How to Decide Whether to Blow-Dry Natural Hair Before Flat-Ironing

Blow dryer and brush
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If you're Black woman with natural hair, how to avoid damage is one of your top concerns. heat damage, especially from a hot blow dryer or flat iron can wreak havoc on your tresses. But what to do if you want to rock the straight look for a while? Should you blow dry your hair first? The answer to the question of whether to blowdry your hair before flat ironing it is: it depends. Several factors determine whether you should apply blow-dryer heat to your hair before you apply even more heat in the form of a thermal styling tool like a flat iron or curling iron. Following these guidelines will make it less likely that your hair suffers some kind of damage. Ahead, learn whether blow drying your hair before flat ironing it is safe for natural hair.

Should You Blow Dry Hair Before Flat Ironing?

If you're planning on blow-drying your hair before flat-ironing it, there are a couple of things you should think about. First, you need to invest a good heat protectant. A heat protectant is going to help decrease the amount of damage your hair gets from using a hot styling tool, while ensuring a frizz-free finish. How do they work? Well, they help seal off the cuticle and form a protective barrier over your strands, shielding them from damage that the heat of your blow dryer and flat iron can cause.

Second, is your hair relaxed? If so, there's no need to blow dry before ironing it. A better bet is for you to wrap your hair while wet and sit under a hooded or bonnet dryer until it's nearly dry. Once it's completely dry, feel free to further straighten it with a flat iron.

Third, is your hair suffering any kind of heat damage? If it is, it's not a good idea to apply any heat at this time, including even a warm iron. It's a much safer bet to condition, condition, condition and possibly trim away dead ends that aren't going to recover. At the very least, use a product like Carol's Daughter Monoi Split End Sealer daily to give dry tresses a much-needed boost.

Does Blow Drying Damage Natural Hair?

If your hair is natural, consider the texture before tackling it with a double dose of heat. Fine and thin textures should stick to flat iron heat only. Very thick textures may want to blow dry hair before straightening; a gentle blow dry on low-to-medium heat on air-dried hair is the best way to begin the straightening process without overdoing it. Simply use a nozzle attachment and brush through the hair with a paddle brush in small sections. Alternately, use a comb attachment on your dryer.

How to Safely Blow Out Hair at Home

Once your hair is dry, iron it with an appropriate level of heat. But what's appropriate? The best flat irons come with adjustable temperature settings. Please try and avoid any that simply go from low to high because you don't know what the "high" setting really means; it could very well be too hot for your hair.

On an adjustable iron, begin with the lowest heat that straightens your hair in one or two passes. This could be anywhere in the range of 300 to 400 degrees. Try and limit the number of passes you make on each hair section to minimize heat damage.

Shop the Best At-Home Blowout Items

Remember, when heat styling, you always need:

  • A good heat protectant
  • An adjustable iron
  • Regular conditioning, especially deep conditioning

Also, limit your heat straightening sessions to no more than once per week. Between times, wrap your hair to keep it straight. While it's not necessary to blow dry your hair before ironing, a gentle pre-straightening with low-to-medium air can lessen the time and direct heat required of your flat iron.

Mielle Organics Heat Protectant
Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray $14
Cantu Shea Butter Thermal Heat Protectant
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Olaplex No 7 Bonding Oil
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Design Essentials Agave & Lavender Serum
Design Essentials Natural Agave & Lavender Weightless Thermal Protectant Serum $8
Silk Elements MegaSilk Olive Heat Protection Spray
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Chi Lava Flat Iron
Chi Lava Ceramic Hairstyling Iron $160
Kim Kimble Star Treatment Masque
Kim Kimble Star Treatment Masque $14
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Briogio Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask $36

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