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?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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21 Comments on "4 Ways to Air Dry Natural Hair Fast"

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i use a t-shirt to soak up the excess water and then sit under a dry­er on a cool set­ting for about 30 min­utes. This works well for me.