After you wash and deep condition your hair, you have several options when it comes to the style you want. Just remember with every step, you want to be thinking about the ends of your hair. Retaining length is the most important aspect of growing long healthy hair. Here are some of your options:
It is always better to air dry your hair. I find that styles that are air dried call for less manipulation and are better on your ends. You have many options with air drying. You can put your hair in braids or twists until it dries for a sexy laid back curly style. You can air dry in a bun for a nice sleek bun. The possibilities are endless. Once you find an air drying method that works for you... you will be hooked on how easy this makes your life.
If air drying is not your thing, there are methods of using heat that will limit the damage done to your hair. The one method that comes to mind is roller setting. I LOVE the way roller setting makes my hair look and feel. I'm not very good at styling my hair, but roller setting is the one style I can actually do. Trust me if I can do it, anyone can do it. This is a method of using heat that protects your ends from direct heat. If you want your roller set to come out really sleek, then you can do a saran wrap. Here is a video on how a saran wrap is done.
Another method of styling is using direct heat. It is possible for some people to grow their hair long and healthy while using direct heat. However, I personally think it takes longer and you have to do more frequent trimming to counteract the damage that direct heat does to your hair. Direct heat is using a blow dryer, curling iron or flatiron to style your hair. Anything that puts heat directly on your hair is using direct heat. If you do choose to use direct heat regularly, there are some simple tips you can follow.
1. Always use a heat protectant. My favorite heat protectant is Sabino Moisture Block.
2. Only use direct heat on clean freshly washed hair.
3. Always use direct heat on hair that is fully dry (flat iron, curling iron). If you are using a blow dryer, dry your hair about 80% before using the blow dryer. Never blow dry soaking wet hair.
4. If you use heat regularly, it will help to incorporate more protein into your regimen.
5. Always deep condition before using direct heat.
6. Don't flatiron/curl with oil or grease. This is frying your hair. Plus you won't get the "swang" that you are looking for. Using light products will keep your hair light. Heavy products will give you a weighed down, greasy look.
7. Do not use direct heat more than once a week.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org