4 Ways to Air Dry Natural Hair Fast

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Jc of The Natural Haven

Air drying hair without doubt is the least damaging way to dry your hair. The problem many naturals have with it is that it can take forever and a day (literally) especially as hair gets longer or if you have thick hair (whole head not individual strand). Here are some tips and tricks for you on how to get your hair to air dry super fast before you reach for the hair dryer:

1. Do not immediately apply a leave in or other finishing product to soaking wet hair

If you want your hair to dry fast, do not apply a ‘sealing’ product to soaking wet hair. You will need to first dry off any excess water from your hair. The oils leave ins and other finishing product form a layer around the hair and prevent/retard the loss of water from the surface of hair. Moisturising i.e trapping the moisture inside the hair strand, will be just as, if not more effective when you remove some of the water on the surface (meaning apply product to damp rather than soaking wet hair).

2. The old cotton t-shirt tip

Getting your hair from the wet stage to the damp state is easy. Instead of a traditional towel, find an old 100% cotton t-shirt or buy a high absorbency microfiber towel. These will soak up more water and as the surface of the cloth is smoother, there will be less friction between the cloth and your hair..

3. Gentle squeezing

The biggest mistake in drying is using a back and forth movement with your towel which causes more damage than if you simply followed the direction of the cuticle (i.e dry from root to tip and if you want to repeat, release and go back to the root. Also wrapping your whole head will help to get rid of dripping water but will not accelerate the drying process. You will need to instead wrap your t-shirt or towel around each section (if you section wash) and gently squeeze. You do not have to run the towel up and down the hair shaft, just squeeze, release and then move further down or to the next section. Always use dry portions of your towel or tshirt for maximum effectiveness. At the end of this stage you will be 50-60% dry and ready for sealing products.

4. Open up your hair

Hair in twists and braids is compact and will not dry quickly. Many naturals want to keep the twists and braids so as to decrease shrinkage and give the hair some stretch. To dry hair fast, each strand needs maximum exposure to air so unravelling twists or braids is necessary. It is possible to stretch free hair and control shrinkage with curlformers. Hair can dry fully within 3-4 hours with curlformers and no heat. Banding and African threading/Ghana braids can be used to stretch hair but will be less effective in terms of drying speed as they keep hair compact. Often hair will be dry within 6-8 hours (i.e overnight). Another option is to unravel the twist, dry the hair further as in step 3 and then retwist or rebraid. This unravelling/rebraiding needs to be repeated every 30 min-1 hour for faster drying.

If you want your hair dry in under an hour, the only option is to use a hair dryer, but going through the steps above before using the hair dryer will help to reduce the heat level and amount of time.

Ladies, how do you air dry your hair?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founding editor of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008), social media and black beauty enthusiast. When I'm not here, I'm moderating a Facebook group for black mothers called Black Moms Connect.

 

19 thoughts on “4 Ways to Air Dry Natural Hair Fast

  1. Sit under a cool hooded dryer with product yields great results and no damage and leaves hair sooooo soft. I prefer this method to drying with heat always.

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  2. I am with you Kim I seat under my soft bonnet dryer with curlformers (knock off verion from ebay) for an hour and I am good to go.

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  3. I definitely do number 4 and try to remember to do number 1 but what I do most often, after number 4, is a tension blowdry with a cool blowdryer. It usually takes my hair 48 hours (no joke) to dry unassisted. That’s fine when wearing twists but not twist outs. The tension blow dry shaves off at least 24 hours.

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  4. Funny this should come up…I rinsed my hair last night and banded it in 8 sections. It’s almost 12 hours later and I can tell some of the front sections are still a little damp in the middle… :\

    My preferred way to air-dry involves 2, 3, 4, and 1, in that order. After using the cotton T-shirt to absorb water and pat hair damp, I’ll put it in large twists (usually with a leave-in to help in finger-combing) and let it stay until it gets about 50-60% dry. Then I’ll add my styler and stretch it out via braids or banding.

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  6. I do a lot of wash n goes with KinkyCurly in spring & summer. After putting in the Knot Today & curling custard on sopping wet hair, I do a few “wet dog” headshakes to fling off excess water, put a towel around my neck to control drips, get in my car & drive around with all 4 windows down doing about 55-60mph. The resulting wind whipping really helps my hair to dry faster & the curls stay defined.

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  7. @NubianPrize, LOL! This is the first time I’ve seen someone else talk about “car drying”. For me it is super-effective too. The wind from the windows whip my hair around and not only dries the curls, but gives me volume. I don’t get to commute on the freeway everyday for work, but I never thought I would appreciate those commute days…Its turned out to give me really good hair days!

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  8. I’ve learned several important things via your post. I might also like to state that there may be a situation that you will have a loan and do not need a cosigner such as a Federal government Student Support Loan. However, if you are getting a borrowing arrangement through a traditional loan service then you need to be made ready to have a cosigner ready to make it easier for you. The lenders can base their decision using a few factors but the greatest will be your credit score. There are some loan providers that will additionally look at your job history and choose based on that but in many instances it will depend on your credit score.

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  9. For a sexy, sideswept look, work a texturizer through dry hair with a boar bristle brush. Spray a little hairspray onto a vent brush and tease hair at the crown for a little extra height. Then grab that section and sweep loosely back to the side, fastening with a flower pin accessory. Mist entire head with a light hairspray to keep the sexy, tousled look working hard all night. You can do daily scalp massages, which will circulate blood flow to the area. When washing your hair, you should shampoo twice (the first gut’s the dirt and what not off, and the second gets oils that are deeper to the scalp. It will also make your hair last longer without being greasy or oily.

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  10. For a sexy, sideswept look, work a texturizer through dry hair with a boar bristle brush. Spray a little hairspray onto a vent brush and tease hair at the crown for a little extra height. Then grab that section and sweep loosely back to the side, fastening with a flower pin accessory. Mist entire head with a light hairspray to keep the sexy, tousled look working hard all night. You can do daily scalp massages, which will circulate blood flow to the area. When washing your hair, you should shampoo twice (the first gut’s the dirt and what not off, and the second gets oils that are deeper to the scalp. It will also make your hair last longer without being greasy or oily.

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  11. Wrap my hair in a towel till my hair stops dripping water. And then remove the towel, open out my hair completely, and sit under a ceiling fan on full speed. This helps in air drying my hair faster.

    And, as far as possible, I wash my hair during daytime. Higher temperatures during daytime help in natural air drying of the hair, as opposed to washing hair at night when temperatures are lower, which causes hair to take much more time to air dry.

    Moreover, my long, thick hair is extremely prone to getting tangled, so I can’t sleep with my wet hair completely open at night.

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  12. I wear Hijab during the day so I can only wash my hair at night but I do it early enough to let it dry mostly naturally, no towels or wraps for thirty minutes then I use Shea moisture curl defining lotion let that air dry for another 30 minutes then I have a hair drying towel I wrap tightly and my hair is always dry by morning and the hair lotion keeps it soft and bouncy I’m more concerned as it grows longer (i cut it all off and just started wearing my hair natural a little less than a year ago) this trick won’t work

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  13. Pingback: Dry natural hair quickly without damage | Restore Your Hair

  14. I want to recommend a really good shasmpoo and conditioner, they are from pro naturals. Check m out, they are made form argan oil and keep the hair nourished and frizz-free

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