Tiffany Anderson — aka StruttsWife on — aka ‘The Curl Whisperer’, is a hair stylist and curly hair specialist located in St. Petersburg, Florida. She will be contributing to on a weekly basis, starting…today! I’ve learned a lot from this woman over the past 4 years, and I hope that you will too. Here are some of my favorite Tiffany Articles:

Who is Tiffany?

Curly Hair Basics

Product Ingredients

Home Remedies

Curl Care

Now that introductions are over, let’s move on to this week’s question:

Nik, how can I dry my hair quickly, and safely? I don’t have the time or energy to do my hair at night.

Tiffany says:
It seems one of the eternal curly girl searches is how to dry our hair the most quickly and efficiently, without waiting hours (or days!) for our curly locks to dry.

It will be no surprise to many that the porosity of our hair and its texture are what play a major role in determining how long it will take our hair to dry. In general, hair that is finer and less porous has a much shorter drying time; hair that is more coarse and porous usually takes much, much longer to dry completely. Another factor that may also increase drying time is product build-up on the hair shaft that prevents outside moisture from being properly absorbed.

Whatever your hair type, below are some common “quick dry” methods, along with the pros and cons of each:

Plopping (aka plunking) is a method in which wet curly hair is “accordioned” onto the head in a concentrated curl arrangement and secured using a tightly tied towel or t-shirt. Microfiber hair turbans also fall under this description.

Pros: absorbs excess moisture more efficiently; encourages better curl formation; helps the hair to dry more quickly.
Cons: can leave hair frizzy; seldom dries hair completely without additional air-drying or diffusing.

Diffusing hair involves using a special attachment on the end of a blow dryer that tames or “diffuses” the air flow coming from the mouth of the blow dryer, which avoids blowing curls around and raising frizz. For best results, a low speed/high heat setting is best as it will more quickly dry the hair while minimizing the speed of the air flow.
Pros: dries hair more quickly than other drying methods; helps to keep frizz at a minimum in most curl types.
Cons: drying hair in an upside-down position or “scrunching” the hair can lead to frizz; hair that is not heat-protected may become dry and brittle; excessive use without proper thermal protection may lead to split ends.

Unlike a hand-held dryer and diffuser, bonnet dryers cover all or part of the head to provide hands-free heat drying. There are two types of bonnet dryers: the “hard hat” or hood style commonly found in salons and “soft bonnet” dryers that use soft plastic caps that completely cover the head.

Pros: soft bonnet dryers provide more gentle, all-over drying; hard bonnet dryers are more powerful than hand-held dryers; both can additionally be used for home deep conditioning treatments.
Cons: both styles take longer to dry than hand-held dryers; hard hat dryers concentrate heat on top on the head rather than the length.

In a nutshell: plopping overnight, or doing a quick plop with diffusion, are generally the fastest ways to dry curly hair the most quickly with a minimum of frizz. Leaving your diffuser on one section without moving for 1-2 minutes is also more efficient than moving the dryer around continually (which can raise more frizz and extends drying time). And as long as hair is properly heat-protected–meaning you are using a decent amount of leave-in conditioners and styling products to coat the hair shaft–curls can usually be safely diffused frequently without damage.

The most important thing to remember is to do what works for you best!

If you have a question for Tiffany, shoot me an email at [email protected], using “Tiffany” as the subject line. We’ll pick one question per week.

Can’t wait ’til next week? Find more of the ‘Curl Whisperer’ HERE.