For most naturals keen on growing their hair, avoiding heat is a very sacred mantra. We know that blowdrying, even on a low setting, literally dries the hair by taking internal moisture levels to below what air drying would produce and never rebalancing with humidity in air. You can read the science here.
However, some naturals actually attribute low temperature blow drying to being able to manage their hair better as hair dries faster, has reduced tangling and shrinkage due to the stretching and it is easier to part hair for styling. So is this a double standard or not? Here is my analysis:
1. Low frequency and low heat blowdrying may be less damaging than handling high shrinkage and tangling
If your hair has a tendency to shrink and tangle and heatless methods of stretching your hair are either too time consuming or prevent your hair from fully drying for hours, then a low heat blow dry may the best resolution for you. If this is done once every 2-3 weeks, the frequency of heat use is low enough such that heat damage should be able to be contained, however, this goes hand in hand with point number 2 below.
2. Listen to your hair
There are some us who know our hair just simply does not agree with any type of heat. There are others who know low heat is ok and others who know any type of heat is fine. The point here is that your hair is predictable. If you try low heat blow drying and end up with severely dry and splitting hair, do consider that even with a change of products or techniques, your hair just may not want heat. In this event, even low temperature blow drying is not ideal. Also if your hair is perpetually dry and you are currently experiencing breakage, then blow drying is really not for you as it will only make things worse.
3. How to : Type 4 hair
This video from Jouelzy shows a low tension blow dry where you do not pass a comb through the hair with every pass. There is a lot of texture retained with this method and the idea is not to blow hair out to as stretched as it can be. This would require both high heat and combing creating cumulatively more damage. The aim is to stretch hair and allow easier styling. The one recommendation I would add is that you should use a concentrator nozzle as shown but avoid it contacting your hair as that can lead to bubble hair.
4. How to : Type 3 hair
If you have type 3 hair and your aim is not to stretch your hair but to keep it curly and dry your hair faster, then a diffuser attachment is what you need. This is demonstrated in this video from Seaesh. As the name suggests, a diffuser spreads the air from the blowdryer over a wider area and through severak smaller nozzles; this helps to not break up curls compared to when using a blow dryer with a concentrator nozzle or no nozzle at all. If you do want to break up the curls and get a more blown out look then the type 4 video is for you.