Best Hair Steamers for Natural Hair: Professional and Handheld Options (2024)

Best Hair Steamers for Natural Hair: Professional and Handheld Options (1)

The concept of steaming natural hair has been around for quite some time. The people who own hair steamers generally love them, while those that don’t own a hair steamer wonder if they’re worth the money.

Are hair steamers worth the overall investment?If so, what are the best hair steamers on the market?

If you’re short on time, Curl Centric recommends the Q-Redew Hand-held Hair Steamer, which utilizes water to create steam used to moisturize, style, stretch, hydrate and deep condition your natural hair.

The Science Behind Hair Steamers

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Unfortunately, there’s not much scientific evidence when it comes to hair steamers and their effectiveness.

Actually, even the product manufacturers, companies making hair steamers, haven’t published any studies with supporting evidence.

The manufacturers often claim that hair steamerscanhydrate, deep condition, detangle, stretchand reshape the hair in just a few minutes.

To the best of my knowledge, there hasn’t been any substantive research conducted on this topic since 1934.

The 1934 study includedx-ray studies of the structure of hair, wool and related fibers (source). Basically, there aren’t any recent studies tocorroborate the claims of many companies that are producing hair steamers.

Some RecommendationsAbout Steaming Natural Hair

Generally speaking, you should only steam your hair in increments of 30 minutes or less. We like to use short time periods as one method of mitigating irreversible heat damage.

Steaming your hair is very similar to wetting your hair, since steam can make your hair strands absorb moisture and swell.

Steaming your hair also allows it to stretch a bit longer than it normally would when wet. We recommend that you’re very gentle with your hair when using hair steamers.

Your hair should remain elastic assuming that you usegradual force and limit the amount of heat exposure to your hair strands.

Remember to complete the steaming session within 30 minutes. Steaming your hair for more than 30 minutes could lead to disulfide bonds breaking causing permanent hair damage.

Maintaining theElasticity of Your Hair Strands

Elasticity is defined as your hair’s ability to return to its normal shape after it’s stretched. Yourhair is naturally elastic and it’s inyour best interests to have it stay that way.

So,what happens when you destroy your hair’s elasticity? The result is weakenedhair strandswithin thecortex which can eventuallylead to a permanent relaxingeffectof the hair strands (i.e., heat damage).

What’s the Best Hair Steamer for Natural Hair?

When hair steamers first came out, some argued this was just a trend. However, these devices continue to grow in popularity.

Q-Redew Handheld Hair Steamer

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The Q-RedewHandheld Hair Steamer is arguably one of the best hair steamersfor natural hair.

It doesn’t matter if you have loose curls or kinky coils; womenwith various hair textures have highly recommendedthis device.

It works best by putting distilled water in the machine and then allowing the steam to penetrate into your hairstrands.

This is a pretty compact hair steamer for natural hair compared to other the steamers on the market.

It’s easy to store away when it’s not in use and it’s convenient to pack for travel. Although, one complaint that we hear about the Q-Redew is the device heats up too quickly.

Heating up quickly can be great for creating the necessary steam, but use this powerful steamer withcaution to make sure you don’t get the device too close to your scalp or mistakenly have hot water drip directly on you, which can cause discomfort or potentially even burnsfrom the heat.

It’s also worth noting that using a handheld device also may be tiring for some, but you can always break up your sessions into 15-30 minute segments.

Kira’s Review of the Q-Redew Handheld Hair Steamer

Disclaimer: Kirawas provided with a free Q-Redew device and agreed to provide an honest review. After an honest review, which is posted below, we believe that the Q-Redew is one of the best hair steamers on the market.

Using the Q-Redew for the First Time

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I waited for the perfect time, just before wash day, when my hair was at its thirstiest to experiment with the Q-Redew.

I read the instructions, filled the reservoir with water and plugged the Q-Redew into the power outlet. Setup is that simple.

According to the instructions, after plugging in the unit, you should wait a few minutes to allow the device to warm up.

