Countdown to a Blow-Out

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10/3/12: As we just entered the fall season, I’ve been contemplating straightening my hair more and more. Still not there, especially as it’s been so overcast. But, I figure some of you may be contemplating the same thing. So, here is Part I or two posts that I did last fall when I decided to blow-out my hair.

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I was a busy little bee this weekend, hitting three different stores (one twice), in order to get the items I needed for my impending blow-out. I made the appointment for my Afro puffy twists for this week and I was finally faced with the fact that I needed to make some decisions about my hair prep. I read CurlyNikki’s post on Flat Ironing Tips and recognized the importance of the right products, good techniques and the proper tools. I’d been ruminating over what heat protectant to use and whether I would use a blow dryer, use a comb attachment, try the tension method, braid, twist or attempt a roller set to stretch … decisions, decisions! The initial plan was to use the ElastaQP Silk Design Silk Thermal Styling Spray I already have under the sink and the Ion blow dryer and a comb attachment that I haven’t used since President Obama was inaugurated three years ago! However, as I thought about it and how I’m so much more aware of the potential for heat damage and have so many resources at my fingertips, I realized that I could do better.

So, I proceeded to do some research while standing in Harmon in front of 4 shelves full of hair dryers (I know you shouldn’t love an inanimate object. I know this. But, I love my iPhone). I googled my Ion blow dryer because I had no memory of whether it was tourmaline or ceramic or ionic (Ion … yeah, probably that last one) or some combination thereof. Well, in my search, I came across this very informative (though somewhat discouraging) article on the “benefits” of “hi-tech” hair dryers:

via Consumer Search:

Today’s blowers offer a bounty of options, all promising softer, shiner, healthier hair. It’s hard to find a hair dryer without the words “ceramic,” “ionic” or “tourmaline” in the name, but critics are unsure whether these features actually make for a better dryer or not.

Ionic hair dryers emit molecules with a positive or negative charge to dry hair. Instead of taking the air from a room and heating it like old-school hair dryers, ionic products use negative ions to shrink water droplets in the hair. Manufacturers say this helps wet hair dry faster with less heat damage — making for a smoother and shinier mane. Unfortunately, the science behind the claims is sketchy. There’s “little science to either prove or disprove this claim,” says Bill Nazaroff, professor of environmental engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, in a Wall Street Journal article.

The article goes on to say that though manufacturers tout that dryers using ceramic, ionic or tourmaline technologies result in speedier drying times, shinier hair and less heat damage, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support these claims. Regardless, and helpfully, the article didn’t discount these features entirely. Rather, additional research was conducted based upon professional and consumer reviews found via various sources. This information was used to compile a list of the Best Hair Dryers with these “high tech features” and ranked them from the most economical choices to the more expensive:

  1. Revlon RV544 Tourmaline Ionic hair dryer (Approx. $20)
  2. Conair Infiniti Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Styler 223X (Approx. $35)
  3. Conair Infiniti Professional Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Styler 213X (Approx. $35)
  4. T3 Tourmaline Professional Featherweight(Approx. $175)
  5. Featherweight Luxe (Approx. $250)
  6. CHI Rocket Professional (Approx. $135)
  7. CHI Nano Dual Air Flow Ceramic (Approx. $140)
  8. Elchim 2001 Professional(Approx. $120)
  9. Sedu Ultrapower Professional (Approx. $150)

The awesome, but horrible thing? Almost every single one of these dryers was on the shelves at Harmon!! LOL! Ultimately, I decided on #2 as it was very reasonably priced, apparently effective and I liked the style. Consumer Search had this to say about it:

The … Conair Infiniti Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Styler 223X has been named an InStyle Magazine Best Beauty Buy three years in a row (though we aren’t sure what criteria are used in awarding that status). It offers some of the same features found in many higher-priced blow dryers. It includes three heat settings and two speed settings as well as a cool-shot button; a soft finger diffuser, which allows you to get closer to the scalp for better hair-sculpting control; and a concentrator attachment, which is designed to direct airflow for styling purposes. The Conair 223X also has a removable filter to prevent lint build-up and comes with a three-year limited warranty.

The reason that I was at one store twice? I ran home to get about four 20% off coupons for Bed, Bath and Beyond (you can use these at Harmon!!) and one $5 coupon for Harmon as I was having a PJ moment and picked up several hair and make-up items too (you can thank ShamIAmGlam for fanning the make-up PJ flames;).

Ultimately, I only paid $28 (plus tax) for the dryer. Score!! I also picked up the “ionic” comb as I needed a medium-tooth comb for detangling. So, what was next? Research on a good heat protectant. Again, I was initially planning on using the ElastaQP Thermal Design Spray that I already owned and some grapeseed oil, which some tout as a natural heat protectant because it can sustain heat up to 420°. Then, I thought about someone who regularly rocked gorgeous straight hair during the winter. MopTopMaven!! I remember reading several posts from her last year and commenced to searching. I came across four really good articles that she did on straightening hair and one that was specific to blow drying natural hair.

via MopTopMaven:

Going Straight for Winter

6 Techniques for Easy Breezy Blow Drying

How to Prevent/Recover from Heat Damage

Help My Pressed Hair Never Stays Straight

As the search for a good heat protectant was what prompted my search, I was particularly interested in Mop Top Maven’s recommendation on this front. I hit pay dirt with her article, Going Straight for Winter, as she outlined every product in her straight hair regimen. When I read that she loved Aveda Brilliant Damage Control as her heat protectant, I knew that was it as I always read great things about this line and knew of a local salon that carries it. So I headed over and picked it up … along with the CurlyNikki approved Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade (I couldn’t resist even though I’ll have no use for it until Spring!!).

