Air-Drying For Every Hair Type — You May Never Go Back To Your Blowdryer Again

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Imagine if you could throw some product in your freshly washed hair, toss it up into a bun, walk out the door, and later take it down to reveal the best version of your natural texture. It sounds like a dream, right? 

Well, says celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa, think again. This may seem like an odd statement, considering Sarah has invented the most user-friendly curling iron in history, the Beachwaver (and its kid sister, the Beachwaver S1). But, Sarah's the kind of stylist who gets it: When talking about how to do hair at home, easy ways to style, or great product tricks, she's a wealth of information. She lovingly attributes this gift to her two sisters, with whom she grew up braiding, twisting, and blowdrying each other's manes. (Naturally, Sarah emerged as the most talented in the hair department, but that's beside the point.) 

We called upon some of our beautiful staffers to be Sarah's guinea pigs. They watched as she did everything from French braids to cornrows to "two-strand twists" to finger waves, removing her clips, pins, and self-made bun inserts to reveal gorgeous, voluminous, and (best of all) easy-to-accomplish hair. Click through to find out how to get blowdryer results — without the use of a single hot tool.

Did we miss your hair type or texture? Leave us a comment, and Sarah will get back to you with some ideas! 
1 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Long, Curly Hair
Zooey is something of a curly-hair savant — she's stocked up on DevaCurl, knows all the products to use, and can recommend a curl cream faster than any beauty editor in the game. So, when she sat in Sarah's chair, she was incredibly precise about her routine.

"I normally don't use hot tools," she said, twisting her hair up into a fluffy bun to show us how she lets it dry. "But, it takes about five to seven hours from the time of my shower to be finished." Then, she explained her laundry list of products to Sarah, from detangling to moisturizing to setting.

Sarah, however, set out to simplify. After thoughtfully and carefully detangling her curls with a leave-in conditioner, she let Zooey test some products in her hands. "The thing about this hair is that it's finer — there's a lot of it, sure, but it's not a coarse curl. So, you want a product that hydrates, but you also don't want to weigh it down, especially at the roots."

Zooey selected one of Sarah's favorite products — a mousse-leave-in hybrid — and watched as the stylist completely emulsified her hair. Zooey normally just uses a leave-in for this part, so this was a little different: "Because of its formulation, mousse helps to add lift and volume where you need it," Sarah explained.

"After that, we took the hair into sections, and did a sort of French braid with two strands," Sarah said. "There are four twists on each side of Zooey's head, and they're all held in place with a Darby Clip."

The twists, Sarah said, enhance Zooey's beautiful, natural loose curls (other styles, like tight braids or buns, would compromise them). We then sent Zooey back to her desk — this style is definitely work-appropriate. You could even manage to sleep in it if you place the clip comfortably enough.
2 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Sarah then took out the clip, and unraveled the twists neatly and nicely. "It was pretty perfect when I took it down," she said. "And, because Zooey had already detangled before the shoot, we didn't need to add more product." If your ends tend to get dry, though, feel free to follow up by scrunching in your favorite oil or cream. Punchy lipstick totally optional.
3 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Naturally Textured Hair
Candace approached Sarah with slight trepidation: "I normally come to sets and end up doing my own hair," she said. But, we convinced her to arrive completely natural — and ready for a shampoo. "My hair is at that point where I just need to either get it done or do it myself," she said, laughing, pulling pieces from the back to show us. "This is not a good look."

Sarah thought otherwise: "Unlike Zooey's curls, which are finer and elongated, Candace has that great, rich texture. This calls for a tighter style that will give us those great, bouncy, tight curls...but it also needs to be cool enough to wear during the day to allow the hair to properly dry."

She began by adding moisture to Candace's damp hair, using tons of shine serum and an alcohol-free mousse and making sure the product was even throughout. "After, I separated her hair into four sections, and created clean, tight, and organized inverted French braids. Anyone who can do a French can easily do this on their own." Once she finished all four sections, she twisted and pinned them into a chic updo.