While the device is warming up, there is a blinking light that indicates that the device is heating up.

When the Q-Redew has warmed up, the blinking indicator turns steady, and the device is ready to use. This takes approximately 10 to 15 seconds.

Once the device was ready to use, I picked it up and pulled the trigger. The sound that it made reminded me of an iron steaming, although it wasn’t very loud. When you squeeze the trigger, the steam escapes through two holes – not the extended prongs.

Best Hair Steamers for Natural Hair: Professional and Handheld Options (5)

As I continued to get familiar with the device, I turned the Q-Redew towards my hand while the trigger was depressed and the steam was much hotter than expected.

I started looking for temperature controls on the base of the unit to see if I was able to adjust the temperature of the steam. Unfortunately, the unit doesn’t include temperature controls. Bummer!

Since the steam was hotter than I anticipated, I hesitated to allow the Q-Redew to have direct contact with my scalp. My thoughts are if a device is noticeably hot for my hand, it’s probably too hot for my hair and scalp also.

When I misted my hair for the first time, I spent less than 5 minutes on the front part of my head. I focused on my roots only and didn’t steam the rest of my strands.

After this initial attempt, I decided that the Q-Redew works best (for me) on twisted hair vs. loose hair.

Having my hair twisted would give me a better chance to focus on all of my hair vs. small sections at a time.

My Initial Expectations of the Q-Redew

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I expected the Q-Redew to be like any other hair steamer – only smaller.

I treated it as such on my loose dry hair, and that made my experience poor in my opinion.

However, after rethinking what would be the best and most effective way to use the device, I went to the FAQ section of the Q-Redew website and reread the number one question.

After reviewing the FAQ section, I started to rethink and adjust how I would integrate the Q-Redew into my natural hair regimen as a hairstyling tool.

After attempting to use it like a steamer, I realized that it would better suit me to remoisten my hair while in twists and to incorporate it into my moisture regimen instead – like the Q-Redew was designed to do.

The next time I use the Q-Redew will be with twisted hair and not when my hair is at its driest point.

According to the Q-Redew FAQ page, the device rejuvenates, enhances and reshapes the hair. It is not a steamer – in the literal sense – as the Deluxe Hair Steamer, Huetiful Hair Steameror the Salon SundryHair Steamer; although, the device can be used in that manner.

In my mind, I want to continue comparing the two, but they have totally different purposes.

I think it is unrealistic to expect the Q-Redew, a hand-held styling device to adequately moisturize my hair middle back length hair in a decent time. That’s probably not a fair expectation.

Q-Redew SWOT Analysis


  • The steam/mist reactivates products on 2nd or 3rd-day hair.
  • It’s similar to giving your hair a facial.
  • The Q-Redew is lightweight and easily fits in my hand.
  • The Q-Redew can be used to “plump” two strand twists with the heated mist


  • There is no temperature gauge.
  • The steam is hot! Do not aim the steam directly at your scalp.
  • It can take over 15 minutes to use due to the length of my loose hair.


  • Consider adding a temperature gauge to control the temperature of the steam. Include a “cool” button to allow for continuous use.


  • The steam that is released is scorching, be careful not to aim it directly at your scalp. If temperature controls aren’t included in a future version of the device, I expect other companies (fast-followers) to release an improved model with temperature controls, which mightimpact the long-term success of the Q-Redew.

Final Thoughts

The Q-Redew is a very useful styling tool that I will continue to use. One use would be using it to add volume to my twists when they need to be “plumped.”

I don’t generally wear my hair loose; but for those women that do, the Q-Redew might work to bring your hair back to life since it slightly dampens the hair, but does not saturate the hair with water.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Q-Redew, check it out here.

The BestHair Steamers for Natural Hair (Our Favorites)

Deluxe Hair Steamer With Timer By Skin Act

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This hair steamer may look intimidating, but it’s actually veryeasy to use.

Skin Act, the steamer’s manufacturer, is also known for providingexcellent customer support.

