How to Use a Blow Dryer (the Right Way!) to Dry Curly Hair – 10 Tips
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Blow drying your curly hair at home can be a real bummer! You spend all that time wielding an increasingly heavy blow dryer over your head – and for what? Your arm hurts and all you have to show for it are frizzy, lackluster curls!
Trust me – it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to learn the right way to blow dry curly hair. Follow these 10 blow dryer tips and you’ll be on your way to shiny, bouncy curls with no frizz in sight!
1. Use the right blow dryer and diffuser.
There are several types of blow dryers that differ in how well they heat up. Some get too hot, too quickly and are more likely than others to damage your hair.
Both ceramic and tourmaline blow dryers are good for drying curly hair. They add volume to curls and tend to leave curly hair shinier than other hair dryers do. They are also especially good at reducing frizz as they dry curly hair.
And, yes, some blow dryers have both ceramic and tourmaline features.
Ceramic blow dryer
A ceramic blow dryer has a heating element, made of clay or porcelain, that heats up evenly. This makes it less likely to damage your strands as it dries. It also makes the ceramic hair dryer great for styling all types of hair.
Tourmaline blow dryer
A tourmaline blow dryer has crushed tourmaline mineral on its heating element. The mineral is also used to coat surfaces inside some blow dryers. Tourmaline hair dryers are good at drying hair quickly and evenly, especially thick and curly hair.
This simple blow dryer attachment is a true marvel! It lets you blow dry curly hair quickly and safely. That’s because it helps to spread the heat around and reduces exposure to excess heat. It also helps to reduce frizz, as well as maintain your curl pattern and ensure your curls are well defined after drying.
But, not all diffusers are the same. The hand diffuser (shaped like a large hand with air holes) is the best diffuser for curly hair. It adds plenty of volume and bounce to curls.
2. Start with clean, detangled hair.
Your hair will thank you for it! Shampoo your hair to remove built-up dirt, product residue, dead skin cells, and excess grease. These do not go well with heat. They can lead to damage to your hair as you blow-dry it.
Also, trying to rake through tangles as you blow dry curly hair is not the ideal way to go. It increases the amount of time your hair is exposed to the heat and can cause unnecessary breakage. Ensure your hair is fully detangled BEFORE you pick up that blow dryer, please!
Not sure which detangler to use? Check out our post on the best detanglers for curly hair.
3. Be sure to deep condition.
A blow dryer is meant to remove moisture from the outside of your strands. But, it will also take away some of the moisture that is needed to hydrate your strands on the inside. This can leave your hair extra dry if it’s not properly hydrated first.
Deep condition your curls whenever possible before you blow-dry your hair. It will help to pump up your strands with sufficient moisture so they stay hydrated after blow-drying.
4. Start drying without the blow dryer.
The aim is to use the blow dryer on your curls for the shortest time possible. So, remove excess water from your hair, by gently patting it with a t-shirt or wrapping your head in a microfiber towel. You could also (if you have the time) allow your hair to air dry until you think it’s about 75 percent dry before you start blow-drying.
5. ALWAYS use a heat protectant.
A heat protectant smooths down the cuticles that make up the outer layer of each strand of hair. This helps to protect your hair from heat damage. Heat protectants sold as sprays are OK to use on most types of hair. Choose a creamy heat protectant, however, if you have thicker or coilier hair. That’s because creamy heat protectants provide more moisture and greater protection for these types of hair.
6. Stay away from high heat.
Excessive heat is notoriously damaging to curly hair. Low heat or medium heat is really all you need. What’s more, even on these lower settings, you still don’t need to dry your hair all the way with the blow dryer – we’ll cover this in the final tip.
7. Work in sections.
Once again, it’s all about reducing the time your hair is exposed to the heat from the blow dryer. Working in sections helps to reduce the chances of using the blow dryer on hair that is already dry. Plus, you can add products to sections of your hair as you go, instead of all at once. That gives you greater control over how much product you use, especially if you have thick, very curly hair.
8. Blow-dry downwards.
Start at the roots. Work the blow dryer in circular motions to help lift your curls and add volume as you dry. Move down the length of your hair. This method also helps to reduce the amount of heat the ends of your hair get exposed to. The ends need extra care and protection since they are the oldest part of the hair and thus the most likely to suffer heat damage.
9. Use hair oils AFTER blow-drying.
Hair oils and serums can add a vibrant shine to your curly hair after blow-drying. Just don’t use them during the drying process – you might end up with crispy fried hair – seriously!
10. Know when to put the blow dryer down.
Blow drying can be almost addictive – we know! Avoid overdoing it for the sake of your curls. Once your hair is almost dry, leave it to air dry the rest of the way. Your hair will be healthier if you do and it’s a good way to help reduce the chances of frizzy curls!
Got tips to share? Let us know how you blow-dry your hair!