Candace was obsessed with the in-process look.
4 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
"Once I took the braids out, I added more serum to the ends and ran my fingers through [my hair], separating the curls," said Sarah. "It was so fun to see all of that movement and curl! It couldn't have been easier. All the volume you see is because we braided so tight to the head — it adds height at the root. To evenly distribute that volume and make the texture even, it's important to do four braids, instead of just two."
5 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Thick, Medium-Length Hair
Maria is the beauty writer here at R29, so she also knows a thing or two about her hair. "It usually takes me about 45 minutes to get my hair done before I walk out the door," she told Sarah. "I usually use a leave-in, a hair oil, and a texture spray, blowdry it with a paddle brush, then curl with a 1.5-inch curling iron." Phew — that's a routine, right? Even though Maria's rocking the ubiquitous mid-length cut, that doesn't mean life is easy in the styling department — girl's got a lot of hair.

"Maria's hair is actually very straight, but because there's a lot of it, she can easily create a natural, loose wave," Sarah explained. So, it was time to give her that — sans the product-product-product-hot tool-hot tool formula she'd been doing in her bathroom.

"Basically, we put a volumizing mousse throughout damp hair, and then created a deep side-part," said Sarah. "After that, we did one large, two-strand twist and braided it away from her face. The key here is to make it loose, or else you get weird texture and it's not soft and elegant." (To accomplish the two-strand, Sarah said to "separate the section in two, and then switch places as you go — the one in front goes under, then switch, adding hair as you go.") Once you get to the bottom, though, bring in a third section so that you can pin the hair to the head without it falling out.

"I did two twists on each side, secured it, and let it air-dry," Sarah said. Maria examined the style in the mirror, and was pleasantly surprised with what she saw. "Maybe I should start wearing my hair up more often," she mused. By the time she gets off the subway after commuting to our FiDi offices from the Upper East Side, we bet her strands would be perfectly dry.
6 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
"After I took it out, we immediately noticed how the hair twisted and waved away from the face," Sarah said. "So, we shook out the wave a little with our fingers, and then misted all over with a texture spray to add more volume."
7 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Short Hair
Chloe came to set a little self-conscious about the status of her hair. "I'm growing it out, so it's in that awkward moment where it's not super-short, but it's not long, either," she said. Luckily, Sarah saw great opportunity.

"The one thing Chloe hadn't tried with her hair was wearing it in front of her face," she said. "So, we decided to give her a little vintage wave that turned into a textured, soft, almost beachy wave."

Sarah began by creating a center-part and applying gel with her fingers. "Then, I took my comb and created a finger-wave. It sounds complicated, but all you need to do is comb the section slightly forward, place your finger down, comb the other way, and clip it in place."

Once it dries, it feels a little bit crunchy, which can be a little nerve-racking. "You have to choose the right gel for this — certain formulas can brush out and be so beautiful!" Sarah insisted.
8 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
See what happened here? "We took my styling brush, which is a boar-bristle and nylon mix, and really went to town brushing this out," Sarah said. "It's amazing what kind of texture you get! The first part looked Old Hollywood, but this finished look is way funkier and edgier. Don't add more product or polish it out — it looks cool when it's dry and messy."
9 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Long Hair, Don't Care
Rachel is super low-maintenance, and her hair fully supports this approach. Long, fine hair lends itself to being thrown into a, say, semi-slicked-back ponytail (her go-to) in the morning, and then being taken out in the afternoon to reveal that slightly-messy-but-still-pretty kind of texture. The challenge here was for Sarah to take this to the next level.

"Even though it looks like Rachel has a lot of hair, it's pretty fine, super-healthy, and very shiny," Sarah explained. "Because this hair is pretty straight, we wanted to add more volume."

Sarah applied a volumizing mousse all over Rachel's damp hair, and then used her Half Up (like a Bumpit, but chicer) to secure a smaller bun at the top of the head for volume at the crown. Then, she did the same with the Wrap Up, which is slightly bigger, for more volume throughout the ends.
10 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
"When I took it out, I twisted the sections away from her face using my fingers, and then sprayed the twist generously with Elnett, and let it go," Sarah said. "It ended up with this beautiful, big texture." You can finish off with dry shampoo on the roots and ends for added volume.

Examining her new look in the mirror, Rachel was impressed. "I'm for sure going to be trying this technique myself," she said.
11 of 11
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!