Low Manipulation + Protective Hairstyling

Each bend and curve in kinky coily hair represents a weak point. So this means when you wash, comb, or style your hair these bends and curves are easily broken.

One of the keys to growing long healthy hair is reducing how much you manipulate it. Combing, brushing, and styling all add stress to the hair that causes breakage. Especially if you have tightly coiled hair, you will find it hard to avoid breakage with daily styling. Here are some tips for reducing how often you manipulate your hair.


Whether you are trying to maintain healthy hair or grow longer hair, you want to cut down on the amount of times you actually comb your hair, and when you do comb you want to comb the RIGHT WAY.

You want to GENTLY comb your hair starting from your ends and work your way up to the roots. Doing the reverse is a big no, no, that may land you with tangles and breakage.



Cutting down on how much you comb will enable you to have better length retention and it will aid in reducing splits and breakage. Finger combing your hair prior to combing is also a great alternative that offers a more gentle way to detangle your hair.

You always want to comb your hair with a wide tooth comb or denman brush, from the ends of your hair to the roots, and always add some type of slip or moisture to your hair whether it be your favorite hair oil or creme.


If you are wondering how you can reduce the manipulation of your tresses here is how!

Protective Hairstyles

Protective styling is anything that protects the ends of your hair, which also keeps the need for you to comb or manipulate your hair down to a minimum. Avoiding daily styling is one of the key things that will help you to see a difference in your hair.

Styles such as twist outs and braid outs also eliminate the need for you to put stress on your hair through styling. You can wear your hair in a protective style for a week or two then let your hair down for a beautiful low manipulation twist out style. Twist outs and braid outs are great for giving your hair a breather from being wrapped up all the time and give you the benefit of enjoying your curls!

Twist Out


Low manipulation and protective styling are often overlooked but they are a crucial piece of growing longer hair. Add this to your regimen and you will see a big difference in your hair’s ability to retain hair length.

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43 thoughts on “Low Manipulation + Protective Hairstyling”

  1. Hello, I have an extremely thin , fine and soft natural hair! Just a little conditioning and its easy to comb! With a nice curl pattern but it literally has no weight. And so low density that a lot of these styles don’t look nice on me! My problem is everytime i put my hair in a protective style it breaks badly! My hair doesn’t need any reason to break! It just does! I am presently thinking of staying away from protective styles so i can treat with oils and protein mask but then how to i style it? I literally have no length retention and its just stressing me out! I keep losing my edges with every hair style i do! Please help

  2. Okay. I had to look this up and try to find a video of what you mean. It was majorly unclear to me that you aren’t literally combing/brushing backwards–you’re just starting by coming the ends the normal way, then you work your way up. I thought you mant actually combing it backwards, the way white chicks do to tease their hair or give it the illusion of volume.

    I was thinking “but…why on earth would I DO THAT?”

    If you have a video of what you mean for us super duper novices, that would be very helpful. I’ve only been natural for a year and there is SO MUCH info to grapple with, and SO MANY products, it’s really hard to decipher some of this stuff for a person who has zero experience in many aspects of it. Thanks for attempting to clarify, my brain was stuck on something else entirely.

    1. Thank you for this suggestion! It will make for a great video for the Black Naps’ YouTube channel and I can update this page with it. I do understand how this can sound confusing if you are hearing it for the first time with no visuals.

  3. …I’m struggling with the backwards combing thing. I just….don’t see how that’s supposed to NOT break my hair. Did I read that correctly? You suggest brushing from the ends to the roots? I just cannot see how you wouldn’t cause major damage that way, especially for kinky 4c girl like myself…

    I’m afraid to even try it.

    1. If you are using a wide tooth comb, paddle brush, or denman brush this should not cause breakage. I find that I have less tangles, breakage, and less of a struggle getting through my 4b/c hair combing from the ends up. However, there are some people who do not prefer this method and that is quite alright.

      1. I do use wide-toothed comb and a big detangler sometimes. But, if you brush backwards how can you get the coils to form? I don’t mean to be combative or anything, I just genuinely am confused. I’ve been using a wide-toothed brush and sometimes a detangler to define my coils (paired with something like Miss Jessie’s Coily Custard). They just come out much more pronounced and springy when I do that, and they usually stay that way during the day. So, what does the reverse combing accomplish? Is there a desired result or is it just a method of simply combing through hair?

        1. For me, if I comb from roots down to the ends I find it much harder to get through my hair. Combing from ends to roots is suppose to accomplish the goal of making it easier to detangle. If I were looking to define my coils, I would finger comb rather than using a comb or brush so I do not remove the curl pattern.

        2. May i suggest aunt jackies moisturizing instant detangle therapy it provides great slip, i have 4c hair and it immediately makes detangling a breeze!

        3. She doesn’t mean to “back comb.” She mean start combing towards to ends but start the combing at the ends downward. Then move comb a little higher and comb towards the end again once you’ve detangled the very end.* You are still combing downward, in the direction away from the root* you just won’t start detangling at the root.

  4. I have had this experience as well particularly with toyokalon hair twice the first time , I had gotten nubian twist done by a family friend three days after I got them installed my hair was itching like crazy naturally I thought my scalp was dry. After about a week of DIGGING in my scalp I finally got my body’s hit that was not a case of dry scalp the second time i had a reaction was simply because i did not read the type of hair which goes to show always read the packaging that your hair product is coming in.

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