Gentle Styling: A New Way to Love Your Natural Hair


For years, protective styles have been the go-to way to style natural hair. These styles include braids/twists with extension hair, weaves, and high, mid, or low ponytails with added hair which can be stylish, versatile, and easy to maintain. But for some people, protective styles can also be damaging. 

That’s where gentle styling comes in. Gentle styling is a new approach and term coined by myself, Erin H. Maybin; it refers to styling natural hair that focuses on minimizing damage and promoting growth. It focuses on being mindful of the hair’s needs and avoids practices that can cause damage. This can include cleansing regularly, using proper tension, and the right tools, detangling gently, using moisturizing products, steam treatments, scalp analysis/treatment, avoiding heat/mechanical damage, and getting regular trims. With gentle styling, you can keep your hair healthy and strong while still looking your best.  

Benefits of Gentle Styling

  1. Less damage: Gentle styling methods are less likely to damage your hair than traditional protective styles. This is because they don’t involve pulling or twisting your hair tightly. 
  2. More growth: Gentle styling can help to promote hair growth because it doesn’t put as much stress on your hair follicles. 
  3. More versatility: Gentle styling can be used to create a variety of looks. You can wear your hair in twists, knotless braids (with a length that won’t jeopardize your hair follicles), soft buns, or even a loose ponytail. Headwraps or small satin/silk-covered scrunchies are a great accessory choice to pull your hair up, they come in an array of styles and can help prevent breakage or tangling, unlike traditional hair ties.  
  4. More confidence: When you know that your hair is healthy and strong, you’ll feel more confident. This is because your hair is a reflection of your overall health and well-being. 

Gentle styling is a great way to love your natural hair. It promotes health, versatility, and a stylish way to care for your hair that will help you feel more confident and beautiful as you continue your hair journey.

Here are a few hair care professionals that I know incorporate gentle styling: myself, @erinhmaybin, a gentle styling specialist based in Philly and NY, @dianecbailey who is a Dermatology Hair loss stylist, @ddacosta_beauty of Curly Textured Academy, and @omhhredroom all based in NYC.

The term “Gentle Styling” I am introducing is new and meant to shift our perspective, especially the words we use to describe things related to our well-being. Many haircare professionals already practice its methodology, they just haven’t put a name to it, but now we have one. To all of the haircare professionals who keep the integrity of your client’s hair and scalp intact without misuse of tension or over-saturation of products and have no problem telling your client NO to preserve the health of their hair and overall wellness, you are now a Gentle Styling Specialist. To the clients who know a stylist that meets this description, let them know their new name. 

Sign up for your weekly dose of beauty and brains.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Erin H. Maybin

Erin H. Maybin is a licensed Cosmetologist in NY, Pa & Ca, Educator, Advocate, and influential member of the NYS Appearance Enhancement Advisory Committee. As EVP of Education Development and co-founder of the Natural Hairstyle & Braid Coalition Erin spearheads the transformation of textured hair education in both private and public sectors. Her groundbreaking initiative, Hair S.T.E.A.M. LAB™ is an education platform that explores the science and artistry of hair using steam.

Learn more here

Follow me @erinhmaybin and @the_nhbc

Let’s connect

More from Erin H. Maybin


We’re a tease, but we always deliver.

Sign up for your weekly dose of beauty and brains.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.