Read On>>>


Once a month:

  • Apply coconut oil prior to shampooing as a pre-poo
  • Shampoo with Elasta QP Conditioning Creme or ORS Conditioning Shampoo
  • Deep Condition with Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner
  • Apply leave-in conditioner- Komaza Care Moku Leave-In
  • Apply a hair serum- One n Only Argan Oil or Garnier Fructis Sleek n Shine
  • Blow dry and flatiron
  • Secure the hair in a ponytail holder, and twist it into my signature protective style- The Bun!
  • For protection at night- tie it up with my silk scarf… that’s it!
This routine is low maintenance and low manipulation. Plus, I see lots of length retention!

A Bunning Routine for Natural Hair Length Retention

CurlyNikki writes: 

 I see a pattern. While some can’t tolerate heat period, others seem to do just fine… thrive even. The key seems to be the frequency, perhaps the method (rollerset + flat iron vs. blowdry + flat iron), and maybe even hair texture/type. My sister has been natural since birth and has been getting her (very thick) hair blown out and pressed since she was five or so. Her hair is strong, long and healthy. She retains length like none other. BUT, she only gets her hair done once or twice a month and never touches up in between. When it frizzes, she rocks pony tails, buns, even naturally curly ‘dos like flexi rod sets and twist-outs.  I’m a believer in stretched styles for length retention, but my hair seems to prefer wet sets to heat… my strands are just too fine and finicky. What about yours?


  • hunnybun says:

    love the bun but i do agree with nicki blow dry plus flat iron equals damage but rollerset plus flat iron makes my hair flourish.

  • Pseudonym Jenkins says:

    I'm wearing my hair in a bun like the one in the photo while I transition, but I miss the versatility I had with my natural curls.

  • Anonymous says:

    I used to follow this same basic routine for my hair, and it thrived. However, after having my children (3) it really seems like with each pregnancy my hair changed, n now i cant take heat anymore. last time i tried heat my hair didnt curl back to normal, and it kept breaking. That actually seems to b my main issue these past 6 years or that with each pregnancy and childbirth my hair and scalp keeps changing dramatically. After my first my edges fell out. then with my 2nd n third i got HORRIBLE dandruff/flaky, yucky scalp. after i had my third along with the yucky scalp, my hair just hasnt been growing like i was used to..anyway…nother story. but whatever works, stick with it for as long as it does. i used to wash once a month n blow dry..n as my hair got longer, n it was pretty thick..that was the most frequency i could take…i swera it would take up the entire afternoon just to get it done…then bun it for the rest of the month until next time.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post! I love her bun and that routine seems to be working out great for her. Hmmm, I might try something similiar in the fall/winter.

    Anyhow, to respond to an earlier comment, not everyone goes 'natural' to wear there hair in it's natural state…some just don't like applying chemicals to their hair. BTW, I don't wear my hair flat ironed/pressed anymore(haven't in 2 years) but I feel that people can wear their hair anyway they want to.

  • AuNaturaleBelle says:

    @Anonymous Just because someone hasn't washed their hair in a month doesn't mean it will automatically smell disgusting or is disgusting. Personally its not for me because I do too much and sweat to much to wait a month but if it works for them, then it works for them. I like how you came on here anonymously to add your two cents that had nothing to do with bunning or straightening =/ BTW Pamela I like your bunning technique, I can't wait until my hair is long enough to achieve a bun.

  • Anonymous says:

    And let me add, A filthy smelling weave (or wig) is also just as disgusting. LOL

  • Anonymous says:

    It may be just me, but I personally think it is disgusting to wait one month to wash your hair. It is truly a petpeeve of mine when I smell someone's dirty hair- especially a natural. I'm not saying that this particular individual's hair smells at the end of the month, after not being washed for one month, but it grosses me out. I am in the health care profession and see (and smell) people who limit their hygiene far beyond the recommended. It also gives all naturals a bad name for some of us to walk around smelling bad. Just my 2 cents- straight from the bank. LOL!

