Natural Hair Mag

African Banding: Straighten Your Curls Without Heat

Most naturals know the best way to allow hair to dry is through air drying. The fear of putting too much heat on hair would make a woman squirm, especially one who is transition.

Hair burns at a very high heat level; over 400 degrees to be exact. Many in the curly haired community have convinced themselves that high heat is the most effective way to straighten hair.

While effective, it does not mean it’s healthy. Often times, using too much heat should be discouraged.

Not that heat is a bad thing. It’s more in the way it is used.

It is strongly recommended that natural rockers try to get into the habit of doing the following to prevent heat damage:


  • Deep condition and wash before hand
  • Use a leave in conditioner for extra moisture
  • Use a heat sealant. Many naturals miss this step and it is one of the most crucial. If you cannot decide between products, use plain shea butter or coconut oil for your sealant.
  • Do not use heat often. If you are going to flat iron, give it several weeks before you use it again.
  • Use medium heat on your blow dryers or 375 degrees (or even less) for other heating tools.

blow out

Additionally, it is quite possible to give your hair a respectable straightening without any heat at all. However, it requires a little manipulation.

African banding is basically stretching pieces of damp hair and wrapping them in bands using cotton thread. Allow the bands to  completely dry overnight and you should have much straighter hair.

Other materials that women can use to band their hair includes soft rubber bands (the type that do not easily get tangled in hair) or silky-textured ribbons.

No this is not a miracle pill and you may still need to run a flat iron or hot comb on your hair, but it will drastically cut the amount of time and heat you will use otherwise.

Below is a great tutorial video of the banding process and how it works on curly hair. While do you do not need to follow her steps precisely, you will get the general idea of how to band your hair to make it more straight.


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  • Sadie Mae Mae

    What type of thread is that?