In the world of hair, blowouts are lauded for their versatility. They can serve as the base for a variety of hairdos (bedazzled ponytail, anyone?) or can be worn as is. On natural hair, the blowouts of today aren't expected to make the hair bone straight—while it does loosen the hair some, you'll still get a textured result with this method. After all, a blowout's primary function is to stretch the hair, and this can make room for a number of hairstyles including topknots, braids, and even hair jewelry. (For those with tightly coiled hair, the stretched out state can cut down on too much manipulation, which can help with length retention). But to get to all the fun styling, we first need to learn how to blow out natural hair. If you're just learning how to master your technique, we've got all the tips from celebrity hairstylist and natural hair expert Geo Brian Hennings. (PSA: he's also sharing what the best blowout products for natural hair are).
Meet the Expert
Geo Brian Hennings is a celebrity hairstylist and the hairstylist for HBO Max's Gossip Girl reboot.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about how to master a natural hair blowout.
What is a Natural Hair Blowout?
"A blowout is when you take your hair from its natural texture to a straight smooth texture, making the cuticle smooth and shiny with the use of heat," explains Hennings. Traditionally, a blowout is a method of straightening natural Black hair, usually performed with a blow dryer that has a comb attachment. Alternately, you can use a blow dryer with a focused nozzle and a paddle brush or a round-bristled brush. In the '60s and '70s, this technique was used on natural hair to create a perfectly round afro and to make the hair appear longer.
How to Prep Natural Hair For a Blowout
First things first, prepping your hair is key to a flawless end result. "The easiest thing you can do if your hair is extremely curly is to detangle your hair by brushing it out or combing it out while it's wet," advises Hennings. "I recommend that your hairstylist give you a hair mask that day in addition to using a thermal protective shampoo and conditioner."
How to Do a Natural Hair Blowout at Home
Below, Hennings offers a step-by-step tutorial for blowing out natural hair.
Here's What You'll Need
- Heat protectant
- Three to four ponytail holders
- Detangling hair brush
- After prepping the hair, comb through with a detangling brush and a detangling product.
- Next, section the hair into four to five sections using ponytail holders.
- Spritz hair with a heat protectant to safeguard the strands.
- Begin blowdrying each section, starting with the bottom sections and going from tip to root. Keep the heat moving instead of allowing it to sit in one area for long.
- Repeat the process all over the hair.
Hennings notes that the more sections you can make, the easier it will be to blow out.
How Long Does a Natural Hair Blowout Last
Well, that depends on a few lifestyle and location factors. The average blowout can last up until you decide to schedule your next wash day. However, if you work out or decide to stretch your coils in the middle of a humid southern summer, your blowout may not last as long as you hope. Before you put your blowdryer down in defeat, a good foundation (a humidity fighting heat protectant) and nightly maintenance will help re-stretch your curls if you run into any blowout roadblocks.
How to Maintain Your Blowout
Now that you're sporting a new 'do, ensuring it stays fresh is the next step. Hennings recommends wrapping the hair and wearing a scarf at night to help protect the style. "Or, you can do a high ponytail when you sleep so that the ponytail stays on top of your head," he says. When it comes to regular heat styling, keep in mind that it can cause damage to the hair in the long run. To combat this, Hennings recommends using a hair mask and also embracing your curls when weather permits. "I say, in the summer let it be curly so you don’t have to fight humidity," he notes.
How to Style Natural Hair After a Blowout
Once you've stretched your hair with this technique, you can wear your natural hair as-is in a rounded afro or you can style it in other ways. "I love a good half-up half-down style," says Hennings. "When your blowout gets a little old, try braiding the side or the top—it'll help prolong the life of the blow out." And of course, the classic top knot or bun is always an option.
Shop These Products for At-Home Blowouts
Below, find expert-approved products for achieving a natural blowout.
Hennings recommends this shampoo (along with its matching conditioner) for its ability to block out humidity and help protect hair against heat damage.
"I love using these to section out the hair for my natural hair clients," says Hennings. "It's great because you can speed through blowdrying your hair without getting it tangled in a clip or a rubber band." Plus, it's the perfect ponytail holder to use while sleeping—it doesn't leave behind an indentation mark on the hair come morning.
"This is my favorite product for detangling as it helps make the blow drying process easier," Hennings says. It's ultra-detangling and uses coconut oil to hydrate and help keep frizziness at bay.
Hennings swears by this hair dryer from Dyson. "I understand it can be pricey, but look at it as an investment; how much you would be saving from not going to the salon every week."
This protective dry shampoo is Hennings-approved for its ability to absorb dirt, oil, product buildup, and grease. It also features hydrating lavender and chamomile to soothe dry, itchy scalp.
How often should you get a blowout on natural hair?
When it comes to blowouts, there can be too much of a good thing. To avoid breakage and dryness, try to limit your blowouts on natural hair to no more than one per month.
How should you sleep on a natural hair blowout?
The best way to make your natural hair blowout last overnight is to wrap hair in a silk scarf (or, at the very least, use a silk pillowcase) while you sleep. Also, try sleeping with your hair pulled up over the pillow, rather than under you (so if you roll over during the night, you won't put weight on top of your volume).
What's the best way to refresh a natural hair blowout?
First off, it's important to steer clear of products for a few days post-blowout, so you don't weigh the hair down. After that, you can refresh a blowout on natural hair with a product like Oribe’s Mystify Restyling Spray ($22).