While blow-drying can score you silky-straight tresses, too much of this heat source can also harm fragile black curls. But don’t be afraid of your blow-dryer. Just follow these QualityHealth techniques to help you minimize the damage.

• Get snipped. A cut is über-important if your hair is damaged. What’s even better is that blow-drying trimmed tresses every so often won’t cause any problems.

• Go heavy-duty. Use super-hydrating moisturizing shampoos and conditioners designed for your specific hair needs.

• Protect and serve. Lavish a moisture-adding heat protectant or straightening balm to hair before blow-drying. These products reduce drying time and lessen heat damage.

• Dry out good. Make sure your hair is 80 percent dry before you flick on the blow-dryer. (Blow-drying too-wet or -dry hair can cause damage.)

• Observe the proper distance. Hold the blow-dryer at least 6 inches away from your head to avoid scalp burn.

And to really make heat work for your hair, check out these tips: Allow enough drying time to avoid frizzing; skip the professional-style dryer (it can be overkill); use a boar’s bristle brush to straighten hair (separate hair into several 2- to 4-inch sections) then blow-dry from back to front, or start with sections that dry the quickest.

Now, for the finishing touch: Elevate the dryer above the head and lock in straightness by finishing each hair section with cold air.

When it comes to blow-drying, moderation is important. Keep it to a minimum to ensure the least harm to your hair.

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