This may sound strange to some, but trust me — there’s a method to my mad­ness. I’m a twist out gal and in the past, I would pri­mar­i­ly twist my hair while wet. How­ev­er, I’ve always noticed that my hair would become knot­ty and tan­gled after a few days of styling my hair while it was still wet. I thought that maybe this would be some­thing that I’d just have to deal with. After all, every nat­ur­al has some sort of strug­gle with their hair, right? Well after years of this, this nat­ur­al got tired of the strug­gle!

While I loved the def­i­n­i­tion that wet twist outs gave me, I was see­ing some break­age and way too many knots. I have always had hair that eas­i­ly knots and tan­gles, and I final­ly accept­ed that the wet twist outs weren’t help­ing mat­ters. Also, my hair was much eas­i­er to style when it was dry and stretched as opposed to wet. When I twist­ed my hair on blow dried hair, my hair was kind to me. It didn’t knot and I didn’t feel like I was rip­ping hair out of my head when part­ing or comb­ing. Have you ever heard your strands snap? It tru­ly makes you cringe.

After my last fight with styling my hair while it was wet, I decid­ed that I had to find a bet­ter way. I wore my hair in a bun (that was styled while wet) for two weeks as a pro­tec­tive style and wash day was a night­mare. I spent almost 45 min­utes detan­gling and per­form­ing surgery on my hair. I wasn’t going to become a wash n go nat­ur­al, so that wasn’t an option. I thought back to my child­hood and how my moth­er con­sis­tent­ly blow dried my hair after every wash. My sis­ters could get their hair plait­ed and twist­ed while it was wet, but she nev­er did that with me. Not even dur­ing the hot sum­mer months. When I asked her why, she said it was because I had the most tan­gled hair on the plan­et and blow dry­ing made my hair much eas­i­er for her to man­age until the next wash. My hair was nev­er heat dam­aged and it thrived. After that tid­bit of infor­ma­tion, I was sold. I decid­ed that I was no longer going to style my hair while it was wet and the blow dry­er would be on deck after every wash.

Little Portia with blow dried hair. Not sure why I was flairing my nostrils.
Lit­tle Por­tia with blow dried hair. Not sure why I was flair­ing my nos­trils.

I’ve been keep­ing up with twist­ing and styling my hair on blow dried hair (I dry it about 80%) for the past 3 and a half months and my hair has thanked me for it. I blow dry on low heat but high pow­er. I don’t have heat dam­age and hon­est­ly I’ve nev­er strug­gled with heat dam­age from a blow dry­er. I blow dry every 10 days or so. I no longer have to sit under a hood­ed dry­er for hours (my hair does not air dry well) and I don’t get near­ly as many knots. I’ve always blow dried my hair and twist­ed it every once in a while, but I was nev­er con­sis­tent (its work!). Now that I’ve been blow dry­ing faith­ful­ly, I can see the dif­fer­ence in my hair. I still spray some water on each twist to damp­en for curl def­i­n­i­tion and mois­ture, but I don’t drench my hair. I fol­low up with my styler and but­ters just as I did on wet hair. Wash day is so much eas­i­er and I wish I did this a long time ago.

Day 2 twist out on blow dried hair.
Day 2 twist out on blow dried hair.
Day 1 twist out on blow dried hair.
Day 1 twist out on blow dried hair.

I know that there is this “no heat” com­mand­ment in the nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty that most adhere to, but some­times you’ve got to do what works for you and your hair. I nev­er thought that after so many years of being nat­ur­al I’d change my hair reg­i­men up so dra­mat­i­cal­ly. But that’s the beau­ty of the nat­ur­al hair jour­ney. Some­times, things change and that’s okay. Do what’s best for your unique head of hair regard­less of the peanut gallery.

Are you a nat­ur­al whose hair thrives when stretched?

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26 Comments on "Why I No Longer Style My Natural Hair Wet"

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I just dis­cov­ered this about my hair… on my left side my hair is thin­ner and dry­er and faith­ful­ly gets sin­gle strand knots on my right side my hair is fuller, mois­tur­ized and had NEVER had one sin­gle strand knot — so three weeks ago I decid­ed that blow dry­ing my hair just might help with break­age and those dread­ed ssk’s… sad­ly if I had done this when I went nat­ur­al 8 years ago I would have been able to sal­vage my hair a long time ago fast for­ward now I just want short hair :) I think it looks… Read more »
Jamaica LeAnn

thanks for shar­ing this… I lit­er­al­ly always blow dry and flat iron…thought i had to do a no heat reg­i­ment on my hair… but after read­ing this… I will just give up the flat iron… I have some thick hair and twist outs just don’t work for me… and wet ban­tu knots was break­ing my hair off smh

i also blow-dry once every week dur­ing wash day, i deal with my hair exact­ly like you do. it has reduced break­age. the best part was the sin­gle strand knots i have few to zero sin­gle strand knots on my hair. i use the ten­sion method. i also blow dry 80% and put in sin­gle braids and let the rest air dry. i also blow dry on low heat. blow-dry­ing has def­i­nite­ly saved my hair. and my hair is mid­dle boob length. nat­u­rals run away from blow dry­ing but if you get a lot of break­age, tan­gle and sin­gle strand… Read more »

