Many of us have a love-hate relationship with using heat on our hair. While blow dries let us achieve a variety of styles that can turn heads while we glide down the sidewalk, using too much heat on unprotected hair can lead to hair breakage—which can prove especially damaging for those of us with tighter curls & coils.
So, what’s a curl to do? As it turns out, enlisting the right tools & techniques into your heat styling routine can help you achieve the blow-dried natural hairstyles you want while protecting against potential damage.
In this quick guide, we’ll walk through four expert-approved tips for blow drying with a paddle brush so that you can pamper & style your hair to your heart’s content—& reap some choice curly hair benefits in the process.
#1 Choose a Quality Paddle Brush
Let’s start with the basics: Why do stylists recommend a paddle hair brush specifically when using them to blow dry curls?
It comes down to the way paddle brushes for curly hair are built. The best-designed paddle brushes have:
- A large, flat, wide shape – This makes it easy to loosen up curls for a smoother look.
- Plastic bristles – These can help with detangling hair, as well as massaging the scalp.
- Anti-static design – This helps you decide precisely how much frizz & flyaways will be a part of your final look.
- An air-filled cushion – This helps the bristles adjust to the curve of your head, as well as gently cradling your curls & scalp.
If you plan on blow drying natural hair textures with a paddle brush, look for one with a heat tolerance of up to 450ºF. We recommend choosing a paddle bristle brush that’s designed to support scalp health & circulation to the roots of your hair (all while helping to speed up the blow drying process).
#2 Prepare Your Hair by Regularly Using a Transition Mask
Applying a mask to your hair can help repair damaged strands between blow dries. For maximum protection against thermal styling, experts recommend using a clarifying hair mask like our Transition Mask. Try treating your hair after every five washes, or before your next heat styling session.1
Here’s how to use it:
- If you’re transitioning your hair try one of the many easy protective hairstyles to help you apply your hair mask to dry tresses.
- Let the mask sit for about 15 minutes.
- Rinse, shampoo & condition your hair as usual.
No matter what style you’re using your blow dry to achieve, chances are it will look even more stunning when you’ve used a hair mask to help heal & nourish your hair.
#3 Protect Your Hair with Leave-In Conditioner
While hair masks work to repair hair, using a product like our Leave-In Conditioner is essential for preventing dry, damaged or excessively frizzy hair before you head in with your hot tools. Even better: leave-in conditioners add softness & extra curl pattern definition.
To prepare your hair for styling with a blow dryer, apply a leave-in conditioner to wet hair. Once you’ve worked the conditioner into your hair, you can move on to styling. Just be sure to layer in a heat protectant for curly hair for that final reinforcement against heat damage.
#4 Stretch Your Curls With a Paddle Brush
Gently brushing your curls is one of the easiest ways to stretch your curls for a sleek look.2 But it’s also got some covetable potential benefits for your hair’s health:
- It helps reduce tangles, which in turn can help prevent breakage
- It helps encourage your scalp’s natural protective oils down each hair strand
- It lets you examine the tips of your curls so you know when it’s time for a trim
In addition to these benefits, stretching your curls is a must on days you want your hair to appear longer & try out different styling opportunities.
Here’s how to stretch your curls safely using a paddle hair brush:
- Deep condition freshly washed hair either with leave-in conditioner alone, or by combining leave-in conditioner with a few drops of our Jojoba Oil Blend, which can help low porosity hair retain moisture & reduce natural hair breakage.
- Start detangling hair gently with your fingers & section it with clips.
- Moving through one section at a time, gently brush with your paddle bristle brush as you blow dry your hair.
The more you brush your hair, the looser your curls will become until they eventually appear fairly relaxed. Once you’ve achieved your desired curl looseness, stop brushing so you can keep your hair exactly the way you want it. For a touch of extra polish, finish with a shine spray.
Protect & Style Your Curls with PATTERN
Created by Tracee Ellis Ross, PATTERN believes you deserve a partner in hair care crime that lets your crown be as angelic or acting up as you want it to be. Our tools, formula & expert techniques are created by natural hair wearers & adorers who are dedicated to helping you find your unique texture & celebrate it exactly how you want.
From the tools you’ll use to craft your next creation to the nourishing natural hair care products that’ll protect your hair in the process, explore more opportunities to rediscover your hair with PATTERN.
- London, Bianca et al. "This A-list hairdresser says everyone needs a pre-summer hair detox – here's how to do it in 3 simple steps." Glamour Magazine. 6 June, 2022. https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/gallery/how-to-detox-your-hair
- Moore, Cortney. "How to Safely Stretch Natural Hair Without Heat." Byrdie. Updated 17 March, 2022. https://www.byrdie.com/how-to-stretch-natural-hair-4777821