How To Blow Dry Natural Hair Using The Tension Method

Tension blow dry method

Hello Shrinkage? I have a message for you, she told me… to tell you… that shes’ just not that into you! ha! Ok all jokes aside if you want an alternative to ‘regular’ blow-drying, meaning using a comb attachment, a brush or direct high heat blow drying then tension blow-drying might be your guy.

Tension blow-drying is really simple, it means holding a section of your hair taut and running the dryer up and down the section using a cooler setting than normal. This might not seem that effective but trust me when we tell you that it actually dries your hair and stretches it.

The key to getting the stretched look is holding the hair firmly keeping the sections straight. Your hair has great memory especially when it is slightly damp and that is why tension blow drying is able to work so effectively.

The benefits of tension blow drying are as simple as the method itself :

1. Protects the hair from excessive manipulation – All that tugging and puling on the hair with a comb attachment that might cause breakage is virtually eliminated so you lose much less hair.

2. Straightens and smooths the hair – You are trying to get your hair straight or want stretched hair as a base for a style? Well the tension method can do just that, what’s great is that you control everything by holding the hair as taut as you can.

3. Reduces the chance of heat damage –  Heat damage is definitely possible with the use of any heat source however you greatly reduce the chances of getting it by utilizing a cooler heat setting avoiding high direct heat all together.

A few Tips

► Do not blow dry your hair when it is dripping wet, use your microfiber towel or a T-shirt to dry some of the water from your hair first.

► I know this post has natural hair in the title, but this method is also great for women with relaxed hair as it stretches your new growth effectively especially if you are on a long relaxer stretch.

► Do not use a ton of products but please still use a heat protectant, you cannot skip the heat protectant just because you are using a different method to blow dry your hair. Heat is heat right?

And finally, watch both of these tutorials on very similar techniques on tension blow drying. First off it’s Tiajonay:

And second it’s KinkyKurlyQueen

Originally posted 2014-02-11 15:00:26.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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StaceyLaSaundria Janai WalkerRegina Whitlock TekumaforRenise EustacheAisha W. Bryant Recent comment authors
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Crystal Howard


Lenora Hall-doss

I need help really bad to get this bald spot to grow some hair. But don’t know what to use or take

Chessie Bestee

Try Castor Oil with peppermint or tea tree oil… You can use regular or JBCO

Alana Lewis

I have the same problem. Absolutely nothing worked including: JBCO & HairFinity Hair Vitamins. I just recently had an appt with a dermatologist. She injected my scalp with meds and give me a B12 shot. I have appts scheduled with her monthly. And btw, I haven’t had a relaxer in a year and a half.


I had a above ear bob now im below shoulder lenght I used the cayenne pepper and olive oil treatments to grow my hair, I explained to a friend and hes been doing it everyday for a week now and hes already seeing growth.

Carla A. Williams

I use the tension method. It really works.

Ileah Collins

how often do you use this?

Caramel Kimmie

#Air dry!4me

Chessie Bestee

Never used it… What’s the reason for it?

Socearre Moskalski

The tension method is used to avoid over manipulation from styling tools (combs and brushes). You hold your hair straight and blow dry it. But the images are misleading… holding a blowdryer that close to your hair is defeating the purpose of the method and causes damage

Chessie Bestee

Thank you.. I thought it was misleading by the looks but I didn’t know for sure.. Heat is heat though…

Socearre Moskalski

You are welcome. You are right but heat can be incorporated into some people’s hair regiments if used responsibly. ^_^

Amml Icandi

I have not done this method yet, but there are dryers with a cool setting. It would take longer of course, but less damaging.

Onicanotnice John

Try a product call Decca plus check it on the internet it works very fast it’s my new best friend

Wanda Gardner

1st off the blowdryer is TO CLOSE TO THe hair = burned hair ….. Just saying #HAIRSTYLIST

Amml Icandi

Some dryers like mine have a cool setting. No heat.

Ileah Collins

also there is low/ cool setting and heat protectant. if you don’t use this that often I’m sure your hair’s fine.

Andria LifeisGood Davis

not always true….pretty sure they may be using a heat setting

Maya Dennies

pine tar by b&b.

Going Hardfor Christ

Try JBCO and DO scalp massages with it at least 3x’s a day, keep scalp clean and moisturized, keep head wrapped whenever you lie down on pillow, couch etc. I had three bald spots and after months they are slowly but surely filling in! God bless you on your journey!

