cassandre beccai fluffy flat iron
My fluffy blow out

Pictures of my waist-length natural hair blown out semi-straight always garner a lot of likes on social media. And I get it. Blown out afro-textured hair is a fun and sexy look that makes for inspiring ‘hair porn’.

But I grew out my afro-textured hair at a time when there was far less information online and a lot more work and woes.

I remember my third year being natural living in a region where the water was particularly harsh on my hair (although I didn’t make that connection initially.) I cut my hair 3 times because of incessant spit ends. I’m pretty sure that set me back at least 2 years!

Despite challenges like this I accidentally stumbled onto waist-length hair two years ago. And while I attributed that retention to the long term protective styling I’d done (faux locs, twists, etc.) I suddenly felt trapped. How would I continue to maintain this length? Because, let’s be honest here, big natural hair with great length and body looks fabulous, but takes a lot of work and time to maintain.

cassandre beccai waist length

So I entertained the question naturals aren’t supposed to…

What if protective styling isn’t the only way to retain massive amounts of length?

And that’s when it dawned on me that, in some ways, my hair has always been its own biggest enemy. I style my hair regularly and regardless of how much I detangle, it always seems to find ways to snag onto itself. Protective styling minimized the snagging and manipulation breakage, but I didn’t want to be in perpetual protective styling mode.

I found the answer to my problem with monthly heat styling.

What do natural hair experts think about this?

Audrey Davis-Sivasothy author of The Science of Black Hair writes, “relaxed fibers are not as prone to manipulation breakage becasue the individual bends and kinks along the hair fiber have been chemically removed, making manipulation easier.” Although she’s speaking on chemically straightened hair, I imagine this also applies to heat-straightened natural hair.

The trade off, of course, is that applying heat can make natural hair strands fundamentally weaker.

However I’ve been able to straighten my hair on a monthly basis without compromising its length or health.

So far these are the perks;

  • My hair no longer snags itself since the coils and kinks are straight.
  • My hair can be left loose without incurring too many tangles
  • I get to show off the length and thickness I’ve worked so hard for
  • Straightened hair is low maintenance on a day to day basis
  • The biggest challenge so far has been keeping my hair moisturized in a way that doesn’t cause it to revert back to its naturally coily Type 4 state. And I will keep you updated as I figure that out.

    Ladies, would you ever consider straight natural hair as a length retention and maintenance strategy?

     

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    31 Comments on "Unpopular Opinion: Blowdrying is the Easiest Way to Maintain my Waist-Length Natural Hair"

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    Julie

    I totally agree with this article. I am natural, but I recently came to the conclusion also that heat stretching is best for me. I like my hair straight, and it’s so much easier to manage.

    deblynn
    I need to reduce the manipulation. All the twisting and braiding and remoisturizing while trying to keep it stretch by PULLING ON IT is just too much. That’s probably worse than a little heat once a week to once every 10 days. I’m thinking that if I start off with a blow dry base after deep conditioning, I won’t have to pull on it as hard etc to twist. I’m experimenting. But I had a much better week with heat, fewer issues with shed hair tangling healthy hair (time for trim) as it was coming out. And some products melt… Read more »
    Leslie-Ann Grant Grant
    Leslie-Ann Grant Grant

    JUST TRY NOT TO BLOW DRY ON WET HAIR DAMP HAIR IS BEST

    Kayla
    Yes! I’ve been blow drying my hair every 3 weeks for the past year or so and I’ve been retaining length just fine. I have type 4 hair as well and it’s just sooo much easier to deal with when it’s in a stretched state. Plus my braid outs are bigger which is always welcome 😀 I feel like as long as you’re using heat protectant when you blow dry, you should be fine. I’ve recently started using a straightening brush to achieve my blow out looks. It’s a lot faster than the tension method and it leaves my hair… Read more »
    Nim
    Thank you for posting this article (I realise I’ve come to it rather late). The usual ‘protective styles’ are OK but I have found that braid /twist outs leave my hair very dry after the second day and a simple bun or pony tail drys out and tangles the hair on my crown, and breaks it half way. I have had a full blow dry with straighteners about once o month this year – obviously absolutely terrified of weakening my hair but I have to say that when my hair gets wet and curls up again, the growth and condition… Read more »
    Christen Diamond Robinson
    Christen Diamond Robinson
    I’m so glad I found you. Your hair looks fab!! I have been pondering this exact same question as I am completely tired of “perpetual protective styling”. Don’t get me wrong I love having a break from my hair but I am also tired of snags and tangles even more so that I’ve found myself acquiring more when I run low on energy between work, school, and a 2 year old with waist length curly unruly beautiful hair that is a job to handle in its own right. I’ve been good with stretching a flat ironed style via a tension… Read more »
    Warrior Queen Dwest

    This is indeed true! I have always had natural long hair , no perm and straightening once a month. The moment I decided to try no heat, my hair did not like it at all. I’m sticking with what my hair loves best!

    Leo Kayura

    Very interesting, I never considered this. Thank you.

    Cris

    Agreed. Our hair can get exposed to “minimum heat” by just walking outside!

    Cris

    Sounds like a good plan. We are on the same wavelength. Lol.
    A good ionic blow dryer should lock in that clean, washed and conditioned moisture into the strands. People sometimes forget that blow dryers have different heat settings (some are even cool) and FORCE of air settings. A person doesn’t need to go ham with heat or forced air. All the best to you with your healthy practices. :o)

    Cris

    Yup. I made this same connection. The crown and back of my head are especially stubborn and prone to tangling. I’ve decided to eliminate that by keeping my hair stretched with a mild blow out after wash day. Expecting to see a lot more progress as a result. Thanks for sharing. Love your channel!

