hair tie showing the banding method on natural hair
Curly Hair Care

A 3-Step Guide To The Banding Method on Natural Hair

Ever experiencing the stress of running to a mirror to see how your style looks the next day?

If you're looking to wake up with stretched AND defined curls (I know, it sounds impossible!), you have to try the banding method. Curls be looking FLAWLESS in the morning:

It’s important to understand that natural hair is sensitive AF: to environmental changes, to our fingers and yes, to our sleeping patterns!

When we sleep at night, we primarily rest our heads on one side more often than the other side (this is also one reason why one side of our hair looks better than the other!).

We toss and turn unconsciously, potentially ruining our perfectly coiffed styles.

The true trick in making your style longer (aside from the products you use) is how you set your hair at night.

This is the difference between the success of a 5-day twist out, vs a twist out that flops after 2 days.

And we got the key for you: the banding method.

Popular Youtuber and now successful businesswoman Whitney White (aka Naptural85) coined both the term and the method, claiming that it’s the only way she sleeps at night.

And guess what: it’s genius.

If you’re looking for the best way to sleep with natural hair to retain your style and moisture levels for longer, you have to try it.

Ready to find out how to do the banding method on natural hair? Let’s go!!

how to do the banding method on natural hair

The Problem With The Pineapple Method

If you’re sleeping with your hair in a pineapple (especially if you’re Type 3c and 4), let me be the first to tell you: this is extremely detrimental to your hair.

Now, if you’re Type 3b and below, with looser ringlets, the pineapple may work for you, and may actually keep your ringlets fluffy and defined for longer.

But for my Type 3c and ESPECIALLY Type 4 naturals, the pineapple method may do the exact opposite of what we want.

In a nutshell, here’s what the pineapple method will do to your curls:

  • Loosen and flatten the curl definition
  • Make the hair extremely tangled, especially at the crown
  • Cause single-strand knots at the ends
  • Cause unnecessary shedding during the next detangling session

Now, does any of that sound fun? I don’t think so!

Here’s where the banding method comes into play 🙂

What Is The Banding Method?

The banding method is when you sleep with your natural hair tied down (with non-abrasive hair ties) down the length of your hair.

This may sound silly, but there’s a few reasons why this method is one of the best ways of sleeping with natural hair:

Banding Method on Natural Hair:

Benefit 1 - Stretches Out Curls

Shrinkage is an inherent characteristic of natural hair. The tighter your curl pattern, the more shrinkage you will experience. My Type 4s can attest to this!

Although shrinkage is a sign of healthy coils (if your curls aren’t shrinking anymore, you need a protein treatment ASAP), sometimes we want to show off our length. And that’s okay!

Benefit 2 - Reduces Single-Strand Knots/Tangles

Single-strand knots and tangles result in unnecessary hair loss and breakage, and can really damage our length retention journeys if we aren’t careful.

The banding method reduced the likelihood of tangles and single-strand knots because the hair ties holds the curls in line. The curls don’t get in front of each other and knot up!

Benefit 3 - Retains Style for Longer

How many of us cry in the mirror when we see our twist out flop only after 2 days? Super frustrating!

One of the reasons why this happens is because of our sleeping styles. Those of us who are aggressive sleepers, i.e. toss and turn, are unaware of our curls being squished and smushed in the process.

When you band your hair down, you’re protecting your curls from the tension of our sleeping habits.

Benefit 4 - Preserves Definition AND Volume

For those of us who prefer volume but would still like to maintain some curl definition, the banding method is perfect for you.

When you band your hair down, you focus your banding efforts at the root of the hair and in the middle of the hair. The ends of your hair remain un-banded to keep your curls defined there.

The result, after you take down the bands in the morning, is super fluffy hair with definition at the ends. Exactly what we want!

The Banding Method on Short Natural Hair

This method is especially useful on short natural hair for the above reasons.

Looking to elongate your curls, giving the illusion of longer hair? The banding method on short natural hair can stretch the hair immensely, making it look longer and fuller.

Trying to get more volume? This method will provide volume to your curls, without the damage of constantly picking at it.

Now, if you have 4c hair, this method is DEFINITELY for you. 4c natural hair shrinks immensely, so the banding method on 4c natural hair will ensure that your length is adequately represented.

Essentially, the banding method on short natural hair is absolutely perfect. 🙂 

How To Do The Banding Method

On dry, newly washed hair, simply section your hair in 5-7 sections where your hair naturally wants to part (one in the front, two in the back and 1-2 on each side).

It’s preferable to use your fingers to separate rather than a comb to avoid the style being too choppy the next day.

Wrap the hair tie at the roots of the hair, in the middle of the section, and then close to the ends (about 10-20 cm away from the ends) to keep the definition intact.

ayana aden showing the banding method

Our editor-in-chief showing how she does the banding method. Each section is banded at the top near the roots, and in the middle of the section.

Notice how there are two sections in the back, one on the right side and two on the left side.

Since her hair is parted on the left, she has more sections on that side to keep the hair stretched (the more sections, the more stretched the hair will be).

The lowermost part of each section is not banded to retain the curl pattern.

In the morning, spread some oil on your hands and slowly release each sections. Fluff your hair out to your liking and voila! Stretched, volumized hair!

This method will 1) minimize breakage and reduce the chance of single-strand knots, and 2) keep your wash and go looking good for a few days!

Final Thoughts on the Banding Method

The banding method is truly the best way to set your hair at night. This method has shown that it can retain your style for longer, keep the hair tangle-free and prevent the dreaded single-strand knots. 

Do you follow the banding method for natural hair? Share your tips down below!!