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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Mara
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

modupe_2
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 »
Durelene

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

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[…] 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.

Selah
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 »
tbaby

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

EbonyLolita
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 »
Elaina

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… Read more »
Leila

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.

Jessica2248

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!

Nicole
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 »
Chevanne

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.

FreeTea
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 »
PollyWollyNo

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!

SHL
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 »
Guest

Her hair is beautiful.

Ayo
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 »
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