Back to the product search. Also in MopTopMaven’s straight hair product line-up were Fermodyl 619 (leave-in) and Sebastian Potion #9 (leave-in/styler). I decided to hit Sally’s as I knew that they had a GVP version of Potion #9 and thought that I’d seen the Fermodyl there before as well. Sure enough, I hit the mother-load here too and picked up both items.

So now, I feel that I am thoroughly prepared with both products, techniques and tools. My blow-out regimen will be as follows:

  • Cleanse thoroughly with a diluted sulfate shampoo (clarify).
  • Apply ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor (strengthen).
  • Deep condition with cool & seal technique (moisture).
  • Thoroughly rinse with cool/cold water.
  • Section hair into 6 sections (2 in back and 1 in front on each side).
  • Apply Roux Fermodyl 619 to each section using spray bottle (porosity corrector/detangler/leave-in).
  • Apply small amount of GVP Potion #9 to each section (moisture and wearable treatment/styler).
  • Apply Aveda Brilliant Damage Control to each section (heat protection).
  • For each of prior 3 steps, comb hair with fingers, then wide tooth comb, then medium tooth comb (detangling).
  • Comb through each section with fine-tooth comb and set hair in 6 twists total.
  • Secure roots with large doobie pins and roll ends on medium/large purple flexi-rods.
  • Use tension method to blow dry hair to stretched state.

I plan on doing this over the course of two days and completed all but the last step on Sunday night. I may have to dampen my hair slightly to do a blow-out to stretch it further. However, knowing my hair, it might not be entirely dry, even after a full 24 hours! So, we’ll see if the wetting step is necessary.

And that’s that. It was a lot of research and store hopping, but I feel a lot more confident that I can do this without causing appreciable heat or manipulation damage. I’ll keep you all apprised of the final results and will have those product reviews for you too! Go team natural ;)!!

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How do you protect your hair during heat styling? What products, techniques and tools do you use?

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27 responses »

  1. With all due respect, I think you’re overthinking it a little. And I do mean that with respect. Research is great and all but you don’t plan on heat straightening all the time right? Just this once and then not for a while? I honestly don’t think you’ll get heat damage from one blow out.

    I blew out constantly with no damage until I started flat ironing. That was the real damager for my hair. I think as long as you keep the dryer at a nice temp, not too hot and use a decent heat protectant it will be fine. Just my opinion though and knowing you the short while I’ve known you, you’ll do more LOL Enjoy and can’t wait to see your results.
    I’m still not blowing out until 2012

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    • LOL! You know I go hard Michelle;). And, as I mentioned to you earlier today, it provided great material for the blog:)!! But, yeah, I probably didn’t need to make all the new purchases for one blow-out, but you know I’m a PJ :D! Any excuse to buy! Plus, if I do want to do a blow-out in the future, I’ll be totally prepared! Or, maybe I’ll gift my Aveda to someone as I might not do a blow-out for another year! Wow, I just thought of that! I bought that bottle and might not … oh wait, it can be used for other things too!! Phew … yeah, I’ll be using that Aveda for my TnCs as I need to sit under a dryer for those most of the time! Shoot, thought I wasted some money for a minute! LOL!!

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  2. Hi Shelli,

    Moptop Maven was my “go to” girl for straight looks. I’ve used Aveda Brilliant, anti-humectant pomade (a little goes a long, long way), Sebastian’s Potion 9 and Paul Mitchell’s leave-in conditioner. You are covered! Currently, I like Redkin’s Heat Glide. It is more of a serum, but it works magic on heat set styles (not that you need to add another product to your arsenal).

    Let me know your thoughts after using the Aveda Brilliant. I found that it made my hair alittle “hard”. This could have been from my heavy hand though. I used alot of product.

    Good luck with your blow out. I can hardly wait to see your results. You should reach waist length hair once blown out.

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    • LOL! You pusher;)! LOL!! I already was using the NYX jumbo eye pencils (I use a coppery one on the regular). Their colors are so highly pigmented and last, so I really like them (MopTopMaven put me on NYX too!!). But, after seeing your little lower lid liner action in the linked post, decided I wanted to try that too! Did you see in the fishtail/dutch braid tutorial? I was wearing a little aqua liner on the rim of my lower lid :D!! I also am always ogling your gorgeous eyelashes! So, when I saw that you use Maybelline Falsies mascara, I had to pick that up too to see if it made my lashes 1/4 as fab as yours!! I got the flared in Black lace (or something like that) though. As to the Aveda, reviewing coming soon! Like, once I finish replying here, hope that I’m awake enough to write the post for tomorrow!! LOL!!

