About Contact
E-mail Address
First Name
Get More Healthy Black Hair Care Tips.

[?]Subscribe For Updates
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

Using Styling Tools on Black Hair

Styling tools are foreign objects that are placed on the hair to mold it into place. Common Styling tools used by most black women are:

Most people use styling tools when manipulating their hair into a new look. Some people think that there is a need to use some type of tool every time they manipulate their hair.

How often you do use combs and brushes to detangle your hair? How much do you rely upon using hair pins or even heating appliances to accomplish your hairstyles each week?

The hairstyle choices that involve styling tools could be the main source of your hair breakage. Heating appliances and hair accessories often pull on your hair. The key is to be gentle and preventive.

Objects that pull on the hair will weaken your hair strands by destroying the protein layer of the hair. Take precaution when using metal hair accessories and hot hair appliances because they damage your hair strands.

Reckless tension from pulling and using high heat temperatures on your hair will reduce its length potential. Using heat on the hair causes the water within your hair strands to boil. High heat temperatures will change your curl pattern and ultimately damage your hair.

Advice From Cathy Howse

Cathy Howse's book, Ultra Black Hair Growth II, explains the damage potential of styling tools. I have summarized key concepts that she emphasizes throughout her book. Here is Cathy Howe's advice on using blow dryers, curling irons, combs and brushes:

Blow Dryers: range between 750-1600 Watts which can be very damaging

  • Use the blow dryer on low-medium setting
  • Do not dry your hair “bone dry”
  • Use a blow dryer only on wet hair; never to straighten hair
  • Maximum usage once a week
  • Apply a moisturizer to your hair first before applying heat from a blow dryer
  • If you experience a lot of breakage after repeated use; then discontinue use

Curling Irons: Often used too often and kept on the ends too long

  • Always test your curling iron with a tissue or damp cloth before putting it on your hair. You do not want to fry your hair
  • If you allow the curling iron to reach its maximum temperature and it sizzles on your hair; then remove it immediately and wrap a damp cloth around the barrel to cool it down
  • Do not use a curling iron daily and do not use on dirty hair
  • The curling iron, when used after blow-drying, can be more damaging because of too much moisture lost between appliances
  • Do not leave curling iron on hair for more than 20 seconds
  • Never use a curling iron with alcohol-based products such as hairspray-it’s too dying

Pressing Comb: strongly recommends a relaxer instead

  • Never use on chemically processed hair
  • Only use if there is a thermostat control; the old fashion kind that is heated on the burner, are inappropriate because of the uncontrolled heat levels
  • Never put any heated appliance within your hair without testing it

NO Hair Brushes: Avoid brushing Afro-textured hair; it does more harm than good

  • Brushing the hair does not stimulate the scalp and make hair grow
  • Our hair can and will grow long apart from brushing
  • It destroys the hair shaft; it is one of the most damaging maintenance steps we do to our hair
  • There are more effective ways to: increase blood circulation to the hair cells; distribute hair oils (sebum); and loosen and remove dirt and scales
  • If your hair is scarce at the nap of your neck; or around the edges-HAIR BRUSHES could be the culprithair-pick

The Comb and Pick: To keep your hair on your head, you must always handle with care

  • Pulling and tugging on the hair, to remove tangles is very damaging to weak hair, especially hair that has been chemically processed.
  • The less damage and stress we inflict upon our hair, the more hair we can keep on our heads
  • Using the wrong styling tools can be damaging, even something so simple as using the wrong comb will pull your hair out
  • Avoid unnecessary pulling and tearing
  • We need TWO combs: a standard comb with large and small teeth; and a WIDE tooth comb
  • A pick or comb is less-likely to get caught in tangles and rip out your hair
E-mail Address
First Name
Get More Healthy Black Hair Care Tips.


Quick Advice On Using Styling Tools Correctly

Grab a small section of your hair and finger detangle the ends; then work a wide tooth comb from the ends of your hair upward to the roots of your hair. Do not force the comb through tangled hair. If you run into a jam or knot--slow down.

Loosen the knot with your fingers until you reach the root of your hair. Use hair clips to section your hair and prevent it from becoming tangled up again. Only use combs to part the hair when the hair is smooth and stretched. You can also use the tips of your fingers to section and part your hair.

BEWARE: brushes are made up of thin, plastic bristles that not only pull on the hair but they stab the hair strand and can chip away at the cuticle layer and weaken the hair causing it to become weathered and prematurely break-off.

