n to n

To Heat or Not To Heat Natural Hair

Since I’ve been a nappynista, the diverse world of naps has been my obsession. The curls, kinks, good hair and bad hair, AKA “the naps on my head,” have served as my playground, therapy, and love interest. To be honest, hair on anyone’s head just fascinates me. I wonder (hopefully to myself) if the sistas rocking the naturals think about keeping their hair healthy or do they just want a style to fit a trend. Time and time again, I end up at this thought: are naps really that serious?


It’s a valid question because there are ladies labeled as “purists” who just aren’t down for putting direct heat to their naps. Nothing hot is coming close to their hair if deep conditioning, hot oil treatments or steaming aren’t involved. The absolute turn from relaxers meant an about face for heat styling, too. I ain’t mad at them; no heat keeps the naps intact without worrying about recovery from possible heat damage from pressing combs or flat irons. The styling options for natural hair without heat never stop. Some like their naps shrunken; the hair is protected and moisturized. Shrinkage doesn’t stop styling. If you feel it does, just wait a few days. The hair will stretch and fall naturally, showing length without applying heat.

However, the world of naps embraces the sistas who use a little heat for styling. I’ve seen some flyy doos that started on hair that was blown out. You don’t have to wait for naps to stretch to show length because the results are immediate. Sometimes styles use a quick shot of a hot blowdryer to coax natural hair from just washed shrunken status. Low heat settings are used to quickly pass over wet or damp twists in hair to achieve elongated twist outs. The low heat and quick passes are thought to minimize the chances of heat damage. I refuse to be a nappy nazi just because someone wants to change their hair up a bit. To use heat or not to use heat is a personal choice.

flat iron

I’m so into being comfortable in my own hair, and I’m all about keeping my flyy on with whatever I feel. I haven’t used heat to style my naps in at least two years at the time of this post. I’m so cool with that – pun intended. I don’t feel deprived of styling options, although I haven’t really stepped outside of twist outs for a mmmmiiiinnnnuuuuttteee. I am going to try some flat twists (God help me) and Bantu knot outs; I may even get pressed and ironed down.  Just trust that whatever I do will be me… until I decide to change.

This is my slice; speak your piece! Do you use heat to style your naps? Does using heat to style naps make you “less natural?”

3 thoughts on “To Heat or Not To Heat Natural Hair”

  1. Ive beem transitioning for almost a year. I mostly keep my hair braided but in between I blow out. I'm sure purist would boo hoo me… whatever. Its my head and I'm happy with the results. I just want relaxer out of my life, I'm not trying to prove how in love am with my hair in its 4c state to anyone.

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