Photo By Petrelis Photography

Be Your Own Blow-Out Queen

“Holly, did you just come from the salon? Your hair looks fabulous!”

“NO, I did it myself!”

Wouldn’t you like to be like Holly?

As a stylist behind the chair, I get asked all the time for tips on blow-drying at home. We live such busy lives and the truth is you can’t always make it to the salon to get that banging blowout. Here are my 6 helpful tips on how you can do your own blow-out like a pro at home.

Choose the Right Products

Products are our friends. They sure do make my life behind the chair easier. We always want to make sure we are protecting our hair first from thermal heat when blow-drying. Think about products that help with these common blow-drying challenges:

  • Heat Damage: A leave-in conditioner or thermal spray is the perfect option to protect your hair from heat damage.
  • Frizz Control: If you are someone who is curly or prone to frizz, use a smoothing cream to help smooth your hair out.
  • Volume: Looking for some added volume? A root lift spray or volumizing foam will add the fullness you are looking for.

I do not recommend drying your hair “naked” without any products. When we iron delicate fabrics we cover them with something to protect it, think the same way when blow-drying your own hair.

“Rough Dry” that Baby

Rough drying — partially drying washed, combed hair to remove excess moisture — can really help cut down on your blow-drying time. If you start to use a round brush or flat brush when your hair is too wet you are going to be there for what feels like forever. Flip over (for added volume) and just dry the hair to get all the excess moisture out. If you don’t want to flip over to add fullness, just stay right side up and dry your hair using your hand to allow the air flow to get underneath. Once it is about 60–75 percent dry, you’re good to go to fully dry with your brush of choice.

Note for Curly Girls: Blowing out curly hair requires a different rough dry plan to avoid frizz. To get a smoother finished style, curly girls should start styling when hair is not sopping wet, but isn’t as rough-dried as our straight-haired friends — around 50 percent dry. If you rough dry too much, it can cause frizz and it is really hard to get the smoothest end result.

Think Subsection

It’s almost silly how sub sectioning can turn your home blowout from blah to wow! I promise, taking a few extra seconds to put your hair into either 3 of 4 subsections will help the blow-dry go faster, and have a better end result. If you are drying a section that is too big A) it may not dry all the way B) it won’t get shiny and bouncy. It also takes longer to dry a big section of hair, and you won’t be able to really focus on it the same way you would be able to complete a smaller, clean section of hair. If there is any dampness left in the hair, the moisture will wreak havoc on your style, causing it to get flat and or frizzy.

Use Your Nozzle Attachment

Use the nozzle attachment that comes with most blow dryers. You know that little triangular piece you look at and think, “what’s this thing for?” That’s your nozzle. It might feel really weird at first because the attachment makes the dryer longer, but it just takes some getting used to, and it’s worth it. That attachment is how we get the hair sections so smooth and silky. It also protects from excessive heat damage because you aren’t putting the hair directly where the air is blowing from. That is too close and hot for the hair — causing heat damage.

Address Your Fringe

Always dry your bangs first. They are the focal point of your face and style. They dry really quickly anyways, so it is good to get that settled first, so no weird bends or swoops happen where you don’t want them to. Particularly if your hair has curl to it, dry your bangs first or you’ll find yourself re-wetting them at the end of your bl0w-dry. When you are done drying, you can always go back and hit the bangs one more time to make sure they are just right!

Heat Settings Are Important

A really good dryer will have all 3 settings: cool, medium, and high heat. Not all blow dryers have all 3 heat settings — if you can, I recommend you purchase a dryer that does. Here’s why — not all hair types need high heat to style their hair! Also, a cool heat setting is great for the end of the blowdry to cool the hair down and set the style in. Think of it like blanching a vegetable — the heat gets it crisp-tender, but a shot of cold water sets it at the perfect texture. Hair is the same way, moldable when hot, and set when cool. I find I mostly use a high heat when I am working with curly hair or a coarser hair texture, which can either be straight or curly. Medium heat works good for finer texture and straight hair.

So, on your next wash day remember these 6 easy tips! A well-executed style will last you 3 to 5 days. Who doesn’t love that? Go be the blow dry queen you always wanted to be. And don’t forget — practice makes perfect. I have total faith in you.

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Liz King

Liz King

Liz King is a passionate licensed hairstylist, American Board Certified Colorist, and salon owner at J&L Hair Studio in Arlington, MA.