October 7, 2013

Diffusing Natural Hair- A Quick Drying Technique for Your Wash and Go Style

by Alicia James of MsAliciaJames.com

How to Diffuse Natural Hair- 

1. Shampoo or co wash your hair. Starting off with clean hair is the best way to ensure you get the best results and a style that lasts. Clean hair will lead to bouncier curls that easily clump together, which is what you usually want with a wash and go. I also suggest washing your hair in the shower as this keeps the hair stretched out without clumping all of your curls on the top of your head and wrapping the strands around each other. You want to make the detangling process as easy as possible.

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2. Apply lots of conditioner to the hair so that you can easily detangle with your fingers or a wide tooth comb. The great thing is you get to knock out two steps in one. You get to condition your hair and detangle. After the hair is detangled, rinse out the conditioner. A conditioner with good slip is one of the keys to making detangling easier.

Three Conditioners I have used with great slip.
  • Herbal Essence Hello Hydration (my staple)
  • Tresemme Naturals
  • Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture
Making sure the hair is thoroughly detangled will be very important. Type 4 hair shrinks and easily tangles, especially when wearing a wash and go. When my hair has been properly detangled I am able to minimize the amount of tangles I have during my next wash day.

3. I wrap my hair with a t shirt for at least 15 minutes. This minimizes my drying time. I have hair that can sometimes take a full day to dry.

4. Apply your leave in conditioner and/or styling product to your damp hair. I like to add oil to my hair and rinse with cold water. This makes my hair super soft and shiny. When I rinse the oil out with the cool water I leave a little oil in. It is just enough to keep the hair moisturized, but not be greasy and weighed down. After my oil rinse I apply the IC Fantasia styling gel. This gel has been a life saver, it does not flake and it adds shine to my curls. Choose a product with hold. Blow drying the hair can add a little frizz to the hair, so you want something that will be able to maintain your curls or coils during the blow drying process. I find that when I use conditioner only, my hair can turn into a poof ball.  But when I add a gel, the curls stretch out beautifully and maintain shine. I also get several days out of the hairstyle.

5. It’s time to diffuse! Finally! All of that work, it better be worth it, huh?! LOL! The great thing is most of these steps will be done before any type of styling, twist outs, braid outs, bantu knot outs, etc. I use a Remington blow dryer I purchased for about $25 at Walmart. The blow dryer came with the diffuser attachment and the concentrator nozzle. I use my blow dryer on high air and medium heat. You can choose the heat settings that make you comfortable. The goal is not to completely dry the hair. I just want to stretch out the curls a bit. The benefit to stretching the curls out slightly is minimizing knots and tangles, plus a little bit of hang time. What woman doesn't want a little hang time, especially if you have shrinkage prone hair like me. My hair goes from MBL to shoulder length. Always having to explain…”No, I didn't cut my hair! You asked me that last week!” You know what I mean. Anyways, I just start grabbing sections of my hair gently pulling the hair down, placing the diffuser at my roots and blow drying until the hair stays stretched. I do this all over my entire head until I have the look that I want. This usually takes me about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to not pull the hair taut, or you will end up with straight hair.

Why the diffuser?
I like to use a diffuser for my wash and gos, because I don’t enjoy leaving the house with soaking wet hair. I also know that when I wear a wash and go completely air drying is not an option, because my hair can and will take 24 hours or more to dry. Try waking up with your matted to your head, because it was still wet from the day before.

What is a diffuser? 
A blow dryer attachment that is used to spread the airflow across a large section of hair. It is mainly used for curly hair, because the air flow does not cause frizz or interfere with the curl patten.

Quick Tips:
  • The key to any style for me has been what happens before the style. Preparing the hair properly before styling gives me a style that looks great and lasts throughout the day and sometimes the week.
  • Adding styling product to soaking wet hair increases the dry time, even if you are using a blow dryer.
  • Using a t shirt instead of a towel minimizes frizz.
  • It is said that rinsing the hair with cold water closes the hair cuticles causing the strands to be smoother and creating shinier hair.
  • Some people use the diffuser to create more volume with their curls, but I find this method does not work for my 4 type hair. My hair just shrinks up even more and sticks to my head. It’s better for stretching the curls out.
  • The concentrator nozzle can also be used to stretch the curls, but I find my blow dryer gets hotter with that nozzle and my hair get straight instead of just stretching the curls.
I hope this helps someone along the way or inspires you to create our own method!

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