Use a brush with soft bristles. I have seen people use tooth brushes on the edges of their hair to prevent hair breakage. When working your hair into up-dos such as a ponytail, start with your hands to position your hair into place; then use a soft brush to smooth the hair at your hairline. Using the palms of your hands is equally effective for smoothing the edges.

Only attach a hair accessory to your hair when it is set into place. Do not use the hair clip to pull your hair into place. Use your hands to move your hair into place where the accessory will reside.

Plastic accessories are less damaging than metal accessories. Metal pokes and rips at the hair strand. Remove accessories while sleeping to eliminate involuntary pulling, yanking, and poking on your hair and scalp.

When using flexible hair bands, make sure your hair is sectioned and not tangle-free. Avoid using rubber bands on your hair! Apply hair accessories at a mirror for added precision. Remember, to be proactive when it comes to preventing hair damage while wearing hair accessories.

Use heating appliances sparingly. Put yourself on a heating appliance hair regimen. For example, do not use heat on your hair more than once a week. Blow dryers, flat-irons and curling irons should be used at the lowest setting to accomplish your desired hairstyle. Have you ever tried using your heating tools on the lowest setting? It might be possible to get similar results with less heat.



Prevent Hair Damage By Limiting How
Often You Use Styling Tools On Your Hair

When you use your hands to smooth, section, and move the hair you will reduce the potential of hair damage tremendously. Every time you use styling tools, you are increasing the likelihood of pulling your hair out.

Evaluate all of the styling tool within your hair regimen and decide whether or not you can reduce how often you use them. For instance, if you absolutely need to use a heating appliance; then try to sacrifice combs and brushes or vice versa.

Consider replacing the use of combs and brushes on your hair with using your fingers when detangling. Your fingers are intuitive. The pads of your fingers can sense a knot much quicker than a comb and can release a tangle or knot with more precision.

Brushes work great but do they smooth the hair any better than the palm of your hands? Using your hands to style your hair more often is a smart way to preserve your hair strand. Allow your hands to explore all the different kinks and coils throughout your head.


Advantages Of Using Your Hands vs. Using Styling Tools


  • the hands are intuitive and can provide quicker feedback and therefore prevents tearing, pulling, and breaking more effectively

Your fingers are MORE RELIABLE

  • the hands offer more precision when smoothing the edges because the fingertips and palm are smooth and gap-free. Also, when sectioning the hair with your hands you are not poking at the scalp with a hard substance.
  1. Your fingers are LESS DAMAGING
  • the flat surface of the hand makes it almost impossible for damage to occur. The odds are on your side.

Develop A Weekly Hair Regimen
When Using Styling Tools

Be mindful of how much stress you are placing on your hair each day. Create a plan that regulates how much heat and tension you place on your hair in one setting. Figure out how you will actively prevent hair breakage each week.

Do your best to reduce stress on your natural hair. The less you use styling tools equals more hair on your head. When using styling tools know that the odds of hair breakage are pretty high.

Try stretching your natural hair without using heat. You should choose hairstyling options that do not dry out your hair such as wearing twist-outs. When you stretch your natural hair, it will not be super straight. But go ahead and show off some of your hair length.

How to Replace Heating Appliances In Your Weekly Hair Regimen

  • Use Perm Rods
  • Use Flexi Rods
  • Wear Bantu Knots
  • Band Your Hair
  • Wear Braid-outs
  • Wear Twist-outs








Deciding to go natural does not mean boring hairstyle options. Feel free to include styling tools into your weekly hair regimen. But do not overdo it. Figure out a way to measure how often you will use styling tools within your hair regimen.

When it comes to heating appliances such as curling irons and/or styling tools such as combs and brushes be extremely careful because they can instantly cause irreverseable damage on your hair strands.

Learn how to train your hair to get your desired look without the damage. Always make sure your hair is moisturized before using any styling tool.

Styling My Hair With Hair Accessories


Are you subscribed to my
YouTube channel?

to watch me take
care of my natural hair.

Related Articles ...

Learn how to detangle your natural black hair.

Learn how to clean your natural hair.

Ever consider wearing braids to transition into natural hair?

Got Questions?

First Name*
E-Mail Address*

Please enter the word that you see below.


Hi, and I am here to help you reach your healthy natural hair goals. Read more.

Favorite Black Hair Care Books