My hair thrives stretched but it’s fine so to pre­vent heat dam­age I use curl­form­ers


[…] my hair and then blow dried (see the rea­sons why I no longer style my nat­ur­al hair while wet here). I then pro­ceed­ed to spritz my hair with water for hold and applied man­go but­ter. Next, I applied […]

Keneesha Hodge

I find my hair responds dif­fer­ent­ly when styled while wet. The only thing I do is try to let my hair air dry as much as pos­si­ble before twist­ing. After read­ing this I think I might strug­gle with the blow dry­er to speed things up and see how that works.

I have long, super kinky 4c hair, and wet styling has been the bane of my nat­ur­al hair jour­ney for years — although I didn’t know this was the case until recent­ly. I’ve learned that styling on most­ly dry hair (80–90%) cuts down on the time and effort need­ed to do my hair, and great­ly reduces the break­age that would always result dur­ing “hair time,” i.e., detan­gling, styling. That being said, I don’t use blowdry­ers fre­quent­ly (once every 2–3 months) — but I still style on dry hair. How? I airdry in a stretched style, of course! lol For those… Read more »

I agree whole­heart­ed­ly! this is my sec­ond time return­ing nat­ur­al and i was try­ing to fig­ure out the dif­fer­ence between how my hair is grow­ing now com­pared to my first time around… I blow dried more than i do now, i real­ly want­ed to use no heat so i packed my blow dry­er up but i can def­i­nite­ly go back to cool but high air to blow dry my hair then style.… im sold. thanks for the con­fir­ma­tion

Thank you!! I always apply a heat pro­tec­tor but my shrink­age annoys me so I HAVE to blow it out. I too use low heat, high pow­er. It doesn’t take much & not for long for my hair to dry. But the snap­back! yikes! For most of the year I keep my hair in some type of braids/twists/weave. But as the con­sis­tent win­ter comes in I’ll take it out. I don’t have to deal w/shrinkage due to rain and/or humid­i­ty. Got some clip-ins if I want to do a lil extra for full­ness but thank good­ness for the stretch­ing w/the… Read more »

Hey Por­tia, do you use the ten­sion method when you blow dry or do you just use the blow dry­er with a comb attach­ment to blow dry? My daughter’s styl­ist blow dries her hair after she wash­es it (about every 2 weeks) and I haven’t seen any heat dam­age. Plus her hair has grown expo­nen­tial­ly since this styl­ist has been doing it. Like your mom, I would not under any cir­cum­stances braid, twist, etc. my daughter’s hair with hav­ing blow dried it first when I did (or do) it.

Claudette UK

I agree with this. No more rip­ping my hair out because it tan­gles when wet. Now I’ll twist it in to buns and lat­er when it is damp and not wet, plait it. Oth­er­wise it just tan­gles and comb­ing is accom­pa­nied by the sound of rip­ping hair.

Dana Brown
I think this is a great idea for those with coars­er strands and/or loos­er tex­tures! A word of cau­tion: it’s prob­a­bly not so ben­e­fi­cial for peo­ple with hair like mine. My most­ly 4B hair is thick with low poros­i­ty and fine strands. I love the visu­al effect of my blow dried hair, but the hair itself haaaat­ess being blow dried. I always end up with dry­ness, break­age, and crazy split ends no mat­ter what I try. Blow dry­ing has severe­ly stunt­ed my growth this year. I would sin­cere­ly urge thin deep con­sid­er­a­tion of the poten­tial pit falls of reg­i­mens like these.

Real­ly? I have 4c hair and blow dry­ing has saved me from going back to relax­ers. It has def­i­nite­ly helped my with pre­vent­ing knots and tan­gles and allowed my hair to flour­ish. I think more than the curl pat­tern, it prob­a­bly depends on oth­er prop­er­ties of the hair which is why peo­ple should learn and do what works best for them.

