Styling Short Relaxed Hair

Friday, 1 August 2014

This is one of my most read posts that I decided to revamp as the most common question I get from readers is how to style short hair in ways that don't cause damage. I started my relaxed hair journey in August 2010 with broken, uneven neck length hair. I couldn’t do much with this length, and having longer hair has made it easier to do low manipulation styles and generally let my hair be. That said, though styling short hair in healthy ways can be tricky, it is possible. You just have to be a lot more creative when finding work works.

Go heatless
Cutting the heat is really important and I know more than most that it's hard to give up those hot tools. The quicker you ditch them though, the easier it will be to prevent breakage. If you want straighter styles try roller setting to keep the heat to a minimum. If you're hair is too short to use rollers wet wrapping will be your best friend! When my hair was relaxed bone straight I didn't need to reach for my straighteners at all. I found simply smoothing the hair back with a gel (such as Aloe Vera) also really helped me disguise new growth.

Roll with it 
Instead of trying to work against your natural texture, work with it. This will make it easier to disguise new growth and I promise you won’t be fighting with your hair (as much if you’re anything like me) when it comes to styling. There are plenty of heatless styles you can try such as bantu knot outs, pin curls, twist outs, curlformers, bendy rollers and braid outs. I styled my shorter hair mostly like I do now - a lot of braid outs styled into messy buns. When I was at my shortest I would create a textured quiff or fringe (bangs) and use bobby to keep my ends off of my shoulders to protect them. You’d be surprised at how some careful pinning makes it look like you’ve got more length than you actually have.

Wig It
If you’re reluctant to do the above with your hair, extensions, half-wigs, drawstring ponytails, weaves, braids or twists are all an option to prevent hand-in-hair syndrome until you’ve got more length to work with. If you're going to rely on extensions etc please don't forget about your own hair underneath! There's a fine line between low maintenance and neglect - and I know about that all too well. 

Experimentation is key when it comes to finding the magic formula, and I’ve had my fair share of bad hair days (still do too) before landing on what works for me. As long as you’re not damaging your hair there’s no reason why discovering what works for you shouldn’t be an enjoyable experience. Have fun with it and take lots of photos! My one wish is that I took more photos when my hair was at it’s shortest.

Here are the few examples I could find of my hair in damage-free styles

(clockwise from left) Slicked back into low bun | Curlformers | Pincurls | Bendy rollers | Rollerset | Bantu knots

How do/did you style your short hair to keep it healthy?

Lesley x


  1. It's so strange to see you in short hair. Great options for styling. I like doing Faux bobs

    1. Thank you Tomie! I love the look of faux bobs too x

  2. although i'm not relaxed, i've gone the wig route for growing my hair underneath during its short phase (and still do! even though it's longer now). great way to go for low maintenance "in-between" stages. love your styles! you look great in all of them :) xx

    1. Thank you Mary. Wigs are definitely are a great way to grow out your hair x

  3. That second style is so beautiful!

  4. Hi Les, i like the second pics ( the one with you in a red top). Would love to know how you got them lovely curls,links to any post or any tutorial you've done on that will be fine. As for the hand-in-hair syndrome ,i'm gradually recovering from that as i'm planning on investing in a good Great post.



  5. Thank you Uzo. I got the curls using curlformers which I don't have a post on as I've only used them twice, unfortunately. Good luck with your wig! I rarely wear mine but it's such a good way of protecting your hair - I play with mine far too much x

  6. I have extensions right now, I have for about 4 years. You said something about low maintenance vs neglect, what would you consider each to be?


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