I’ve been doing comb blow outs (or rather, having my mother do them on me) since I was a child — comb blow outs were the standard. I never imagined that my hair would smooth out using a tension blow out. Those looked like something you did when your hair was already straight. Week after week, I watched my mother sweep up broken pieces of hair after every blow dry session.
When I first went natural, this was one of the main things I wanted to alleviate — that aspect of mechanical damage to my hair — but still, I didn’t think tension blow drying would work for me. I even had a Chi dryer that had a nozzle and the strangest comb attachment ever (that was also very awkward to use). Years later, I bought a T3 dryer that a comb attachment wasn’t made for. It was then that I tried tension drying and I haven’t looked back. Here are some pros and cons of each technique.
Comb Blow Out
Pros: Quicker Drying Time. Stretches hair by default. Repeatedly detangles.
Cons: Lots of mechanical manipulation, which often leads to increased shedding and breakage. Hair continuously tangles during the drying process.
Tension Blow Out
What It Is: Using the concentrator nozzle or head of the blow dryer held at close proximity to a hair section held taut, moving the dryer up and down the length of the hair until it dries.
Pros: Minimal mechanical manipulation, which results in less breakage and hair loss. Smoothes hair better than a comb blow out.
Cons: Close proximity to heat. Hair may tangle during drying process and will need to be detangled again in a dry state before styling. Longer drying time.
Ultimately, I definitely prefer tension drying, even if it does take a bit longer. The fact that it decreases breakage or hair loss during the drying process is more important than a quicker drying time. Also, if I need to detangle again, all I do is add a tiny bit of moisturizer, then comb through and put the section in a bun or twist. I certainly don’t miss the ball of hair on the bathroom floor that I became so familiar with during blow drying.
Which method do you prefer?