Edit: This list has been written with relaxed hair in mind. For a natural hair focused list please click here.
Find out what tools work best for your relaxed hair
In your journey to healthy long hair your will more than likely require styling tools. Some tools are absolute must-haves for the continued health of your hair but many are just optional great tools that can be purchased as and when they are required.
Hooded dryer or soft bonnet dryer – This is one of the most essential styling tools for healthy relaxed or natural hair. Let your wallet dictate whether you choose a hooded dryer or a soft bonnet one. They are similar in their use but you will find that hooded dryers will dry the hair faster. Soft bonnet dryers are excellent as they are inexpensive.
They dry the hair in a reasonable amount of time and they can easily be put away into a drawer when they are not being used. You would choose a hooded dryer over a blow dryer as the intensity of the heat is not as much.
Where a blow dryer will concentrate the heat in one section of hair, the hooded or soft bonnet dryer will provide constant even heat through the hair minimizing the risk of heat damage.
Hooded dryers/soft bonnet dryers coupled with large rollers can be used for straight styles in relaxed hair or natural hair with a loose curl pattern. They are also a great heat reduced way to stretch out tightly curled natural hair in preparation for flat ironing.
Do not get the plastic bonnet attachment that is used with a blow dryer. They do not last very long and the results are never good. A good hooded/soft bonnet dryer can be quite inexpensive and will last longer!
Rollers – These can be used to roll the hair and air dry or coupled with the hooded/soft bonnet dryer for sets.
Duck bill clips – With application of products or when generally styling the hair is it always best to work in sections. The purpose of the duck bill clips is to hold hair away from the section that you are currently working on. Some also use them to part the hair!
Other Styling Tools
Although these are not necessary to the health of your hair, they may also be needed for convenience or special occasions when you want a particular look.
Any small tooth comb – It is not advisable to use small tooth combs for regular detangling or general styling purposes but some prefer to use it when flat ironing. Make sure that the hair is completely detangled before attempting to use a small tooth comb to avoid breakage.
Blow dryer or Heat styler – Choose a blow dryer which is ionic with more than 1 heat setting. An ionic blow dryer will dry your hair in about half the time using less heat.
The technology behind it is that whilst blow drying millions of charged particles are delivered with the warm hair. These particles break down the water molecules into 1/50 of their normal size hence they are absorbed into the hair easier.
These molecules are then sealed into your hair leaving it softer and shinier. A blow dryer or heat styler with a comb attachment is easier to use than the ‘blow dryer and brush’ method. Blow dryers with the pik are quite awkward to use and it is difficult to get your hair straight enough to avoid flat ironing afterwards.
Flat Iron (Straightener) – When choosing a flat iron there are number of things to consider. Cheap irons may work just as well as the expensive kind but the damage they will do to your hair will be irreparable.
Black hair, whether natural or relaxed does not agree with a lot of heat so a temperature control on the tool is an absolute must. A ceramic (not ceramic coated) or tourmaline flat iron will be best.
The ceramic ensures that heat is distributed evenly on the hair and tourmaline is a natural source of negative ions so will leave the hair silky and moisturized.
Curling Iron – If you have a good flat iron you will eliminate the need for a curling iron as most of them have curved edges that allow you to curl the hair as you straighten. However, if you want to get one ensure it is ceramic.