Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's Talk Hair: The Do's And Dont's of Using HEAT

Hola Chicas/Chicos..well, this should make for an interesting post: The Do's and Dont's of using heat. I know, I know, I proclaim that the constant use of heat is the devil..but, the key word is 'constant'. Just as chemical heat (relaxers, perms) alters and manipulates the natural curl pattern, so does the use of dry heat (pressing combs, flat irons, blow dryers). So, why create a post that addresses the use of heat? Well, that's the thing, many naturals use heat for a style change up or to do a length check, so I thought it would be a great idea to post some how to's and how not to's when using heat. Not only that, when I posted this picture on my facebook page, I had quite a few people email me and ask what my method was when creating this look on natural hopefully this checklist will help resolve some questions when it comes to using heat.

  • Do guarantee that your hair is squeaky clean. Hair must be clean and free of buildup and oils before proceeding to the next step.
  • Don't use a harsh shampoo that contain 'sulfates'. Sulfates is a harsh foaming agent that causes the hair to dry out..exactly, heat is harsh enough so don't add fuel to the fire.
  • Do use a moisturizing conditioner that hydrates and improves elasticity and promotes shine to the hair. Condition and condition your hair well. A deep condition is an excellent idea before having a blow drying and pressing session.. Be sure to rinse the conditioner WELL, using cool water. Left in conditioner takes away from the swing and bounciness of your pressed hair. A great way to tell if you have product left in your hair is when you are pressing your hair and it smokes, that is a sure way to know that you have some product left in your hair. You will have a slight odor on your hair as well.
  • Don't use a moisturizer that contains non water soluble silicones. Remember, silicones prevent moisture from reaching the hair follicle...exactly, heat is drying enough, don't add fuel to the fire.
  • Do use your blow dryer properly before using extreme heat.

Proper Blow Drying Techniques:
1. Don't blow dry on sopping wet hair. Carefully towel dry hair in sections using either an old T-shirt or a microfiber towel prior to blow drying. Blow drying hair that is dripping wet leads to dry, damaged hair.
2. Do use a heat protectant.
3. Don't use heat that is too hot. Blow drying on low with a high setting is a great way to ensure that your hair does not suffer from abuse from extreme heat damage. Kinky hair has a tendency to be on the drier side, so blow drying on a high setting is a no no.
4. Do only allow hair to dry 75%, then sit underneath a hooded dryer for the remainder of the time. This method allows for much softer hair. You also cut down on the amount of heat you apply to your hair.
5. Don't hold the blow dryer too close to your hair. Hold the blow dryer 5-6 inches away from your hair. Holding the blow dryer too close to your hair, can also affect your scalp, which can lead to dry scalp and flaking.
6. Do properly detangle before blow drying. Your hair should be soft, smooth and tangle free prior to blow drying.
  • Don't skimp on the pressing comb or flat iron. All pressing combs nor flat irons are not created equal. Be sure to look for flat irons that are ceramic with ions. A great brand of pressing combs are by Kizure.
  • Do TEMPER your pressing combs. Super, Super, Super important. The brand that I mentioned above, Kizure, has pre tempered pressing combs. If you have a comb that is not tempered, you can temper them by leaving them in a hair oven for 6-8 hours. Well tempered combs hold heat evenly, which ensures an even straight press. If you have to put your pressing comb back into your hair oven several times before getting one section straight, then your comb was not properly tempered.
  • Don't straighten large sections at a time. Use smaller sections to press hair. In my photo above, I used 1 - 1 1/2 inch sections.
  • Do flip your wrist, while pressing your hair, so that the hair somewhat wraps itself around the comb..Note, it is the back of the comb that does the pressing, not the teeth.
  • Don't use a stove top for pressing the hair. A good investment is to buy a hair oven. All heat sources are not created equal. Using the stove top for pressing your hair can cause serious dryness due to the different source of heat.

Ok, beautiful naturals, now that you have the do's and dont's of using heat, let your curls, coils and kinks flow. Remember, once you go back to your O'Natural, be sure to do a deep conditioning treatment to replenish necessary moisture.

As Always, Happy Healthy Hair!

Where to buy Kizure products:
credits: some info found at


  1. Thank thank thank you for this excellent post! This is so helpful even though I have been pressing my hair for a few years now. I think even some hair stylists can benefit from this info. Great post!

  2. Now I know that too much heat can cause heat damage to your hair, but your tips make so much sense and are extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing

  3. I love this article. When I look I've been natural for 16 years+ and I didnt get heat damage until I stopped pressing my hair with a pressing comb and went from blow drying to flat ironing. I have a stove and would blow dry, press then flat iron with the stove and my hair was BSL with zero heat damage. You look pretty curly or straight!

  4. @ Karen..thank you and I 'm glad that you found the info so helpful.

    @ Anon 4:06..Thanks for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed the tips..I agree, many hairstylists could use some brushing up on heat tips..natural hair in general.

    @ Amber..thank you so much! Wow..16 years, that is amazing! Blow drying can be damaging because it is so much dry air heat and then flat ironing..the pressing comb, as you said, is one of the best tools for straightening the hair..with a hair oven, that is...excellent comment

  5. Do you have any pointers for using a flatiron? I'm not good with the pressing comb so I would need to flatiron!

  6. Absolutely informative! Love this! You are an excellent source for information concerning healthy O'Natural hair. Thanks so much Cutie Beautie!

  7. Wat about the electic pressing combs I have one of those do u think those are tempered?

  8. @ Amber,just be sure to use a heat protectant and do not put flat irons on the highest setting. It would be the same as I mentioned with the pressing comb, if you smell your hair while using the's definitely too high of temperature..hope this helps

    Thanks NaturallyPretty7

    @ Anon..usually the electric pressing combs are not tempered.But I would check with the manufacturer of the pressing comb to be sure

  9. Any thoughts on the Maxi-Glide? It is ceramic, and has temperature settings. I only use it once or twice a year.

  10. Can you also please give us an example of regimen to follow when it is time to wash our hair after it has been straigtened. I've heard that you should do a protein treatment and deep condition after, what is your advice?