We aren’t the only ones who love braided hair. Braids offer endless styling possibilities to match your every mood and vibe. However, the prep that goes into your strands before braids is crucial; maintaining your hair’s integrity is a must.
There are thousands of braiding techniques and patterns that are suitable for each hair type. When preparing for braids, hair types need to be considered because one braiding technique may not be suitable for a specific hair type/texture.
We constantly search for ways to make our manicures last longer, as well as our makeup, so why not our hair? That’s where hair prep comes into play. It includes blow-drying, deep conditioning, heat styling, and anything else in our arsenal that prolongs the life of our hairstyles.
So, should you blow dry your hair before braiding? Blow drying your hair before braiding is a personal preference at the end of the day. However, your hair’s characteristics can tell you if blow-drying your hair before braiding is a beneficial decision.
Regardless if you choose to blow dry your hair before braiding or not, each step of your hair prep routine must be designed to care for and maintain the integrity of your strands. So if you’re interested in finding out which choice is best, follow along!
Blow Drying And Braiding For Every Hair Type
Not every braid will work for every hair type, and with that lies the answer of whether you should blow dry your hair. Blow drying your hair before braiding is usually a step in a hair prep routine for individuals who have type 3 curly and 4 coily hair.
Curly/Coily hair types and Straight/Wavy hair types can have completely different textures, follicles, and needs when it comes to braiding especially. The way you would prep braids for straight hair is drastically different than with coily hair.
Braids for straight and wavy hair are also entirely different from braids for curly and coily hair. Let’s break down each hair type, decode its needs, what braids suit your hair type best, and if it’s necessary for you to blow dry your hair.
1. Straight And Wavy Hair
Should you blow dry your hair before braiding if you have straight or wavy hair? Well, it’s all up to personal preference or what outcome you are hoping for. Keep in mind that fine hair is weaker when it’s wet, but heat styling can also cause damage.
Straight and wavy hair types can hold different braid styles than curly and coily hair. For example, if an individual with straight hair opted for a style suited for coily hair like box braids or cornrows, they risk their hair breaking because of its weight.
Those types of braids add extra pressure and weight that straight, wavy, and fine hair can’t withstand for long periods. Instead, they should opt for other braids that are more suited for their hair types, like French and Dutch braids, mermaid braids, or three-strand braids.
These braids are less stressful for the scalp and don’t need that much prep. So do you blow-dry your hair? Well, if you love a sleek and smooth finish, use your favorite heat protectant to avoid damaging your strands and blow dry your hair.
Blow drying isn’t necessary to achieve a smooth finish with these types of braids. Every hairdresser will recommend listening to what your hair is telling you. Air drying is also a viable option if you style your hair in braids to cut down on heat.
Wavy hair can be tricky since it’s often found in the middle between curly and wavy hair. Sometimes wavy hair can act similar to curly hair, which may indicate your hair needs. Regardless, it’s still best to avoid natural protective styles.
The texture of your hair can also indicate whether you should blow dry your hair. For example, if you have a Wavy hair type that is prone to frizz with a few curly pieces, blow-drying your hair before braiding can be beneficial to keep flyaways at bay.
In addition, take into consideration your hair’s current health. Is it heat damaged, colored, or chemically treated? In this case, it’s recommended to cut back on heat styling as much as possible or use a heat protectant when you do choose to blow dry.
2. Curly And Coily Hair
Blow-drying hair before braids can affect curly and coily hair more than straight and wavy. While it’s a widely debated topic, it’s up to you, your hair, and your hairdresser to assess what your hair can handle to achieve the best results.
One thing is for sure, and that’s never to braid your hair while it’s wet. Multiple sources also state that adding a nourishing cream to your curls when they are 80% dry will improve your braids thanks to an extra boost of hydration. This is crucial, especially if you choose not to blow dry your hair.
Curly and coily hair types can opt for natural protective styles like cornrows or box braids because the follicles are usually coarse, strong, and can handle the weight without snapping off. However, is it necessary to blow dry your curls before braids?
This is up to your own preference, but for some, choosing not to can result in hair that is too heavy to braid successfully, so we recommend blow drying.
We Value Beauty states that no matter whether you choose to blow dry your hair or not, it’s essential to have a proper hair routine to prep for braids. They list the following:
- Fix Current Issues (does your hair feel weak? Ex: add a protein treatment)
- Wash Your Hair
- Condition & Deep Condition
- Detangle Your Hair
The most important takeaway is to listen to your hair; it will tell you everything it needs. Blow drying isn’t frowned upon. However, if you don’t protect your curls from heat, it can cause even more damage whether you choose to braid your hair or not.
The best way to blow dry your hair before braids is to use a high-quality heat protectant. This styling product should not only protect you from your hot tools but also the sun’s UV rays. In addition, your curls will also thank you for it.
To Blow Dry Or Not To Blow Dry?
A better question to ask is when shouldn’t you blow-dry your hair before braiding? The last thing anyone wants to do is damage their curls further with heat, especially when it’s unnecessary.
If your hair is damaged, you might be better off air drying the hair. However, dry and damaged locks still need nourishment. High-quality styling products like curl creams or deep conditioning masks will be your best friend to help prep for braiding.
This includes all kinds of damage like color or chemically treated damage, heat damage, lack of protein, dry/stiff hair, you name it. As the health of your hair progresses, you can slowly work your way back to being able to blow dry for braids.
If your hair is healthy and you use a heat protectant, by all means, blow dry your hair. For some individuals, blow-drying their hair saves time and effort, or it can help offer a smoother finish.
If you have a special event like a wedding or a party, blow-drying your hair a day before your braids ensures that your hair is thoroughly cooled, dry, and ready to get braided. In addition, you won’t have to worry if you have excess water that will add to the weight pulling at your scalp.
To determine if blow-drying your hair before braiding is the right choice for you, assess your hair’s needs. First, identify what type and texture of hair you have, straight and fine, coily and coarse, or a combo?
Evaluate how healthy your hair is. Ask yourself if your hair needs moisture or have you found it feels damaged from coloring? Then evaluate your hair routine. Are you using products that benefit or nurse your hair back to health?
All of these factors contribute to whether you can blow dry your hair before braiding. But it’s all about your personal preference. If blow drying doesn’t work for you, don’t reach for your hot tools.
It’s all about understanding what your hair needs. When you nurture your hair, it will become radiant and full of life. It will take time but it will be well worth the effort. Through trial and error, you can figure out exactly what your hair needs.
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