How To | Air Dry Relaxed Hair with Soft and Smooth Results

air drying stretched relaxed hair stretchingI know when I started experimenting with air drying it shortened my wash days, but my hair always ended up dry, poofy, rough, and unmanageable, which is what keep me holding on to heat styles.  But the more I experimented with air drying, the more I was able to modify the process to get better results.  I’m not the best at air drying, but I have made major strides.  Lately I have been relying heavily on air drying as my method of finishing off my wash days.  Even on days where I take the time to style my hair with rollers or another low manipulation style, air drying has just been my go to option when I have the time.  And air drying into a bun is just so quick and easy that’s become my default for most wash days.  Below you’ll find my wash day process for air drying into a bun for softer smoother results.

The Wash Day Process
(1) Deep Condition with a moisturizing conditioner.  Smoothing Deep Conditioners are great and if they have slip that’s even better.  Slip is one of those things that you know it when you have it.  Some deep conditioners when applied to your hair (and when rinsing them out) make running your fingers through your hair a breeze.  Others — not so much.  You will want to test out your stash of deep conditioners and pay attention to the one(s) that give you the best slip.  Those are the ones you want to use on air dry days.
TIP: If you don’t have the best deep conditioner in your stash then do an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse (one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water).  Spray or pour it onto your hair as a final rinse after deep conditioning and leave it on for like a minute before rinsing it out.  This also lays the cuticle layer of the hair shaft down for smoother hair.

(2) After your final rinse, dry your hair with a t-shirt for a few minutes — just to absorb the water.

Must Have: 100% Cotton T-shirt. Ditch your towels on air dry days.  Something about the texture of a t-shirt just agrees with our hair.  It makes your hair less frizzy and helps to contribute to smoother air dried hair. It sounds silly, but trust me it works.

(3) Detangle in small sections, smoothing the hair out (use a detangling product if necessary).

(4) With each section that you detangle apply a creamy moisturizing leave-in conditioner or moisturizer and top with your favorite oil for sealing.

(5) Once you’ve detangled your hair, smooth your edges down (if you have a lot of new growth use your favorite gel).

(6) Secure your ends into a very loose bun using a clip or bobby pin.

(7) Tie your edges down with a scarf.
For more tips on air drying check out my latest video:
This is what I do to air dry.  
What are your tips for getting great air dried results?  What are some of your favorite deep conditioners for air drying?

15 Comments


  1. Excellent steps and tips for air drying. Never thought about spraying my comb with detangler but will have to try that method. The Paul Mitchell super skinny serum is a life saver for me during air drying. I think Sallys carries the generic version.

    I can hardly wait to see your 6 month stretch results. Have you experience increased shedding with a longer stretch? If I go beyond 12 weeks my hair sheds like crazy. Great post.


  2. Kayla i take sundown odorless garlic pills and they have helped with my shedding. I am now 11 weeks post and my shedding is minimal.


  3. Here lately, I've been enjoying using my SSS Plates by CWK Girls.


  4. Thanks for the tips! I think I need to work on my airdrying technique.


  5. Thanks for the tip Shantel. I will have to try those odorless garlic pills. I also heard about using tea rinses. My hair has been shedding a lot since I switched from bone straight to texlaxed hair. I love my texlaxed thicker hair and will be using your tips to get my shedding under control. Thanks again.


  6. Thanks, Kayla. I actually started taking odorless garlic supplements half way through my stretch and my shedding has decreased drastically. It's pretty amazing. The bottle recommendsone four times a day but I just take one daily.


  7. Thanks, Shantel. Kayla, the garlic pills work better than the tea rinses for me. It is definitely worth a try.


  8. Your welcome Kayla. I learnt about those pills from a lady in a hair group i am apart of on facebook named Kibbi Hair. I use tea rinses from time to time but found the pills more effective. The right side of my hair would shed more than the left side and that has now changed. The shedding was reduced and even me was surprised at thag.


  9. Great post Kim! I always liked air drying when my hair was fully relaxed but now my hair is texlaxed it's more prone to frizz if I don't cover my hair in product! x


  10. Thanks, Lesley. Do you find that you're using more heat now that you're texlaxed?


  11. So glad to have found this blog post. I will be buying odourless garlic today to try. Im currently over 5 months post but also considering transitioning. Thanks for all the tips


  12. So glad to have found this blog post. I will be buying odourless garlic today to try. Im currently over 5 months post but also considering transitioning. Thanks for all the tips

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