As you might have imagined, a high-quality product with good customer support comes with a price, so the Deluxe Hair Steamer by Skin Act is generally a bit more expensive than competing models.

The product is also fairly large, so storing the product can be tricky.

The Deluxe Hair Steamerleaksmuch less than competing hair steaming appliances. Also, the device includes a vented hood with adjustable steam settings.

There is a timer that goes up to 60 minutes, but we recommend using the product for no longer than 30 minutes to mitigate the possibility of heat damage.

Salon Sundry Professional Steamer

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The Salon Sundry Professional Steamer is a high-end product used in some beauty salons.

There is minimal water drip when using the Sundry Professional Steamer and you’re not requiredto use distilled water.

Based on the steamer’s design, there was some difficulty understandingexactly how much water to put in the unit, and when adding too much, this cancause minor leakageproblems.

We were especially delighted with the professional sized hood.

This means there isn’t a need to awkwardly sit under the hood or conduct multiple sessions trying to get full coverage of your hair. This hair steamer brings salon service home to you.

Secura S-192 Hair and Facial Steamer

Best Hair Steamers for Natural Hair: Professional and Handheld Options (9)

The Secura S-192 Hair and Facial Steamer is more versatile than most basic hair steamers since it can be used for both your hair and face.

This steamer is a tabletop model, which means you will have to place it on a flat surface where you can sit underneath it.

Secura’s manufacturersays that this product has a “1-5 UM ultra-fine mist generated by ultrasonic atomizer” which assists your hair in absorbing the steam more quickly.

Note that this statement hasn’t been proven with scientific evidence and is likely just good marketing.

The primary complaint about Secura’s S-192 is that the dome of the machine has arrived cracked for some people during delivery because the material seemed to be cheap.

Also, a few womencomplained that hot water dripped onto theback of theirnecks while using the device, and sometimes the machine would time out so they couldn’t benefit from the intended 20-minute session.

If you purchase the Secura S-192 steamer, make sure you purchase it from a reputable seller, like Amazon, Walmart or Target, with a good return policy.


Deciding to use a hair steamer onnatural hair requires certain precautions. Also, it’s a bit of a luxurious purchase from a price to value perspective.

Steamers definitely aren’t necessary, but there are some subtlebenefits if you decide to splurge on your hair care regimen.

The Huetiful Hair Steamer is another very popular steaming option.

However, based on social proof and other contributing factors, it’s not currently one of our recommended steaming appliances.

We think the best hair steamer for home use is either the Q-Redew Handheld Steamer, Deluxe Steamer by Skin Act or the Salon Sundry Professional Steamer.

If you’re a traveler, then we’d recommend the Q-Redew Handheld Steamer. It’s also a good personalhair steamer if you’re interested in having a lightweight, easily storable option, so it’s the steamer that we recommend most often.

For black hair or African American hair, we think any of the steamers included on our list will do the job.

It really just comes down to personal preference, features, and functionality.With all these products, make sure to understandthe warranty and return policy prior to making a purchase decision.

Best Hair Steamers for Natural Hair: Professional and Handheld Options (10)
Best Hair Steamers for Natural Hair: Professional and Handheld Options (2024)


Best Hair Steamers for Natural Hair: Professional and Handheld Options? ›

Choosing the best option really depends on your hair needs. Low porosity hair can benefit most from a traditional full-head steamer, whether that's the hard hooded type or the soft flexible one. The portable options, on the other hand, are for more light or focused treatments where you may be experiencing dry patches.

What type of hair steamer is the best? ›

Choosing the best option really depends on your hair needs. Low porosity hair can benefit most from a traditional full-head steamer, whether that's the hard hooded type or the soft flexible one. The portable options, on the other hand, are for more light or focused treatments where you may be experiencing dry patches.

What should I use to steam my natural hair? ›

Start by covering your hair in your favourite conditioning product. Then, use a hot face cloth and shower caps or a hooded steamer to steam your hair. This will cause the conditioner to sink deep into your hair. Enjoy your fresh, shiny hair!

