The correct way to blow-dry natural hair
Q: Every time I go to get my hair braided the stylist wants to do a blow-dry. When I am blow-drying my own hair for a special occasion or length check, how can I ensure minimal damage?
A: You are correct in your conviction that it is unnecessary to blow-dry natural hair in order to make it manageable. So long as the hair is properly deep-conditioned, moisturised and stretched, it should be straightforward to manage. If you find that your hair tangles a lot while plaiting, styling, or combing, it is probably a sign that you need a trim. Aside from that, it is best to avoid putting direct heat on your natural hair.
On the occasions when you decide to blow-dry your own hair or your daughter’s hair yourself, here is how to do it right. Start with clean, freshly shampooed and deep conditioned hair. It should be dried with a microfiber towel, a leso/khanga or an old t-shirt. This prevents unnecessary tangling of the strands. Never blow-dry dirty hair.
Thoroughly detangle your hair with your fingers and a comb BEFORE blow-drying. If you go in directly with the blow-drier you will experience a lot of breakage. Apply a heat protectant on slightly damp hair and divide hair into sections. Use clips to separate each section. Work systematically through them using a wide-tooth comb or just the plain blow-drier attachment (tension blow-drying method) and medium to low heat. When blow drying make sure the air flows in the same direction the cuticles lie naturally. Leave a little moisture in the hair for manageability, instead of aiming for bone-dry hair.
Once you finish blow-drying, you can moisturise or oil the hair. Too much product before applying heat will yield poor results. This video by Nappy Fu explains how to gently blow out Type 4c hair to make it soft and manageable without using combs or brushes. This other video shows how to safely blow dry your child’s hair.