Angela Mickles

Thanks for the input on bald spots. My edges are really thin. I will try jbco

Denetra Gilmore

Air dry please

Natasha Skipper

What is jbco? My knw soneone with thin edges

Karul-Ann Morton

Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Terry Norman

That’s why you use a heat protectant.

Cleopatra Jones Best

Try using the Visical hairwe vitamins its for thining and bald spots they also have shampoo and conditioner. Go to there website.

Cleopatra Jones Best

I used the vitimans when I did my BC in 2010 and my hair was growing by days but I had to stop taking them because my system couldn’t digest them properly. I realized I can’t take vitamins of any kind only herbs.

Tanika Jackson Perry

I’ve been using the JBCO for 3 months now and since my use of it I’ve experienced very bad dandruff. .Is this normal? I can see there is growth to my edges since the usage but needed to know if I’m missing something else

Kim Riggs

I won’t my long hair back,can any body tell me what product to use to get my long hair back.

Mofya Phyllis Kashimbaya-Chanda

Beautiful hair!

Khadija de Buisonjé

But maybe she’s doing it with cold air.. like?

Amml Icandi

I agree.

Natasha Skipper

Thankyou Karul-Ann Morton

Salt Pepper Cinnamon

Everyone’s hair is different,I relax twice a year,wash my hair when its really dirty,I only use organic products,blow dry on high heat ,my hair is thick n healthy n it looks really natural

Natural Mystic

Love this method. Keeps your hair on your head where it belongs. I’m so afraid of that comb attachment *yikes*

Robert Lee

I Love That Hair

Khadija de Buisonjé

Exactly cause when I’m doing it im using the cool setting for like 85% of my hair and the 15% thats left over is on the warm setting.

Jasmine Whitlock

I love this look!

Carla A. Williams

I have the Yellow Bird blow dryer from Sally’s and that mess gets hot! I use the medium setting and I don’t hold the dryer that close to my hair. I use heat protectant as well. 2 weeks ago, I used the actual comb attachment. My hair reverted right back. As a natural, you don’t have to be afraid of heat. Use it in moderation and make sure your hair is protected!! My hair is SUPER thick!

Crystal Roberts

I will try this

Xaviera Pranawaré

Haha.. I have a dream, Giovanni Elizee

Yaneria Jackson

I do that sometimes…

Aletha Binion

I use this method on my daughters hair and it works out great, and it’s faster!

LaRita Smith

This saves a TON of time and decreases breakage/shed.

Stephanie Carson Osawe

I use for my daughter as well. So much better than using comb attachments.

Karen Seward

Nice hair

Thee Hlywd Iva

That takes so much work just blow dry your hair on medium instead of high heat.

Antricia King

Won’t work in the caribbean cuz of the climate your hair would frizz or frizzy it’s may not all if you have good hair/ mix

Jaylin Thomas

Don’t forget to always use a heat protectant! I recommend John Freida’s Heat Defeat or The Dry Bar’s Hot Toddy

Jo-Anne Ctn

Antricia King … Theres no such thing as good Hair or mixed .. There are different structures of Hair !

Deidre Campbell

Will be trying this today.

Therica Reynolds

Nicki Quinn no not yet I usually do wet twists since it’s easier

Brina Davis

YouLove Ci Ci

YouLove Ci Ci

I need this! Thank you!

Syreeta Harris

Nifa Nab was hältst du davon?

Shercarla Pennington

Love your hair

Ishema Rideaux

LaKeisha Lando Freeman I know this already thanks

Tasha C Smith

I used that method this weekend when I braided my daughter’s hair. I didn’t dry her hair all the way but it turned out good. I especially love the puff I lefted.

Johnson Mari

What would u all use for a two yr old mixed child whose hair is very thick n dry.. Hair lotions leave residue.. Coconut oil leaves it oily.pls help

Regina Whitlock Tekumafor

Mixed chicks is a good product

Denese Whaley

@Johnson Mari. A friend of mine uses Carols Daughter on her daughter hair.

Aisha W. Bryant

I’d love to be able to read the articles on here…however an advertisement for a book makes it impossible. There isn’t an “x” on the advertisement so I can close it to read the article. Please, remove the advertisement or incl a close option. Thanx.

Renise Eustache

Sobrune Beau-Soleil, tips to take the shrinkage away, watch the first video 🙂

LaSaundria Janai Walker

Suzettra L. Staples


I can see this working on hair that is BSL (bra-strap-length) or longer. When I try it, the parts have to be really small to be effective which makes the process really long and then rest of my hair dries too quickly.