Do hair steamers really work? ›

The process causes the cuticle to gently swell and lift to then become deeply infused with water and treatments.” “Steaming the scalp also helps to remove built-up skin cells and improve blood flow and circulation for hair growth,” adds Proudman.

Can you use a hand held steamer on hair? ›

The handheld version allows you to refresh smaller hair sections and then tuck the tool away when not in use. Word of caution: you should absolutely not use a regular clothing steamer on your hair.

Is it necessary to wash hair after steaming? ›

Steaming hair keeps your scalp clean and healthy. The warm steam helps loosen dirt, grime and dead skin cells on the scalp. So shampooing after hair steaming enhances the cleansing process. A mild, herbal shampoo is best for hair that has been steamed.

How many times a week should I steam my hair? ›

Instead keep it open and let the heat do its work. Steaming can be so good that it can get addictive. However, anything more than once a week will do more harm than good. Over moisturising can make hair limp and prone to breakage.

Can I steam my hair without applying anything? ›

If you don't have a professional steamer, take a large towel and hold both ends. Gently dip the centre in a bucket of very hot water and wring off the excess. Then wrap the warm wet towel around your head like a towel. When the towel gets cold, your hair is steamed.

Should you wear a plastic cap when steaming your hair? ›

Covering your hair with a plastic cap is one of the worse things you can do. You want your hair to be exposed directly to the moist heat. Allow your hair to feel the steam so that the conditioner can penetrate and work effectively.

Is steam good for African American hair? ›

One of the biggest challenges for afro hair is keeping it hydrated, so if you like millions of people with afro hair are met with this challenge then steaming should most definitely be in your hair care regime.

Does steaming hair make it straight? ›

Steaming over 30 min. can induce disulphide (disulfide if you are on the other side of the pond”> bonds to break – essentially, yes, steaming for long times can relax your hair.

What does steam do to 4c hair? ›

Steaming Your Hair Will Help With Product Absorption

Steaming helps to open up the cuticle layer of your hair and will make it easier for the products you use to deposit into your strands. This is important because you will also get more out of your deep conditioning treatments with steaming.

How to steam natural hair at home? ›

While the hair is still somewhat wet, apply a generous amount of deep conditioner and massage it into the scalp. Depending on the type of steamer you're using, you can section your hair for an equal steam time or put a shower cap on and place your hair under the hooded steamer and wait for the magic to unfold.

What products to use with hair steamer? ›

What products should you use while steaming your hair? "Use a deep treatment mask or a deep conditioner—not just a regular conditioner, not a leave-in conditioner. Something that's a deep conditioner or a mask because it'll do different things for the hair cuticle as well," says Toregano.

What can you use as a substitute for a hair steamer? ›

Wring loosely and wrap towel/turban towel around your head. Cover your towel wrapped head with a plastic bag large enough to fit over your entire head. Sit under hooded or bonnet dryer for 30 minutes to 2 hours (or you can let your own body heat do the work).

What is the difference between a steam cap and a heat cap? ›

As its name implies, a steam cap relies on the use of steam to send moisture into the cuticle of your hair. Unlike direct heat, steam is a bit gentler, which is especially important when dealing with damaged hair.

Is steam better for your hair than heat? ›

The steam opens the hair follicle and allows moisture to penetrate while straightening or curling,” explains Neil Moodie, international session artist. This results in less damage and a softer, glossier finish. “They also smooth a lot faster, with only one or two passings needed on each section,” he adds.

Is steaming hair better than deep conditioning? ›

"Hair steaming is pretty much the sister to deep conditioning your hair, I would say. So, they have a lot of the same really good benefits, but with a heated dryer you just have more of that dry heat factor," explains Toregano.

Is a hair steamer better than a hair dryer? ›

Moist heat has proven to be beneficial for extremely dry hair and dull hair because not only is the heat opening up your hair shaft and your pores but it is adding moisture into your hair, ultimately hydrating your hair at the greatest level. Steamers are also used scalp therapy which is amazing.


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