Bunning Without Breakage: The 5 Rules of Bunning Natural Hair

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Although there has been debate surrounding bunning as a protective style, you might be into buns for reasons other than  length retention. For instance, you might hate wet hair during winter and want confirmed multi-day hair or you might just like how buns look. Whatever your reasons for indulging, there are some tips can help ensure that you do not hinder your hair journey with bunning. Check ‘em out:

1. Don’t bun tangled hair

It can be very tempting to resort to a bun when your hairstyle is on its last leg, but remember that bunning tends to hold your hair in place (including tangles). Would you want tangled hair, sitting packed together for two weeks? I highly doubt it. Even if you only finger detangle, at least try to make sure there aren’t any serious knots in your mane before styling it into a bun. Your hair will thank you when you take the bun down.

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2. Avoid hair ties that can cause dryness

Sure, I could tell you to search for satin scrunchies and hair ties, but why even bother with a tie at all? I recommend using hair sticks when styling classic donut buns. They hold your hair securely without straining your edges, and you don’t have to worry about harsher materials sitting on your ends for days. If you want a high messy bun, make sure you oil your ends (I prefer thicker butters for this, like shea butter or cocoa butter) for protection and reduce friction between your hair and the hair tie. Product Suggestions: Simply Divine Botanicals How Now Brown Cacao,Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade, Bekura Beauty Java Bean and Honey Hair Balm.

3. Make sure you’re still moisturizing your hair while you’re bunning

Before oiling your ends, it’s important that you also keep your hair moisturized while you’re bunning. I moisturize my hair at least every other day while bunning and sometimes daily if it’s really dry outside. Make sure the consistency of your moisturizer is correct — I’ve found that moisturizers with creamier lotion-like consistencies, such as SDOT Beauty’s CurlFriend Smoothie Leave-In, Oyin Hair Dew, or Beija-Flor Naturals Creme Brulee, tend to settle into dry hair better than a conditioner or moisturizer with a wetter consistency, like Curl Junkie Curl Rehab orDarcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed conditioner (I still use these as leave-ins on wet hair, just not dry). Split your dry hair into four sections and apply enough moisturizer to soften hair, but do not oversaturate.

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4. Switch bun positions

To reduce pressure on your edges, switch your bun back and forth between high and low every few days. I usually wear a low “librarian-type” bun for a few day, then switch to a giant high bun. Always apply moisturizer of some kind to make your hair more pliable while you’re manipulating it and keep styles as loose as possible.

5. Refresh your bun without applying more product

It can be difficult to keep your bun looking fresh, especially when it’s humid or rainy/snowy outside. But instead of layering additional gels over what’s already in your hair, try reactivating your products. If my bun starts to look messy, I let the water run over my hair while it’s still in my bun for a couple of seconds in the shower – this reactivates my gel enough to smooth my hair nicely without wetting my hair so much that it’s fragile in a stretched state. Once out of the shower, smooth the damp hair back into your bun and tie it down with a headscarf for about 20 minutes. Shine and sleekness renewed! You can also use a natural sea salt spray on your scalp to absorb excess oil and minimize itchiness.

What are your favorite techniques for maintaining your bun?

*This article also appears on Black Girl with Long Hair.