Like many black women I have experimented and tested my hair to see what works best for my locks. This article follows 3 Tips To Prevent Heat Damage To Black Hair, for a reason, direct heat for the purpose of drying hair is damaging to hair, avoid it if you can. The best alternative to using heat is to air-dry hair, only problem is, air drying can make your hair frizzy and trashy if you don’t know how to do it right.
For Natural Hair
Most natural hair ladies are not into heat to dry hair. Natural hair is a good candidate for wash and go hairstyles. The key to getting hair to look its best after air drying is to use a conditioner that has good slip (without silicone), softens the hair and makes it easier to comb out.
Wrap an old cotton t-shirt around the hair after it is washed out and let it absorb the moisture. Re-wrap the hair several times with the shirt until it is just damp. Try not to use towels to dry your natural hair.
When the hair is damp seal in the moisture with a carrier oil or a hair butter (shea is good) and then you can define your curls in several ways, you can Bantu knot the hair-this makes for fabulous curls, twist it in big or small twists according to the curl definition that you want or plait it. Let it air dry and then comb it to highlight your curls.
If you want to reduce shrinkage to the hair seal in the moisture when it’s damp and then comb it in one wrapping the ends in a bun. This should ensure a bit of stretching. Remember to moisturize when the hair is damp.
The beauty about air-drying natural hair is that after sealing in the moisture, you can wear your hair in pretty much any style that you desire. Define your curls, stretch the hair a bit or twist it, braid it, cornrow it to change up your look.
For Relaxed Hair
Relaxed hair is another ball game when it comes to air-drying, ironically we tend to use heat on relaxed hair to get it to look a certain way, completely forgetting that the hair is weaker than natural hair and way more susceptible to heat damage, if this method is used to dry the hair all the time. For a fuller, healthier look, air-dry your hair. There is a reason why people who air dry their relaxed hair have a fuller, stronger head of hair. Heat breaks down the hair further and makes the hair lighter (reduces volume). Done on a regular basis the hair loses its luster and body.
To air-dry relaxed hair and to avoid the trashy, frizzy mess that your hair can become. The steps are simple. After washing hair, dry hair with a cotton tshirt. One of those smooth cotton shirts that you might have in your wardrobe. Wrap your hair in it . Do not agitate or rub the hair dry just allow the shirt to absorb the moisture, change around the damp spots of the shirt periodically, until your hair is just damp with no excess water.
For straight styles, lightly coat hair with a carrier oil to seal in moisture and then wrap the hair on the head. It should resemble a sleek cap when you are done. This will take some time to air-dry if your hair is very long. But the end result is straight hair without the help of heat.
Another method for straight hair is to do the t-shirt procedure above and then smooth all the hair back (catch up in one) in a loose bun. This is a bit faster than a wrap and you can wear your wear like this to work or wherever. It should get dried overtime; however, because you coated it with oil (paying close attention to ends) when you loose it out there should be no frizz.
For a wavy look, set hair with large rollers and allow to dry, finger comb when you are done. Combing out hair will make the hair look big and you will lose your curls. However, if you lightly coat the ends of your hair with carrier oil then the results should not be frizzy. After a day or two you can wrap the hair again (use a moisturizing spray first and then seal with oil) and then you can get your hair straight.
If you are in a hurry, its winter, you have a cold or your hair is wet and you want it to be dried in short order. Use the tshirt method, until your hair is just slightly damp, change shirts if you have to, and then seal in the moisture. Wrap or set hair and then put your overhead dryer on low (the lowest heat setting) it should feel almost cool and speed up the drying session.
Curly hair styles are the best to wear while air drying. Look at this article for ideas, How To Do Curly Hairstyles With Relaxed Hair.
Have fun air-drying and you will see the stark difference in the thickness of your hair overtime.