Girls with natural curls can have a very tempestuous relationship with their hair. One day it’s perfect, shiny, and bouncy. The next, a tumbling tumbleweed. Environmental factors have a huge impact on curls. This can make air-drying a big gamble. A proper blow dry can ensure the creating of your curls exactly to your liking, no matter the weather.
Whether you have tight frizzy curls, fine loose curls, or anything in between, this article should help you find your special curly blow out recipe for success. Here’s how to blow dry curly hair.
First things first, no two heads of curly hair are alike; and within that head of hair, no two curls are alike. Ergo, there is no one single formula for perfect, gorgeous, curls. You will need to experiment with this a bit before you find the exact combination of products and actions that work best for you. Please do not get discouraged if your first try doesn’t go as well as you had hoped. If you keep tweaking the formula, I promise you will find what works for you.
Start of with clean wet hair. Your towel dry is a very important step. You’ll want to blot as much moisture as you can from your hair, without rubbing or shaking it. Each strand of curly hair has cuticle scales that tend to want to flap open, making hair look dull, and frizzy. All of your motions need to run from root to tip, smoothing the cuticle scales down. Roughing up your hair with a towel is inviting frizz into your life. Next, comb your hair gently with a wide tooth comb or hair pick.
Now we face the most mysterious aspect of the curly blow dry: the curly cocktail. The are hundreds of curl products on the market. There are mousses, serums, creams, and sprays, just to name a few. How do you know which one (or ones) are right for you? Here is where most of your trial and error will take place. What works like a dream on one client of mine, will be sticky and awful on another.
After years of curly blow dries, I will let you know what I consider the three essential products needed to blow dry curls. I recommend to always experiment with a little, and slowly add more to future blow dries as needed.
Curling Mousse: This is great for curls that need a bit of encouragement. If your curls wilt, mousse can help. If you have strong curls, but your hair is very fine, and lacking in volume, mousse is your friend as well. I like Bumble and bumble Curl Conscious Holding Foam.
Curling Cream: This is a great product for anyone with strong, unruly, or dry curls. The cream supports the curl, while giving it just enough weight to prevent frizz. I recommend Redken Curvaceous Ringlet Lotion.
Serum: I almost always mix a dime sized amount of serum into my mousse or cream. I cannot recommend this enough. A tiny amount will make a huge difference to the shine and texture of your curls. I use Biosilk Silk Therapy Serum.
Now comes the artistic portion of your blow dry. You need to create with your fingers, on your damp hair, the curls that you would like to have. You can scrunch, you can twirl, you can twist, you can do all three, it’s up to you. Just know that once you start blow drying, the less you disturb the hair, the cleaner and more defined your curls will be. I try to get everything perfect before I even pick up the blow dryer.
Once you’ve styled your curls to your liking, it is time to start blow drying. Attach your diffuser nozzle, and turn your blow dryer on the maximum heat setting, minimum air setting. You want to heat the curls up enough to dry them, but you do not want the airstream to disturb them. Turn your blow dryer upward so that the diffuser is facing the ceiling. Scoop up a section of your hair with it, like your hair is sitting on a tray. Now, try not to jostle the curls at all until you see little hairs starting to spring up and blow in the wind. Your section won’t be completely dry at this point, but this is the maximum length of time we can leave the airstream pointed against the cuticle scales. Once you see the little hairs springing up, it’s time to move onto the next section. Repeat these tray sections all the way around your head, one at a time, until all of your lengths and ends have had the tray experience.
If you feel like your hair has enough volume already, thank-you-very much, Simply hold your blow dryer above your head, and aim it at your roots. Make sure to move it around time to time, we don’t want to burn your scalp. This might be a good time to catch up on your reading, as this is really simple stuff, but it can take awhile. Essentially, you are trying to replicate a salon’s dryer hood. Whenever you feel like your hair is dry enough to your liking you are done, you can allow the rest to air dry. Just remember that as long as your hair is even a little bit damp, it can change its shape. Avoid windy places, and don’t touch it until it is completely dry.
If you would like some more-volume-please, after your tray treatment, carefully flip your head upside down. You’ll want to sit down for this. Making sure to hold the blow dryer above your head (remember your cuticles) point the diffuser towards your roots. Move it around, making sure you don’t burn yourself, and try not to clock yourself. If your diffuser is even a little loose fitting, this is the time you can expect it to knock you in the head. Once your roots feel dry enough to your liking, turn off the blow dryer but do not flip your hair back up. Your hair will still be warm, and if you flip it before it cools, your carefully constructed volume will flop. Once your hair is cool to the touch, carefully flip your head back up. Take a few deep breaths before you stand up, head rushes can be an unfortunate side effect of developing such marvellous hair. The same rules apply here as before. No wind tunnels or hair touching until your hair has finished drying completely.
Chances are your hair looks frickin’ fantastic. If it doesn’t. Don’t give up. Take note of what went wrong, and try again another day. Is your hair crunchy, gooey, or sticky? Use less product, or try a lighter one all together. Is your hair frizzy? Pay close attention to catch the moment that the little hairs start to stand up during the tray step. It’s better to spend an extra hour air drying, than to spend 5 minutes too long blow drying against the cuticle scale. Do you not like the shape of your curls? Experiment with your setting technique. If you twirled, try scrunching, and vice versa. I promise you, stick with it, follow these steps, and you will master the curly blow dry.