  • says:

    I used to straighten my hair once/week or once/two-weeks but then I noticed I was nearly the only natural that did this. It scared me!!!! I felt like I was committing the ultimate no-no and I would wake up one morning with no hair (from heat abuse). Since then I have stopped. I haven't really noticed a difference except that I don't shed because I don't comb my hair. My flat twist-outs last 2 weeks+, so that's no combing for 2 weeks which probably benefits my hair. But, I guess I haven't been on this routine long enough to notice a difference..? Now I straighten for special occasions which is about once/month…

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't know…I just figure, what's the point of being a curly if you're just going to wear it straight all the time. I'm in transition with just a few weeks new growth, so maybe I don't know whereof I speak, but I can't wait to chop off this straight stuff and start rocking some curly dos.

  • npmoore04 says:

    My hair has always been able to hold heat with out any heat damage. When i no longer had a relaxer i would blowdry+press+flat iron my hair to get it straight (with no heat protectant) about 0nce a month or every 6 weeks i would only wear my hair down for abot 2 days. then i would throw it up in a bun for the remainder of the month. And i always retained length.

  • Neesh says:

    I, too, can handle heat. My hair does NOT like to air dry. It gets frizzy and my twist outs don't last long. I have been natural for 6 years and only get my hair pressed out twice a month (if even that). I don't put heat in my hair without washing it first. My hair has been growing in healthy and long. I believe it's a matter of how often a person puts heat in their hair and if they wash it or continually touches it up in between washes.

  • hypnotic says:

    I did this in high school my only issue was the smell, my hair did not smell clean after two weeks and after four…however it easier to maintain in the winter months. During the summers I really work up a sweat and with working out I don't see how reversion wouldn't happen. And if the hair isn't reverting I would have to chalk that up to heat "damage." I think roller sets could be a happy medium, except I can't do them very well. My hair never comes out even semi straight, and many hairdressers refuse to roller set my hair because of it's density. If this wasn't an issue I would probably try roller setting instead of my yearly flat ironing.

  • LadyV69 says:

    I've used a blow dryer (on low) a grand total of five times since I went natural last year. I don't own a flat iron and I don't plan on getting one any time soon. My hair is too fine and fragile to use heat regularly. I also work out 3-5 times a week and I refuse to straighten only to end up sweating the style out, so I stay natural. I used to go 2-4 weeks without washing my hair when I was relaxed, but since I've been natural, I haven't let more than 7 days pass without washing my hair. My hair has gotten used to being moisturized regularly and it wouldn't care for going up to a month without washing.

  • Unknown says:

    WOW flat ironing monthly, your got some strong hair girl, but I got to say your hair is gorgeous. I tend to rollerset and either airdry and or sit under my hooded dryer. Then either wear my curls for as long as they last or bun as you do, less manipulation as you rightly said does reward in retention and also less hair damage.

    Nice interview ;).

  • Abeeda says:

    My hair thrives on this routine, I've been natural all my life, and have been roller setting my hair since I was little. Its easier for me to maintain, I recently tried a no heat challenge for 2 month, but it was so hard for me to style it and it kept knotting up. I only flat iron when necessary, roller setting is my go-to.

  • Lagos Formula One Driver says:

    What's the trick to straightening? I have 4b/c hair (very african) and I tried roller setting it. It didn't come out very straight though and within a couple of minutes I had a full afro head back on. Any ideas on how to make it straight and keep it straight?

  • Anonymous says:

    Glad this works for her, but like some of you, my hair and scalp won't survive a month on that method. Since I workout I need to wash my hair at least twice a week. Personally, and from a hygiene point of view, I believe that hair should be washed every 7 to 10 days.

  • mysskay says:

    Do you workout? If so, how do you maintain this style?

  • battlekat says:

    I have not tried any heat on my hair yet. But I think my hair will be ok if and when I do.

  • beadgyrl says:

    I agree with many of you above. I am amazed that this young lady can go a month without washing/moisturizing. But like CN said, I guess it depends on the person, and what their hair can tolerate. But my hair is too fine, and loves, loves moisture, and my 'totally twisted' hair butter. Plus I try not to heat style on a regular basis. I work out a lot, and I have to co-wash my hair almost everyday, because I can't stand the sweat and grime. I flat ironed on vacation back in June to check the length, wore it for two days and couldn't (wait) to shampoo-condition so I could get back to my curls! At the most my hair is probably flat-ironed once to twice a year. Once I hit shoulder-to mid back length one day I am sure I won't flat iron it at all….

  • Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, I know that my hair and scalp would not do well with this routine. My hair needs moisture on a regular basis. When I used to get press and curls as a child, my hair would break regularly and be very dry. Plus, my scalp would be majorly flakely. In my relaxed days, I tried going two weeks without washing my hair a few times and my hair and scalp were a hot mess.

  • Latoya says:

    I think the key is to learn your hair. Some people's hair is more sensitive to certain products and specific methods. I have pretty resilient hair. Even with a relaxer, I had very full hair…except for when I damaged it. (I used hair dryer on the fritz and it fried my hair.) I cut into a short bob and grew back in 10 months when I switched to Tourmaline ionic blow dryer and flat iron. Sadly, some of what you learn is from mistakes.

    The key is to not overdue it on heat, protect your hair when you DO use heat, and work your way up on the temperature. (If your hair gets straight at 250 degrees then why set it at 400 degrees?)

    Now that I'm transitioning, I'm learning to be patient under the dryer for my flexi-rod sets. When my hair grows out, I want to try roller-silk wraps as a safer way to straighten.

    P.S. I'm beyond excited about the flexibility my natural hair will give me. Straight, rod-sets, bantu-knots, twist-outs….here I come!

  • Kay says:

    Heat isn't good for my hair at all. Whether done once every two months(like in high school) on once every 6 months (like i do now), it still suffers. It becomes dry and brittle and then splits and breaks.
    Wet setting works best for me, as long as I detangle at least once a week.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have to wash my hair every 4 to 5 day or my hair acts crazy on me. I real don't need heat on my hair.

  • Unknown says:

    I did the same thing for a month in the winter and while I loved my bun, my scalp was itching and flaking and screaming to be washed! How do you deal with scalp issues and also keeping your strands moisturized for four weeks?

  • Valerie says:

    I've just recently started wearing my hair straight for a couple of weeks each month. I co-wash and roller set on magnetic rollers. The rollers serve to straighten my hair, so all I really need to flat-iron are the roots because they don't actually wrap around the roller. I like to allow my hair to air dry, but I still sit under the dryer for 10 minutes–it seems that makes my hair take better. I NEVER blow dry–leads to frizzing on me. I flat-iron at about 270 – 300 degrees using Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey. My straightened style lasts for 2 weeks and all I do is pull it up in a loose pony on top of my head and sleep on a satin pillowcase. I NEVER re-touch, though, so if it gets wet–up in a bun or wash and gos for the rest of the two-week period. I don't experience split ends or breakage, and that amazes me because I always thought my hair couldn't handle heat, but it seems it's thriving on this routine. All in all, I only flat-iron my hair once a month, and wear it straight for a two-week period. The rest of the time, I wear it pulled back in a curly pony.

  • Anonymous says:

    My question is, how do you keep your hair moisturized for an entire month?? I need moisture on my hair each and EVERY day. I flat iron a few times a year, but I don't think I could keep it up regularly. I'm considering doing more roller sets in the winter to minimize knots, but we'll see how it goes.

  • PinkPearls says:

    Thank goodness for this post…it came at the right time! I feel as though I'm the only transitioning/natural that heat styles once or twice a month. Since transitioning, I've tried limiting heat styles, but braid outs, buns and ponytails require more manipulation and I lose more hair. When I flat iron, I limit my use of heat by air drying, or using the blow dryer on cool/medium, if my hair is still damp. I flat iron on a low setting, and I don't touch up in between. My flat iron style usually lasts 2 – 3 weeks as opposed to 5 – 7 days with other styles.

  • ChrLvsBks says:

    I would love to flat iron my hair. I am nervous as heck that I would get heat damage. My curls are medium in texture and I have a lot of hair. My hair straightens easily so I fear doing it. I may try it once a month for a couple of months beginning in October and see what happens.

  • Alicia says:

    I work out (and sweat!) a lot and just cannot wear straight hair for more than a few days. I hate the look of two textures, so once my roots curl up, its time to wash it out. My hair does well with just being straightened by heat a few times a year. When I used to straighten it more frequently I had heat damage and split ends like crazy!

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