    Miss Cassell

    What kind of blow dryer are you using?

    Cris

    I alternate between the two that I have; the RED by KISS Handle-Less 2200 Ceramic Tourmaline Dryer, and the CONAIR 1875 thermal shine STYLER Dryer. I DO NOT use the comb attachments.

    Also, I’ve reintroduced a water and vegetable glycerin mix into my daily moisturizing routine. It works MIRACLES! Makes my hair soft, super moisturized, and tangle-free. I’m on a mission to give my hair what it’s been asking for, because I really haven’t been doing that for quite some time. :o( I’m really excited and optimistic about the results as time goes on.
    All the best!

    Cosita
    Wow A natural hair article 🙂 Yay To each their own. There may be different reasons why people might not want to do this method. She doesn’t say it but what I got is that she washes her hair once a month. I am not willing to go that long between washing my hair. No Bueno for me. and my hair likes to be wet often. 2. I don’t want to be so concerned about reversion. 3. Also my hair hates blow drying. I have bought nice dryers, different blowout products and brushes. My hair always feels like straw after.
    zoopath

    What is your routine for blow outs?

    LBell
    I’ve got two unpopular opinions for you: 1) I don’t believe that Afro-textured hair is built for length…specifically, the non-Afro-textured definition of length. From a physics perspective: Small tight coils are much more easily manipulated when they’re relatively short. The longer they get, the greater the tendency for them to compact. If they’re not kept intact — if each coil isn’t contained within itself; imagine a box around each one — they’re almost certain to tangle, and with tangling comes breakage. Trying to work with coils in this state using non-coil techniques is a recipe for failure. There’s a reason… Read more »
    Cris

    If it wasn’t “built for length”, it wouldn’t have the capability to grow to long lengths.

    LBell
    I wasn’t talking about Afro-textured hair’s capability for growth. I was talking about its capability for, to put it plainly, emulating Disney princess hair without a lot of extra effort. If you are protective-styling 24/7, and when you’re not protective-styling you’re spending literally hours upon hours treating your hair like it’s the rarest of fine cashmere because you’re trying to avoid even the slightest amount of breakage…then maybe you need to ask yourself if you’re trying to make your hair do something it can’t do, and whether you could satisfy your Disney princess fantasy more easily by simply investing in… Read more »
    Cris

    Lol. I prefer investing in my wigs, girl.

    Philly Jawn

    I love how now blow drying hair is like poison now. I have to blow dry like this lady my hair is THICK and LONG without it my hair will mat and snag. Do what works for you and not what some “Guru” told you to

    TWA4now

    I tried to apply heat to my hair and loved it, but it reverted back to it’s natural state via the heat in the summer or sweating too much. I LOVE twistI, but I need a change! I would try heat again but use it responsibly.

    liberianwoman

    Good for her. Everyone shld do wht works for his/her hair. The natural hair community is so damn annoying “don’t do this ,don’t do that” so many worthless rules. (sucking my teeth) ppl, do what makes your hair it’s happiest. One size doesn’t always fit all.

    Naturally me
    Finally! An article about hair on what i thought was a site about hair!!!! Yay! !! I honestly would. I used a blow dryer after years 0 direct heat. I had applied a shea-aloe -oil mixture and and quickly zapped it with a blow dryer because that simply wasnt the day to drip-dry. I pulled the hair taut and did about 1.5 seconds on top and underneath before twisting (i’m careful with direct heat because it will dry my hair out completely). It was as if the blow dryer allowed the shea to penetrate deeply into the strands making it… Read more »
    loveothers4ever

    It works for her hair!! Everyone’s hair is different. Blowdrying monthly I doubt would cause any damage. More damage would happen if her hair constantly remained tangled. Heat in moderation is fine, not a big deal. Just use protein treatments and heat protectant. Problem solved.

    Nila

    Blow drying at the right temperature may be better than air drying. http://www.prevention.com/beauty/hair/healthiest-way-dry-your-hair.
    I no longer get those annoying fairy knots that I used to get with air drying.

    Athorn
    I was a straight haired natural for most of my life. I have been wearing my hair curly for nearly 4 years and I blow my mid back length hair out a few times a year. If I had know all that I know now about moisturizing my hair and the importance of weekly dc’s and if dry shampoos, and dry conditioners were more readily available back then, my hair would have been in a much better place. I honestly believe my hair would’ve grown long and “healthy.” When I’m done growing my hair out, I think I’d consider straightening… Read more »
    sam

    wow,your hair looks great!Love your natural hair!
    natural hair

    cryssi

    Do what works for you

    Toniette

    Blow drying helps me. I do not do it often, but I do see the difference in tangling when I do.

    Staci Elle

    Wish I had waist length hair….

    Leighton
    I’m actually blow drying my hair right now as we speak!!! I definitely think you can retain length even with the use of heat. I mostly wear my hair in wash n goes but sometimes I blow dry my hair, using the tension method, to give my hair a break. Although I love my curls, I find that detangling my hair after wash n goes sometimes causes more SSKS and knots. Hell, detangling my hair every week is a headache lol. So, yes, I definitely approve of this message. Minimal heat, in my opinion, will not cause damage if applied… Read more »
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