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  3. I’m planning out doing a blow out for the first time in 9 years soon! I think I will use Carol’s Daughter Chocolat Smoothing Blow Dry Cream or Phyto Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm since I read so many good reviews about both.

    I will use the tension method since I don’t want little hairs all over the floor.

    Can’t wait to see your results!

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    • OMGosh!!!! 9 years?!?!? Guess you get your hair trimmed wet and/or trim it yourself? Mmmmmmmm … chocolate smoothing blow dry cream??!?! That sounds like it smells diving? Does it? Actually, hmmm … I say that, but I’m not too particular about the smell of the Qhemet Biologic Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee. So, maybe I’m not really a fan of chocolate smells unless it’s the real deal? LOL!!

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      • I’ve always trimmed my hair wet with conditioner one small section at a time – myself. I did have my hair trimmed while dry once by a pro and it was great!

        I heard it smells REALLY good, but I’m not a huge fan of chocolate smells, but this one cant be beat (so said a little bird)!

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  4. Woah, this seems like an awesome line-up! I’ve been going back and forth on wanting to try a blow out. I’m so scared of heat damage now and my hair HATES all in. I can really only finger detangle. *sigh* I really miss heat styling. Not even the look of it, just the whole process was really fun for me. I hope it works out and can’t wait to read the reviews and see pics!

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      • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I read that on my phone earlier today and couldnn’t figure out what was missing! As to the detangling … believe you me, I was giving those combs the side eye. But, MopTopMaven said that both the fermodyl and Aveda helped detangle and I knew I needed to detangle it well myself so that the braiders won’t have to do so tomorrow! It sounds like a lot above, but it wasn’t bad at all. It went pretty quickly. I just knew that I had to start with my fingers and work my way down to the fine tooth comb. Oh, and one thing that I didn’t mention above, half the reason for the combing was to make sure I distributed the products thoroughly. I didn’t use a lot of any, so wanted to make certain I moved it around;).

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  5. Ahh I’m so excited for you to blow out your hair that I couldn’t even finish reading the post – I just had to comment!! Thanks so much for the info on hair dryers. I should’ve researched them before I straightened my hair. I researched just about everything else! lol Oh well, next time.

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    • LMBO!! Okay, that was too funny:). Did you go back and finish reading? LOL!! As to the blow dryer research, as I told Michelle … I agree that I was a little extra with all the research and new purchases for one blow-out, but it’s what I do and it’s great material for the blog:)! I just finished doing it a little while ago, and I’m feeling tired. But, I’m going to try to reveal the blow out in its full glory tomorrow;).

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  6. Congrats on the blowout, but i agree you may be overthinking. I blew out and flat ironed my hair almost two weeks ago, and its still looks great…love the winter. I took pics for my Nov. update too, i’m so excited that the challenge helped me get to almost waist length hair.

    Let me know how the heat protectant works for you, every brand I’ve tried has weighed down my hair…so I don’t use any lol – haven’t received any damage. I only flat iron one time though, I don’t do any touch ups.

    How do you plan to keep your blow out up? I sleep in two big flexis.

    Also, if the products you’re using after you do the cold water rinse smell GREAT – I’d suggest using apple cider vinegar and cold distilled water for the rinse (learned from Moptop Maven too, i wish she’d come back). Makes your hair swang like nobody’s business. But if you don’t have anything to combat the vinegar smell – I’d skip.

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  7. Pingback: Operation Blow-Out: Mission Accomplished « hairscapades

  8. Pingback: Mish Mash Mosh « hairscapades

  9. Personally a roller set would be less time consuming. Wash and condition, roller set and sit under the dryer. Then remove rollers and do the doobie doobie( this is what we called it when I was growing up…very puerto rican..LOL!) or wrap your hair around your head. Put on a satin scarf and go to sleep! 🙂
    Next day hair is soft and nicely straightened with lots of body. This is how I kept my hair straight…I never blowed dried my hair….to hard and too much work.

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  10. Your hair is so long Shelli!!! O_O lol
    This post is great. I have kept it simple with my blowouts to dry twist my hair. I use my kimmaytube leave-in with added grapeseed oil and Organix Brazilian Keratin Flat Iron heat protectant spray. I dry my hair on medium high heat and pass it through not staying too long on anyone spot. So far my hair has reverted as it always does. No issues here. 🙂

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  11. Your hair is gorgeous! But I agree with an earlier poster, you may be overthinking it. According to Beauty Brains, grapeseed oil may not be a good heat protectant. I’ve read that on a number of blogs but its not quite accurate. I hope you don’t mind but I’ll post the link to their site below. They are my go to site to debunk some of these hair myths to prosper on the hair forums.
    http://thebeautybrains.com/2012/01/20/is-grape-seed-oil-good-for-protecting-hair-from-heat/

    But your hair is healthy and gorgeous so you must be doing something right! I think some naturals feel guilty about wearing straight hair. Don’t apologize! I’ve read a number of sites and there is always some poster claiming a blogger has suffered from heat damage from using heat every blue moon. Ignore those haters! You never know what kind of fool is on the other side of that keyboard anyway.

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