Heat usage isn’t for every natural, so before reading any further, it is recommended that you view these BGLH articles:
Blow dry after a wash – to reduce formation of knots and tangles
If you have mega shrinkage and dense hair, then you are more than likely familiar with single-strand knots (SSKs) and tangles. Maybe you find that braiding, twisting or sectioning your damp strands does little to divert tangles and matting, (especially if you intend on wearing your hair loose). Perhaps, air-drying via other methods (such as threading or roller setting) is just too tedious. This is where blow drying might be a beneficial solution.
Many naturals who opt to blow dry like to use the tension method or a comb attachment. However, if you are like me and end up with scraggly or tangled ends, there is another more effective technique demonstrated by Reniece, that is fairly gentle on the strands. (Though this video is not a full tutorial, it is still helpful.) After blow drying, you can then go into your usual braid/twist routine or a simple bun/updo without the fear of meshing or creating tangles and SSKs.
Additional benefit – easier and quicker detangling prior to wash
You may find that another advantage of blow drying after your wash is a more efficient detangling process before your next wash. Why is this? Well, with less knots and tangles comes less of a hassle to detangle. This, in turn, means less time and less breakage. Speaking from past experience, when I would detangle on previously straightened hair, the process was tremendously faster and my breakage was virtually non-existent.
- Do use a silicone-based heat protectant prior to blow drying.
— Do perform a moisturizing and strengthening deep condition prior to blow drying.
— Avoid being rough while blow drying. (Again, check out the above video.)
Roller set under a hooded dryer – another method
If you would rather avoid direct heat, then another way to get similar benefits as blow drying is the roller set. After your usual wash routine, apply big rollers to your hair in small sections. The bigger the rollers, the more stretched (and less curly) your hair will be. The smaller the sections, the more stretched and smoother your results. Sit under a hooded dryer for more effective stretching and smoothness via indirect heat AND to speed the drying process.
Other forms of heat and how to use them
Heat for conditioner penetration –
OPTION 1: Warm your conditioner then apply to your hair.
OPTION 2: Apply conditioner to your hair, put on a shower cap, then blow dry for heat OR sit under a hooded dryer.
Steaming for moisture –
OPTION 1: Use an actual hair steamer or create your own. (There are DIY tutorials online.)
OPTION 2: Leave your hair exposed while taking a warm/hot shower.
How do you incorporate heat into your regimen for length retention?