how to blow dry 4c hair
when it comes to my own natural hair journey, I don’t like to set ultimatums. This is why from the beginning I’ve shared best practices on 4c hairstyles.com, rather than rules.
And that’s the same with today’s topic.
For some women with natural black hair, a blow dryer and flat iron are the public enemy no.1. However, I believe that we can partake in these processes in moderation and still grow healthy hair.
And after sharing how to straighten 4c hair without heat a few months ago, I figured it was now time to mention how to do it with heat. So, today I’m sharing how to blow dry 4c hair.
Does blow-drying damage 4C hair?
Of course, the million-dollar question remains whether or not it’s good for you. Well, blow drying 4c hair can potentially cause damage if not done correctly.
The heat from the blow dryer can cause your natural hair to dry out, which then leads to breakage and split ends. Moreover, if the heat is too high or if you hold the dryer too close to your hair, it can cause heat damage and burns.
However, with the right technique and heat tools, you will experience less breakage to your hair strands. And of course, your want to avoid blow drying your hair too often and instead air-dry it or use some of the methods I suggest to straighten 4c hair without heat.
Is it better to blow dry 4C hair wet or dry?
In general, I recommend that you blow dry 4c hair while it is still wet. However, not super wet but rather damp. Damp hair is the best way to achieve the style you like while avoiding frizz or heat damage.
The reason why you don’t want to blow dry dry hair is that 4c hair is naturally very dense and tightly coiled. That makes the detangling process much more difficult when dry. Wet hair on the other hand is more flexible and easier to manipulate, making it less likely to break or cause damage.
How to blow dry 4c hair
Blow drying 4c hair can feel scary, as our natural curls are known for being tightly coiled, dense, and prone to breakage and damage. However, there is a way to blow dry 4c hair without causing too much damage.
1. Deep condition your hair
Deep conditioning treatments are my secret weapon against dry natural hair. A good conditioning treatment right before you blow dry your natural 4c hair will infuse your hair with some extra moisture while also providing a layer of protection. Simply use the best deep conditioner for your curl pattern and work it in on wash day.
2. Detangle your hair
After your hair is cleaned, it is time to detangle your 4c hair and make sure that any stubborn tangles are out. Start by gently finger-detangling your hair. Start at the ends of your hair and work your way to the roots. Once the big knots are out move on to a wide tooth comb or a detangling brush. Once your hair is entangled, take a microfiber towel and gently dampen the hair if it is still very wet.
3. Section your hair
To make the blow-drying process easier, divide your hair into small sections. I usually start out with four sections but then further divide each hair section into smaller parts later on. This will allow you to focus on one section at a time and ensure that every strand is dried evenly. In order to keep each section in place, use butterfly hair clamps or bobby pins.
4. Apply a heat protectant
A crucial step in ensuring that your natural hair is not damaged by the blow-drying process is by using a heat-protectant spray. Simply a small amount of heat protectant to each section as you start working through it. Ideally, use a product that contains natural oils, as these will help to nourish and moisturize your hair while also protecting it from heat damage.
5. Use a comb attachment
A comb attachment is an essential tool when blow drying 4c hair, as it distributes the heat evenly and prevents damage. The attachment also helps to smooth out any kinks and doubles as a brush or comb. If you don’t have a comb attachment on your blow dryer, feel free to use a round brush while in the process.
6. Use low heat
To minimize breakage to your hair, use the lowest heat setting on your dryer. If you are using a regular dryer without attachment, then hold the dryer about 6 inches away from your head and move it around constantly to avoid overheating any one section of hair. If you desire a straight finish, then use a blow dryer brush to straighten your hair simultaneously.
7. Use the cold air setting
This is something I just learned, but will try it out the next time I blow dry my 4c hair. After blow-drying your hair, turn on the cool setting to help seal your hair cuticles. This is supposed to lock in moisture and reduce frizz.
8. Moisturize and seal your hair
The final step, after your hair is dry, is to moisturize and seal your hair. For that I recommend my beloved LOC method, however, you do not have to use it. Simply use a leave-in conditioner or hair oil your like and apply it gently to your hair. Remember that your hair is dry now, so you don’t want to soak it in a leave-in conditioner and risk reverting back. Lastly add oil and or butter at the end to keep your hair healthy and hydrated.
Note that blow drying 4c hair can be time-consuming, so it’s best to plan accordingly so you can take your time and avoid damaging your hair.
How to blow out 4c hair for braids?
Blow drying 4c hair before braiding can be a great way to achieve a smoother finish, which then helps avoid flyways while you braid your natural hair. Thankfully, it is not too different from the above process.
It is actually easier and less time-consuming.
Just like above, you want to start out on clean hair, then you detangle it thoroughly with a wide tooth comb. To make the process more efficient divide your hair according to the parts of your braids.
Note don’t do it for every little braid if you are planning small knotless braids for example. But maybe for each row or two.
Then start blow drying the hair in sections. Once you’re done with one section, I suggest you apply the LOC method and then twist each section to keep the hair stretched.
Repeat this step or each section of your head until all your hair has been blow-dried. Now, you can simply unravel each twist as you start braiding the different sections.
By following these tips, you can quickly blow out your 4c hair for braids.
How long does it take to blow dry 4c hair?
Blow drying 4c hair can take a bit longer than other hair types, as you are using less heat and 4c hair is dense. The exact amount of time it takes to blow dry 4c hair can vary depending on the length and thickness of your hair.
Naturally, if you have short 4c hair it goes pretty quickly, but if you have thick medium-long 4c hair it can take longer. On average, it takes me about 20 minutes to blow dry my natural 4c hair. And I consider my hair short, awkward-length stage to be exact.
To minimize the time, it’s best to section your hair properly and use a comb attachment. Makes the whole process more efficient and effective.
How often should 4C hair be blow-dried?
Blow drying 4c hair should be done as sparingly as possible, as it can be a potential cause of damage to your hair. The most I have ever done since going natural is once a month. Usually, I only need it stretched in preparation for protective styles or the occasional blowout hairstyle.
Whenever possible, you want to opt for air-drying your natural hair or other stretching methods that don’t require heat. For example, you can try braids, twists, or the threading method.
Remember to listen to your hair and find a balance that works for you.
Best blow dryer for 4c hair
When it comes to blow drying 4c hair, it’s important to use a dryer that has a range of heat settings, a cold air function, and a diffuser/comb attachment.
While I share a detailed list of the best blow dryers for 4c hair in a separate blog post, here is my personal favorite.
The Revlon One-Step Dryer. This dryer essentially is a brush and dryer in one. Because of that, it distributes heat evenly, which reduces frizz and blows out your hair more effectively. Furthermore, it doubles as a styling tool, which is usually the main reason why us 4c babes blow dry our hair in general. I like it, because it’s very handy and easy to use, but also because it was very affordable.
So, if you are in need of a new blow dryer, I highly suggest this hair dryer. I even wrote a review about the Revlon one-step hair dryer and styler here.
What do you put in your 4c hair before blow drying?
Before blow drying 4c hair, it is important to use the right products that will protect and nourish your hair. Here are some of the products I love:
- Heat protectant to protect your hair from heat damage.
- Leave-in conditioner to detangle and moisturize your hair before blow drying.
- Hair oil to seal in the moisture to keep your hair healthy and hydrated.
- Styling gel to achieve a specific style, such as sleek and straight hair after blow drying.
- Comb or brush to gently detangle your hair.
For the best results, use products that work best for you. Remember to use the right amount of product, and not over-apply, as it can weigh down your hair or revert it back.