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September 11, 2013

A Heat Styling Regimen for Natural Hair

*With cooler months approaching, I thought I'd repost for those that want to switch things up!*


by Alicia James of MsAliciaJames.com

When I found Youtube I decided that I would NEVER use heat on my natural hair. I developed this big fear of damage and a whole lot of other things. Once I became a little more comfortable with my hair and started to develop my own personal regimen, my opinion regarding the use of heat on my natural hair changed.

I did not start using heat in my natural hair journey until I turned two years natural. When I turned two years I did my first blow out. After blow drying my hair for the first time I found that I really enjoyed the stretch and the benefits I got from the stretched hair.

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Blow Drying Method I Use

Tension Method:
  • I shampoo my hair to make sure it is thoroughly clean.
  • I do a protein treatment to strengthen the strands of my hair.
  • I do a deep conditioning using my rinse out conditioner and my extra virgin olive oil to add moisture into the hair. (heat will dry the hair out, extra moisture is a plus)
  • Detangle the hair thoroughly.
  • I add my leave in and heat protectant and put the hair into twist or braids so that the hair air dries. I wait until it is about 75-90% dry.
  • After the hair dries I then section the hair off into smaller sections and start to blow dry each section.
  • Without using the comb attachment stretch the section of hair and start to run the blow dryer up and down the section. I hold and cover the ends of my hair. I don’t find it is necessary to add heat directly to my ends. I am not going for super straight hair. You can do so if needed.
  • Continue this movement until that section of hair is stretched and dry.
  • Repeat this process until the entire head is complete.
  • You can also do a cool shot at the end. The cool shot is supposed to lay the hair cuticle back down after the use of heat.

*Tension Method Demo*


How Often:

I blow dry my hair now 1-2 times a month. Now that my hair is much longer, I’ve limited the amount of times I am washing my hair. I blow dry after each wash. I have seen a huge difference in my hair since decreasing my wash days.

Moisturizing Blown out or Straightened Hair:

The key for me is making sure that I prepare my hair before using heat. I always deep condition my hair. Heat dries the hair out so adding moisture into the hair is great and minimizes frizz. I notice a big difference if I don’t deep condition before blow drying my hair. My hair frizzes and shrinks up immediately. Doing a thorough deep conditioning always keeps my hair moisturized for at least 7 days.

After a week I usually do a light dry finger detangling and add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil focusing on the ends first and then upward. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the few oils that are known to be able to penetrate the hair shaft. To help the hair absorb the oil I sometimes add the oil and sit under a bonnet hair dryer for about 10 minutes. This holds my hair for another 7 days, and then it is usually time for a nice wash. I can usually only go about two weeks without adding water to my hair.

If you cannot go several days without adding water:

You can spritz your ends lightly with water and then add a little oil to seal in the moisture. Do this by taking small sections, as soon as you add water and seal in the moisture, twist or braid the hair up immediately so that it stays stretched out. Once you are done with your entire head, you can wrap the hair or pull it up into a bun so that the hair does not revert or shrink up.


Again, if I need to set a style I use water only. My blow dried hair lasts so much longer when I am adding less product. Adding too much oil or product throughout the week can cause build up and greasy weighed down hair.

I use a leave in that is also a heat protectant. This helps to minimize the amount of products I am stacking on top of my hair. Less products, better results.

My Quick Tips:
  • Always blow dry on clean hair
  • It is okay to blow dry your ends, but limit the amount of high heat on them
  • The faster you can finish the better, which is why air drying before you blow dry is important. You want to limit the amount of heat you are using.
  • The more heat you use the better chance you have for heat damage. Try to create a regimen that doesn’t include heat multiple times throughout the week.
  • Add a good moisturizer or heat protectant that will help with minimizing frizz
  • Heat equals dry hair and dry hair equals breakage, so keep the hair moisturized. Don’t be afraid to add oil throughout the week. (when needed)
  • Air dry the hair before blow drying. I never blow dry on soaking wet hair, this can damage to the hair and also the hair can lose its elasticity. If the hair gets too dry, spritz lightly with water before blow drying. I don’t like the hair to be too dry, the blow dryer will just dry it out even more from my personal experience.
  • A trick (sort of trick LOL!) I use to stretch my blown out hair even more is leaving the freshly blown out hair in a bun for a day or two. This stretches the hair out more with less heat and also the blown out hair lasts longer.
  • As long as I have been using heat I have not seen any setbacks with my hair. I started using heat in my second year and at year four hit waist length. This is not the case for everyone! As far as heat training that is not my intentions or ultimate goal, but I do understand regular use of heat can alter the curl pattern. For over two years I have not noticed a change in my curl pattern. My coils are still super tight.
The use of heat is a personal choice. Always do your research before trying any new products or methods with your hair.

I hope that this helped someone!



  • Do you blow out your hair? What's your routine? Share the pros and cons of your heat styling routine. 

1 Chime in!:

Abby said...

I just blew dry and flat ironed my hair for the first time in a year. After wearing it straight, I decided to do my usual braid out routine with a little water, (enough to moisturize but bot ebough torevert it back) moisturizer, and macademia oil. I honestly love the benefits of heat styling, but I plan to do it once or twice a month as well. In the winter, my hair dries out so fast and tangles, and I cant moisturize it how I want or do wash and gos because it will freeze. Heat styling has saved me 40 minutes every night doing my braidouts (usually takes me an hoir every night, now it takes me 20 minutes), I don't get the crazy single strand knots, and it still allows me to take care of my hair as I would with no heat while saving time. I guess its all about balance. I tried wearung buns as protective styling but between the tangles, single strand knots, and all of the time with finger detangling, I got fed up. Thanks for the tips, I plan on using a minimal heat styling regimen until the warm weather returns.

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