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How To Blow Dry Natural Hair Without Suffering Heat Damage

Avatar • Jun 20, 2014

Natural Hair Blow Dryer

For most naturals keen on growing their hair, avoiding heat is a very sacred mantra. We know that blowdrying, even on a low setting, literally dries the hair by taking internal moisture levels to below what air drying would produce and never rebalancing with humidity in air. You can read the science here.

However, some naturals actually attribute low temperature blow drying to being able to manage their hair better as hair dries faster, has reduced tangling and shrinkage due to the stretching and it is easier to part hair for styling. So is this a double standard or not? Here is my analysis:

1. Low frequency and low heat blowdrying may be less damaging than handling high shrinkage and tangling
If your hair has a tendency to shrink and tangle and heatless methods of stretching your hair are either too time consuming or prevent your hair from fully drying for hours, then a low heat blow dry may the best resolution for you. If this is done once every 2–3 weeks, the frequency of heat use is low enough such that heat damage should be able to be contained, however, this goes hand in hand with point number 2 below.

2. Listen to your hair
There are some us who know our hair just simply does not agree with any type of heat. There are others who know low heat is ok and others who know any type of heat is fine. The point here is that your hair is predictable. If you try low heat blow drying and end up with severely dry and splitting hair, do consider that even with a change of products or techniques, your hair just may not want heat. In this event, even low temperature blow drying is not ideal. Also if your hair is perpetually dry and you are currently experiencing breakage, then blow drying is really not for you as it will only make things worse.

3. How to : Type 4 hair

This video from Jouelzy shows a low tension blow dry where you do not pass a comb through the hair with every pass. There is a lot of texture retained with this method and the idea is not to blow hair out to as stretched as it can be. This would require both high heat and combing creating cumulatively more damage. The aim is to stretch hair and allow easier styling. The one recommendation I would add is that you should use a concentrator nozzle as shown but avoid it contacting your hair as that can lead to bubble hair.

4. How to : Type 3 hair

If you have type 3 hair and your aim is not to stretch your hair but to keep it curly and dry your hair faster, then a diffuser attachment is what you need. This is demonstrated in this video from Seaesh. As the name suggests, a diffuser spreads the air from the blowdryer over a wider area and through severak smaller nozzles; this helps to not break up curls compared to when using a blow dryer with a concentrator nozzle or no nozzle at all. If you do want to break up the curls and get a more blown out look then the type 4 video is for you.

 

Do you think you’ll try to implement blow drying into your regimen?

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JenniD
JenniD
6 years ago

Nice article Jc. Heat usage is all about trial and error. My experience has been that my hair does better without it. An occasional low tension blow dry won’t completely kill my hair but adding it back to my regimen on a consistent basis is probably asking for trouble. I am thankful that I took a strict no heat stance for all these years cause I taught myself to maintain my hair without assistants from tools like blow driers and flat irons. I know that they are there if I want to use them but it sure feels good not… Read more »

imani
imani
6 years ago

I have to blow dry my roots with every wash day.i learned the hard way that my hair to too dense for 100% air drying.i dont use heat on my ends but I diffuse dry my roots before I do my twists or bantu knots.

Aiych
Aiych
6 years ago

I have high density type 4 hair (ranges from 4a-4c) and I’ve found that tension blowdrying my hair is best. My strands are average in diameter but very dense and prone to extreme shrinkage. My bsl hair can shrink all the way up to the nape of my neck! I was always reading that direct heat was akin to the devil so I went for a long time without using it. Big mistake. The finger detangling was out of control and my braid-stretched hair would just shrink back up unless I kept it in braids or twists all the time.… Read more »

silkynaps
silkynaps
6 years ago

I wear my hair in its natural coily state 98% of the time and I really hate walking around with wet hair; so, I’ll alternate several methods of drying: 1. Sit beneath a hard bonnet dryer set on COOL air. This method takes forever, but not nearly as long as air drying. I’ve tried warm air (it’s not direct heat), but my crown and canopy would dry too fast while my ends were still soaking wet. Cool air provides more even drying. My hair takes about 1 hour, 30 minutes. And that’s 90% dry. I start with very wet hair… Read more »

Smallfro
Smallfro
6 years ago

I have been wearing wash n gos and it take my hair 2–3 days to air dry. So I’ve been sitting under a warm bonnet dryer. I blow dried with a diffuser this morning and my hair is gorgeous. I blow dried for 15 minutes at 0600 and my hair is still wet in places. I had thought about a better bonnet dryer, but I think it is the density of my hair.

janeleonard
6 years ago

Blow drying too much can cause hair loss and damage the hair in its follicles. Hence blow drying at very less frequency that does not over heat the hair can help to reduce hair fall and brittleness.

Jo
Jo
6 years ago

I usually go for a walk in the sun for about an hour. By then, my hair is dry and i’ve gotten a workout. 🙂

JazzWife
6 years ago

I don’t blow dry or use any heat on my hair at all. I don’t mind shrinkage but I do stretch my hair through hair styling like twists and buns. I’m an air dry natural. Using fewer lighter products reduces my dry time. I also don’t mind not having my hair completely dry as long as it is not sopping wet. I think my hair prefers that … then I don’t have to worry about heat damage.

AnaDion
AnaDion
6 years ago

I implement blow-drying my hair in my regimen, and have for a while. I alternate between doing what I refer to as a “defined tension blow out” and wet set twist outs. With the former, after washing, detangling, etc. etc., I separate my hair into a minimum of 4 sections, but more likely 8 or 9 and lightly coat my hair with a leave-in, oil, and a bit of ecostyler gel if I feel like it (I usually don’t), rake my finger through until my curls are popping, then hold the hair taut, with the last half inch or so hidden… Read more »

LBell
LBell
6 years ago

When I think of direct heat, I think of irons (flat, curling, etc.). I haven’t used irons on my hair in over a decade. The closest I’ve ever come to experiencing damage with a blow-dryer was back when I was using a comb attachment. I’ve never had as many split ends as I had back when I was doing that. Today, the blow-drying-with-tension step is a regular part of my styling routine. I have been doing it about once a week for most of this year. Currently I’m experimenting with washing every four days, so that means twice a week or… Read more »

Nikesha Goodman
Nikesha Goodman
5 years ago

I went without heat the first 3 years of being natural. Then I decided to blow dry and flat iron my hair and I just preferred it. I don’t flatiron often. Maybe once a year but I have started blow drying my hair every two weeks when I wash it. I found leaving it wet and trying to air dry left me losing more hair then I wanted. I have been doing this over a year now and experienced no heat damage and i use high heat with no problem. My hair is bsl and I think it works for… Read more »

Nadia Bailey
Nadia Bailey
3 years ago

I do not straighten my hair as much as I used to, but I blow dry alot. So I was in need of a good quality heat protection spray. I had read some reviews of the Somaluxe Argan Oil that it left hair feeling not heavy or greasy. So I tried it

I just use the Somaluxe Argan Oil after I finish showering and it has totally protected by hair from the blowdryer. It has a lovely fresh smell and my hair just looks SO GOOD after using it

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