Dana Brown

Except you prob­a­bly have coars­er strands– and exam­in­ing the prop­er­ties oth­er than curl pat­tern was my point. The only rea­son why loos­er tex­tures were even men­tioned is because it gen­er­al­ly takes less heat and effort to blow dry them straight than kinki­er hair.

My com­ment was not intend­ed to dis­suade folks from try­ing out a blow dry regimen–rather, it was intend­ed to demon­strate that learn­ing what works is impor­tant before throw­ing some­thing new into the mix.


I love this arti­cle!! Best advice ever…do to your hair what your hair likes!! Every­body say­ing do this, don’t do that.…it’s crazy! The old school­ers didn’t have it all wrong, our hair thrived when we were grow­ing up! And there was noth­ing wrong with their meth­ods. Your hair is gor­geous by the way! Looks very soft and cot­tony!

I had this very same epiphany last year, around Sep­tem­ber 2014. And for this past year, I’d been faith­ful­ly blow­ing out my hair using low heat, high pow­er with the ten­sion method every 10 to 14 days. All was right in the world. I had less tan­gles to con­tend with. My hair looked smoother. I’d got­ten so many com­pli­ments on my blown out hair, far more than when I wet twist­ed which had been the bane of my hair jour­ney for 3 years pri­or. And then a year passed, and I real­ized my hair, while not heat dam­aged, had not… Read more »

The “no heat” com­mand­ment… Absolute­ly true. The idea has devel­oped that any heat is dam­ag­ing and that hair thrives with­out it. I am not using even close to the amount of heat I did when I was relaxed but shun­ning a dry­er as my hair has got­ten longer has been a detri­ment. I now have to cut off an inch and a half per­haps. I’ve been think­ing about blow dry­ing my hair before styling since it works very well when done pro­fes­sion­al­ly. As with any­thing to do with Afro tex­tured hair, gen­tle is the way to go.

Jameela Adams

Some­thing to con­sid­er. I air dry my hair but it seems to be more man­age­able when it’s blown dry.

K Thurman

I am more than will­ing to try this method on my daughter’s hair. It is a night­mare on wash day to detan­gle her hair even after a pre-poo has been done. As soon as water touch­es her hair it becomes knot­ted and dif­fi­cult to han­dle. I do twist outs on her hair and the amount of hair in the brush while it’s damp is out­ra­geous. I will be try­ing this method the next time I wash her hair.

Maybe your daughter’s break­age is due to the brush? Type 4B/C hair and fine hair in gen­er­al aren’t big fans of brush­ing. Not knock­ing the blowdry method, but it’s impor­tant to look at all fac­tors that might cause issues before you change up a hair reg­i­men. Try a wide-toothed comb or your fin­gers instead. Also, what kind of pre­poo are you using? If your daugh­ter can tol­er­ate it, and you haven’t tried it already, I would rec­om­mend coconut oil or a hot oil treat­ment with olive oil. I have very kinky, dense Type 4 coils, and con­di­tion­er pre­poos make my… Read more »

This arti­cle came at a good time. I’m think­ing my hair sim­ply doesn’t like to manip­u­lat­ed when it’s wet, so this is fur­ther prov­ing I may be cor­rect.

Robin McDani

This just gave me hope of a blow dry reg­i­men! I blow dried my hair this week and it’s the least tan­gled and soft­est my hair has been in months! Glad to know you do it almost every week and no heat dam­age (I’m on a every 3 week wash­ing sched­ule lol)

Mallory Williams

Thank you for shar­ing! My hair does not air dry well (not much bet­ter under the dry­er either) and knots and tan­gles eas­i­ly. I will have to try this method. Thanks again!

I have had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence with twists. Once my hair hit my shoul­ders I realised that twist­ing while wet was the cause of my sin­gle strand knots. Also, the longer the hair gets the hard­er it becomes to get a real­ly defined wet twist-out. The more coily the hair is the more like­ly it is to look like air bub­bles instead of smooth well defined curls. To get the smooth fin­ish requires a lot of ten­sion. Often there are short­er hairs that jump in all direc­tions so get­ting that smooth fin­ish is tricky. I have found that three strand… Read more »

Her hair is beau­ti­ful.

I absolute­ly agree with the author. I had always styled my hair wet and my hair con­sis­tent­ly remained the same length for many years. I would have to chop off sig­nif­i­cant amounts of hair due to dam­age on my ends, no mat­ter how gen­tle I was with twist­ing. About 4 years ago I saw a few you tubers blow out their hair before their twist outs and I decid­ed to try it. I had reli­gious­ly fol­lowed the no heat com­mand­ment but I threw that out the win­dow after see­ing how much eas­i­er it was to han­dle my mane. My hair… Read more »